Memorial Stadium's Last Hurrah

April 08, 1991

For 37 years, Baltimore's most dramatic sports moments have happened at Memorial Stadium. Rabid football fans transformed it into "the world's largest outdoor insane asylum" for their beloved Colts, giving the home team a keen advantage over opponents. Baseball fans have known it as the major-league Orioles' only home, a neighborhood ball field that both players and spectators found endearing.

Today, the park hosts its last baseball opener. Next year, the Orioles will inaugurate their spanking-new playpen at Camden Yards. The cramped quarters and inadequacies of the present stadium will be forgotten amid the spaciousness and conveniences of the American League's newest ball park. Still, there is one more season for nostalgia buffs, one more spring and summer (and hopefully fall) of Memorial Stadium baseball at its best.

This could turn out to be a very special season, indeed. A rejuvenated Orioles squad opens its schedule against the White Sox with potentially its most explosive line-up and an intriguing blend of veteran pitching and youthful fireballers that could take them far in the American League East pennant chase. Given the proper chemistry on this club, and the right answers to a few tantalizing questions (Will Glenn Davis find the stadium's cozy dimensions, as well as American League pitching, to his liking? Will Ben McDonald emerge as another Roger Clemens? Can a healthy Dwight Evans produce one more clutch-hitting year?), post-season play is not out of the question.

Optimism is always high as opening day arrives. Every team starts out with as much chance to capture the World Series as any other squad. Every pitcher stands a shot at winning 20 games. Every slugger believes he can hit 40 home runs. The 1991 Orioles are no exception. This season, the last one for baseball at a grand old ball park, promises to be entertaining and rewarding for those who enjoy watching athletes perform their craft with consummate skill in pleasant surroundings. It would be even nicer if the Birds win it all. What a fitting last hurrah!

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