Bits and pieces on Opening Day

Dan Rodricks

April 08, 1991|By Dan Rodricks

Pieces of column too short to use:

Vice President Dan Quayle will be throwing out the first ball at Memorial Stadium today. To which I can only say, "Heads up!"


"This is the biggest thing since beer came back," a barroom mug named Bernie told The Evening Sun the day Memorial Stadium opened and the Orioles came to town. That was April 15, 1954, the day of the big parade and a 3-1 home team victory over the White Sox. Some 350,000 Baltimoreans lined the streets. Restaurants and bars were jammed, and the busiest departments in department stores were the ones with TV sets. The new stadium was packed. Richard Nixon threw out the first ball. A pitcher named Joe Coleman caught it. You can look it up.


Ironically, the man most instrumental in bringing the Orioles to Baltimore, then-Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro Jr., was not present for the festivities. Old Tommy, who worked to make this a big league town and who led the effort to build a new stadium on 33rd Street, was hospitalized with exhaustion and missed Opening Day.


The franchise, of course, had come to Baltimore from St. Louis, where the old Browns had watched their fortunes and fans dwindle for a decade. They won a wartime pennant in 1944. But by 1953, the Browns' last year in St. Louis, they lost 100 games and played to 308,815 fans. By January 1954, however, eager Baltimoreans had sent advance ticket sales well past that mark.


Deborah Norville's decision -- yeah, right, it was her decision -- to stay home with baby already has helped the "Today" show in the ratings. Now, if NBC execs really want to score, they should dump the Gumbelmeister for the Scud Stud, Arthur Kent, and limit Joe Garagiola to Alpo commercials. Guest appearances by Cookie Monster and Big Bird can do nothing but enhance "Today's" position in the morning.


When a few months ago a colleague departed Baltimore for Southern California to pursue a career in classical music, he received the following advice on combining work with pleasure in the land of the hip and the ultra-trendy. I call this, "Dining Wisdom For the Long Hair in La-La Land."

If the server's named Rachmaninoff,

Order up beef stroganoff.

If his name is Christoph Gluck

Call ahead for Peking Duck.

If you're doing lunch with Verdi,

Order pasta prima verdi.

But while at Spago with Puccini.

Get Pacific clams linguini.

Ask for the non-smoking section.

When you attend "The Resurrection."

Go to a spa

With Yo-Yo Ma.

Send a fax

To Emanuel Ax.

Order Cabernet

At brunch with Massenet.

Order an inexpensive Rhine,

At lunch with James Levine.

Don't sweat your dining manners

Should you dine with sardine canners.

Save your grace and class

For dim sum with Philip Glass.

Order fresh radicchio,

When you feel con brio.

And insist on manicotti,

When ciao-ing with Pavarotti!


Who says the yuppification of Baltimore is over? There's now a sushi bar in the Cross Street Market! . . . And speaking of markets, I'm convinced that the Broadway Market, especially the south hall, owes some of its business to the nearby H&S Bakery. It's my hypothesis that tourists pass through Fells Point, get a whiff of the baking bread from Big John and pull over to hunt up the first baguette or croissant they can find -- and the nearest ones are in the market, on Broadway, right across from the tall and big men's store.


It's not yet 8 a.m., and a guy walks up to the counter of a small East Baltimore pastry shop. It's a wonderful shop, with fantastic, if slightly overpriced, offerings and delightful aromas -- especially in the early hours of the day. The guy looks up at the young woman toiling hard behind the counter and asks: "What's fresh?" The woman politely responds that, in effect, you dope, everything is fresh! An elderly woman walks up to the same bakery counter, examines a basket of buns. "Are these the day-old buns?" the old woman asks. "Yes," says the clerk. "Oh," says the woman, "you got anything older?"

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