All right. Try to picture this: The Queen (yeah, of England) is walking through the turnstiles. . . . Sure, the turnstiles. What do you think? This is America, Jack. All men are created equal. E Pluribus Unum, etc. OK, she's walking through the turnstiles and it's Gatorade Squeeze Bottle Night, so does she just take the bottle and go to her seat or does she ask for about six free ones for the relatives back home at the palace?
If she's anything like you and me (she probably isn't; I mean, would you wear that frumpy, blue housecoat-looking thing she always has on?), Her Majesty heads straight for the concession stand and buys something for the little princes and princesses. Maybe a T-shirt that says, "My grandma the Queen went to an O's game and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
She's really coming. On May 15. To our humble town. To antiquated Memorial Stadium, built just two years after the Tower of London.
The Queen. Is this great or what?
There's so much planning to do. What do I wear? What do I say? Do I bow? Do I curtsy?
Do I draft her on my Rotisserie League team?
Who would have thought the Queen was a baseball fan, although this must be George Will's fondest dream. You suppose she has a dish -- Royal Doulton, of course -- behind the palace where they can pick up Home Team Sports? "Oh, Jeeves, can you tune in that delightful gentleman, Brother Low?"
This will take all your imagination, but I see the Queen at the old ball yard wearing jeans and a tank top, sipping on beer from a plastic cup and chomping down a chili dog. I know I'd pay real American money to see that.
You can't photograph it, though. It's against the rules to take a picture of the Queen when she's eating. I'm not making this up. I don't know what the punishment is, but it probably has something to do with eating English food. You see how much blood pudding you can take before you crack.
The British have not released her itinerary ("Sorry," said an embassy spokesman, "but we're still trying to locate the Empire"), but I did hear one thing. The Queen will have lunch with Frank. Not Robinson, Sinatra. And she's not to be disturbed, even if the Prince calls.
Speaking of the Prince, Philip -- a big Joe Orsulak fan, I understand -- will be here, too, bringing his epaulets with him. Maybe he and Colin Powell can exchange some of their medals. I'm hoping Phillip will have a press conference, because the Queen will not. Maybe you remember the Beatles' line: "Her Majesty is a pretty nice gal, but she doesn't have a lot to say."
What would you ask Phillip if you had the chance? I'd ask him the difference between being a duke and prince -- he's both -- and, of course, if he ever met Ringo. It isn't like he does anything, except maybe tip the limo driver and go on fox hunts, which isn't that bad a job.
And it's good to be the queen. We Americans are officially ambivalent about royalty, other than Princess Di. And the Duke of Earl. But there's not a person out there who wouldn't want to have the queen over for tea.
So who gets to meet her close up? It's Eli Jacobs, the Orioles owner, who invited her to the game. Are they old friends? Did they go to school together?
Jacobs isn't so great at collecting high-priced players, but he's the king of high-power celeb politicos. John Sununu spends more time in Jacobs' box than he does at the White House. And, on any given night, there are enough senators at the stadium to raise a quorum.
You think this may be why he bought the team? I mean, how often did George Bush drop by when Jacobs was just your basic multimillionaire? And you know George and Barbara, and maybe Ron and Nancy, will be here for this one.
After the queen, what's next? The pope? Elvis? How about Gorbachev for Opening Day at Camden Yard?
But why is the Queen really coming? Do you think it's possible she became a baseball fan after watching the movie "Naked Gun"? "Oh,Jeeves, could you put the movie in the VCR so we see can that lovely gentleman Leslie Nielsen."
In the movie, Reggie Jackson tries to assassinate the Queen at a baseball game in Anaheim Stadium. And Reggie will be here for the May 15 game with the A's. Talk about karma. He's Oakland's hitting coach/broadcaster/Jose Canseco baby-sitter.
My favorite Reggie quote is about "the magnitude of me." And the Queen can tell him about the magnitude of we.
That's a meeting you can visualize. I'm having a little more problem with some others. Apparently, the Queen plans to meet all the players, even Billy Ripken. Will she go inside the clubhouse? And, if she does, who's going to be the first of the sophisticates to try to spray shaving cream on her crown?