Lately, it is the No. 1 question asked of Baltimore Orioles employees, surpassing even, "Could you fix me up with a couple of tickets for Sunday?"
It goes like this:
"After the last out of the last game, then what?"
People call the team's offices every day to ask this question. And every day the answer is the same. The Orioles are not talking. In most cases, they are not even hinting.
"It's going to be much more exciting for the fans if they don't know what's coming. What we have planned wouldn't have nearly the same impact if it were all scheduled out," said Rick Vaughn, Orioles public relations director and one of the chief architects of the final-weekend festivities.
Special events have been planned for each of the three games at the stadium this weekend, and the team has disclosed everything on its calendar before, during and after the first two games.
Tonight, the team has scheduled pre- and post-game ceremonies honoring names and voices from its past. About 15 minutes before the first pitch, the team will toast radio announcers who have called Orioles games during the team's 38 years at Memorial Stadium. The roster of honorees includes Ernie Harwell, who broadcast the first Orioles game at the stadium, in 1954; Chuck Thompson; Jon Miller; and Tom Marr.
The post-game festivities will be loud. The team has planned a fireworks display it says will be the "greatest" in the stadium's history.
Tomorrow is Fan Appreciation Day. It is also a giveaway day, as the Orioles hand out 188 stadium and team items to fans who have been selected randomly by seat number.
Sunday is the finale. It also is mystery day.
A few post-game morsels have leaked out. While declining to speak of details, Vaughn said home plate will be uprooted and transported to the newly named Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Sportscaster Jim McKay, a Maryland resident, will be the host for the Camden Yards ceremony, which will be attended by Orioles officials and Gov. William Donald Schaefer and telecast on Memorial Stadium's DiamondVision.
There will be another post-game ceremony, this one involving former Orioles players, perhaps more than 100. This remains the deepest, darkest secret. Team officials say they'd greatly diminish the emotional punch if they announced details. So, they haven't.
"Our goal from the start has been for people here or watching on TV to have the most treasured, lasting impression imaginable. That's the goal -- period," Vaughn said. "To talk about some of this stuff now -- we just shouldn't."
Orioles weekend schedule
Gates open: 5:35 p.m.
Game time: 7:35 p.m.
Memorial Stadium voices: In a pre-game ceremony, the Orioles will pay tribute to some of the famous Memorial Stadium voices, including Ernie Harwell, who was the Orioles' first play-by-play announcer in 1954.
International League remembered: Also in a pre-game ceremony, the Orioles will recognize members of the International League Orioles. On hand will be Bob Latshaw, Elmer Burkhart, Gordon Mueller, Russ Miller and Ab Tiedemann. The Orioles also will honor the Jack Dunn family.
Anthem singer: Joan Jett.
First pitch: Jon Miller, Chuck Thompson, Ernie Harwell and Tom Marr.
Special prizes: The Orioles will be giving away a jet ski, the Orioles' mini-car and round-trip travel to anywhere United Airlines flies in the continental United States.
% Post-game: Fireworks.
Gates open: 11:35 a.m.
Game time: 1:35 p.m.
All-time Orioles greatest lineup: (Approximately 1:18) The team -- Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Tippy Martinez, Terry Crowley, Rick Dempsey, Boog Powell, Bobby Grich, Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken, Frank Robinson, Paul Blair and Ken Singleton -- will be introduced.
Fan Appreciation Day: Nearly 200 fans will walk away with memorabilia souvenirs from Memorial Stadium. The 2 grand prizes are a pair of trips for 2 to the Bahamas.
Gates open: 12:05 p.m.
Game time: 2:05 p.m.
Entertainment: Two Dixieland bands and a Calypso band will perform songs, including "Come To Birdland."
Colts Marching Band: The band will perform before the game and play the final national anthem.
1954 team introduced: Six members from the first Orioles team -- Bob Turley, Billy Hunter, Joe Durham, Gil Coan, Chuck Diering and Billy O'Dell -- will be honored before the game.
Elrod Hendricks honored: Hendricks has spent more games in )) an Orioles uniform at Memorial Stadium than any other player (1,771).
First pitch: Brooks Robinson and Johnny Unitas will handle the honors. Robinson will throw a baseball, and Unitas will throw a football.
Final-day giveaway: The grand prize of the season is a 7-day cruise for 2 to the Mexican Riviera.
Post-game: (almost immediately after the final out) The farewell tribute should last about 45 minutes.
A part of the activities will involve ceremonially transplanting home plate from Memorial Stadium to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Pieces of memories
Tomorrow, the Orioles will award Memorial Stadium final-game items to fans, selecting the winners by seat number. Fans will receive coupons, which they can redeem for the items after the season. The items to be given away:
* 3 bases
* 6 baseballs
* 1 home plate
* 1 pitching rubber
* 1 rosin bag
* 14 pennants
* 1 angry-bird poster
* 10 old photos from front office
* 1 schedule from Gate W2
* 26 chairs from the Orioles clubhouse
* 20 name plates from Orioles lockers
* 2 bullpen rubbers
* 1 Rex Barney microphone
* 2 on-deck circles
* 2 windsocks
* 1 "Season to Remember" panel from upper deck
* 20 bats from final weekend
* 20 Orioles players' warm-up jerseys
* 1 "Here" flag marking Frank Robinson's home run out of the stadium
* 12 balls signed by final-game lineup
* 21 visitors clubhouse chairs
C7 * 20 autographed nameplates from visitors clubhouse