For Baltimore cabdrivers, the big event yesterday was not on 33rd Street.
With an estimated 100,000 people shoehorned into South Broadway for the 25th Fells Point Fun Festival, Memorial Stadium's capacity crowd seemed tame.
"All I've done is run people down here," said Sun Cab Co. driver Richard Boggs, who did have one fare for the stadium -- Detroit Tigers infielder Travis Fryman.
Boggs, who had last-day Orioles tickets, gave them away and chose to work his regular shift. "It's not like it's the only game they're going to play," he said. As the Orioles fell behind early, he added, "It's the season in microcosm."
Fells Point looked as if two Memorial Stadium capacity crowds had pushed their way into the cobblestone streets.
"We try to count the people by the number of beer cups we use," said Carolyn Donkervoet, director of the Federal Hill and Fells Point Preservation Society, the group that sponsors the weekend happening that fanned out along Thames, Ann and Bond streets. For the past three years, the Fun Festival has outdrawn the City Fair.
Donkervoet said there was concern that the last Orioles games might cut into festival sales and attendance. "Absolutely not," said Mike Anderson, whose Fells Point Meat Market sold 3,000 pounds of open-pit beef. "There's no more room for people here. We couldn't fit them in if we wanted."
On a cool, fall day, Baltimoreans love their open-pit beef sandwiches. Howard Snapp of the 3500 block of Greenmount Avenue began selling his sandwiches outside the Stadium Lounge, a block away from his home and about four blocks from third base.
"They didn't even give us a chance to get the meat on the grill. I'm selling meat so rare I wouldn't eat it myself," he said.
As to a possible loss of business next year, he didn't sound worried.
"I'm glad to see them go. You've got to work around the traffic. I've had run-ins with the police. I think property will go up after they leave," Snapp said.
At the Charles Village Pub, in the 3100 block of St. Paul Street, the crowd was intent on watching a televised Washington Redskins-Chicago Bears game. The Orioles' broadcast droned on in the back, but nobody watched.
Steve "Zoe" Marzo, the bar's owner, forecast that the Orioles' move from Memorial Stadium to Oriole Park at Camden Yards would trim his annual sales by 5 percent. But under no circumstances would he open a downtown bar. "What? For 80 days a year playing? No. We'll be here when they come back," he said.
Even though his bar served dozens of fans on their way to Memorial Stadium, Marzo said he would have no part of the tribute. "I don't understand what all the fuss is about. I'm off to Pimlico to bet on the great animals."
At Duffy's Restaurant & Bar, in the 3400 block of Frederick Avenue, Sunday diners left their tables and crowded into the cocktail lounge to view the first-ball ceremony with Brooks Robinson and John Unitas.
"It's very emotional. A real charge," said Gus Malas, a member of the family that owns the Irvington landmark. "It brought quite a few people into the lounge. I sort of resent them leaving the old place. We had season tickets to just about every Colt game. It's something to see Johnny Unitas there again."
Also watching from her home near Queenstown on the Eastern Shore was Eleanor A. Miles, the widow of Baltimore Orioles founding president Clarence W. Miles. On April 15, 1954, she stood alongside then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon, who threw out the first ball as the Orioles returned to major-league play in Baltimore.
"My son Wallace and his wife are at the game today," she said. "I often wonder what Clarence would think of all this."