Office workers of Baltimore, unite! It's Opening Day at the spanking new stadium! The boss is at the game! It's time to paarty!
Or, not exactly, according to ticket-less employees who say they will have to combine work and play on this day of days for baseball fans.
"We'll be working twice as hard to make up for all those people having fun at the ballpark," says Sue Heil, a manager for Esskay Quality Meat Co.
But many people hunkered down at their desks today have found ways to show support for the home team, from having a ballpark lunch in the USF&G cafeteria to creating a binocular brigade at Dean Witter.
Some business owners had no choice but to celebrate. With a name like Oriole Hardware & Home Center, Arnold Blumberg felt obligated to join in the reverie -- even if his Baltimore Street store is currently having a spring sale.
"My help will be running in and out the front door to see if they can hear the crowd at the stadium," he predicts. "Who knows? I might be running out with them."
The employees of USF&G Corp. will spend the day eating like fans. The cafeteria, run by ARA Services, the same company that feeds stadium crowds, will feature ballpark fare. Cafeteria workers will dress in baseball uniforms and decorate with orange and black.
"It will look as if they're at the stadium in the lunch room," says Kerrie Burch-DeLuca, spokeswoman for USF&G.
Similarly, the 14 employees of the Mayor's Advisory Council on Art and Culture (MACAC) will ring in the new baseball season with hot dogs, popcorn and peanuts. With offices in the Bromo Seltzer Tower, they expect to take an occasional wistful glance out their 12th floor window onto the green field below.
"We'll all kind of wish we were there," says Jane Vallery-Davis, director of development and public relations for MACAC, who came up with the lunch idea. "I thought we should be able to participate in some way, especially since we're neighbors of the new ballpark."
Another neighbor, Dean Witter, will be watching the stock market until 4 p.m. and then donning binoculars for the game. The offices on the 10th floor of the 250 W. Pratt St. building provide an enviable, if somewhat obstructed, view.
"We miss all of right field, but we'll be able to watch all of Cal Ripken's great plays," says Michael Conn, branch manager.
Perhaps one of the biggest non-stadium parties in town is taking place at the Marsh & McLennan Building where employees of the Rouse Co., IBM and other area businesses will converge for an Opening Day lunch to benefit the South Baltimore Homeless Shelter and the Outward Bound Scholarship program. (For tickets, which cost $35, call 396-0085 or 467-1975.)
Along with a Dixieland band, large TV screen and Orioles decor, guests may perfect their curve balls at the pitching ma
chine, says Sally Michel, an organizer of the event.
Guests won't return to their desks empty-handed; Commemorative mugs filled with peanuts will be given away.
At least one company simply couldn't wait for today's hoopla. At Crown Central Petroleum, employees got last Friday afternoon off and free tickets for themselves and a guest to attend the exhibition game. (A skeleton crew of non-baseball fans stayed behind and will receive time off another day.)
"We had Opening Day spirit a few days early," says Jo Bruen, manager of corporate communications.
Then there are those like Esskay employee Sue Heil who plan to spend the day looking on the bright side.
"All the bosses are gone," she says, "so we can have the TV on."