Neighbor finds 33rd Street still ticket to joy

April 07, 1992|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,Staff Writer

Greg LeVeque didn't have a ticket. So where did he go to get one? Memorial Stadium.

LeVeque, 35, a waiter at the Museum Cafe, lives five blocks from Memorial Stadium -- "within staggering distance," he said.

He hadn't planned on going to Opening Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards until yesterday morning, when he saw a report on TV from the Park and Ride at Memorial Stadium.

So LeVeque walked down 33rd Street, which was eerily quiet, and stood outside Memorial Stadium with a sign that read: "I NEED ONE TICKET."

He didn't really expect to get one, "but you never know," he said. "Maybe there's another miracle on 33rd Street. One last one."

You couldn't miss him in his orange Orioles jersey, black gloves and Orioles sweatband, and black-and-orange Orioles sweat pants.

Except for the cars streaming in so their drivers could take a bus to the new ballpark, Memorial Stadium was as lifeless as a graveyard. How did LeVeque feel about the passing of Memorial Stadium?

"There are two things," he said. "One's how you feel, and one's how you think.

"I feel real sad about it. Living within walking distance really does make a difference.

"But I think it's going to be great for Baltimore. It's going to be great for the ballclub."

He said he'd miss friends coming over before games, having a few beers and sandwiches, and then walking to the stadium at the last minute. And he said he'd miss the noise from the stadium.

"You could always hear that," he said. "It was always part of the neighborhood -- always that heartbeat."

LeVeque went to 30 to 35 games a year at Memorial Stadium, he said. He grew up in Charles Village and attended his first game in 1963 when he was 7.

He stood outside Memorial Stadium about an hour yesterday, until a man driving a shiny burgundy Cadillac pulled in. The man, his wife and son strolled toward LeVeque.

"I may have a ticket," the man muttered.

The man was skittish. He wondered aloud about the legality of selling, or scalping, a ticket. LeVeque said he could pay $20, no more.

The man finally gave his son the extra ticket. The boy was 8 or so. The boy gave LeVeque the ticket. LeVeque gave the boy $20.

The man, his wife and son got on a bus and rode to the game. LeVeque beamed and boarded a later bus.

"I figured if there's a way I can get a ticket, I'd go to the old stadium," he said. "That'd make a real bridge between the old place and the new place.

"Hopefully this will put it to rest."

He meant put to rest Memorial Stadium, which was fading in the distance as the bus carrying LeVeque moved down 33rd Street toward Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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