Opening day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards...

IT WASN'T JUST

April 08, 1992

IT WASN'T JUST opening day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards Monday.

Far from the new ballpark -- with its suit-and-tie crowd and club-level seating and carefully simulated historicity -- it was also opening day for baseball in our neighborhood.

So far, a chilly spring had been filled with driveway basketball, aimless kicking of soccer balls and the full range of wheeled kids (bikes, Big Wheels, skateboards, Rollerblades).

But on Monday, mitts and baseball bats were pulled out of closets by a combination of spillover Oriole excitement, the warmest day in weeks and the start of daylight saving time.

Fathers instructed sons in fielding grounders and adjusted the stances of daughters. Older boys tossed the ball softly, underhand, to younger ones, and smiled as the return throws sailed past their ears.

Pop-ups caromed through tree branches, and line drives smacked off downspouts, as evening dinners grew cool on tables.

Opening day shutouts by millionaire pitchers are thrilling, but no more satisfying than this.

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