Buford feels right at home at Memorial

February 24, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

Don Buford, the left fielder and leadoff hitter on the powerful 1969-70-71 Orioles, missed the final game at Memorial Stadium in 1991 because of a death in the family.

"My heart was here," said the manager of the Bowie Baysox, the Orioles' Double-A affiliate. "But now I have a chance to be here again in person. It's a dream come true."

Introduced yesterday to the local media, Buford will be replaying his glory days "in the stadium where my career practically ended. It'll bring tears to your eyes thinking about it."

His job is to groom those who may follow in his footsteps to the majors, possibly to play for the parent club at Oriole Park five miles away.

"I know Roland [Orioles general manager Roland Hemond] is excited about the possibility of calling on the phone for us to send a guy downtown to help. Maybe we can send him in a cab and he can change uniforms on the way," Buford said.

"It'll be exciting for the players. They'll have more energy knowing they're only a phone call away from the big leagues."

As an alternative for those who cannot get Orioles tickets, the Baysox will play a full Eastern League schedule in Baltimore while they await construction of their 10,000-seat park in Bowie.

After the Orioles' spring training ends and players trickle down the system to complete rosters, Buford is expecting to have last year's No. 1 draftee, Jeffrey Hammonds, plus the organization's minor-league player of the year, Stanton Cameron, in his outfield.

"I have an advantage here in knowing how the walls play and the certain areas where the lights can get in your eyes," Buford said. "I'm anticipating this season a lot."

Baysox tickets on sale

The Baysox will retain their minor-league ticket prices for 1993, with season box-seats on sale for $440 and a weekend plan (33 at 33rd) encompassing Friday, Saturday and Sunday games available for $215 each.

A 12-PAK plan is also offered with a dozen general admission tickets for the price of 10 -- $50 for adults and $30 for youths, senior citizens and military personnel.

Individual game tickets are on sale at $7 for a box seat, $5 for general admission and $3 for students through 17, seniors and active military persons. Children 5 and under and those in official youth sports uniforms will be admitted free.

For ticket information, call (410) 467-0101 or 1 (800) 956-4004.

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