Daily grind banished beyond bleachers on Opening Day

April 06, 1993|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Staff Writer

Note to Mr. Young: Please excuse Marcus Webb and Brandon Heaver from yesterday's Algebra II class. An emergency came up.

Well, a pair of Opening Day tickets anyway.

If Patrick Luskey's bosses at Churchill Distributing were looking for him yesterday, he had an important appointment outside the office. In a terrace box seat at Camden Yards.

And if your Michael Allen Contracting Co. kitchen remodeling is running a day behind schedule, please be understanding. Co-owner Greg Lilley was at another recent construction site, of the Camden green variety.

Commentators tell us that Opening Day is a rite of spring, a symbol of national renewal. But for many fans it is simply an opportunity to escape a mountain of paperwork, duck a math lecture or otherwise set aside for a few hours life's daily duties.

All games are a diversion. But Opening Day comes with its own amnesty: What boss could be so cold-hearted, what teacher so hard-nosed, not to excuse someone lucky enough to snag a ticket?

"I love my work. But Opening Day is special," said Mr. Lilley.

"The president is here, the Secret Service is on the roof. It's better than another day at work," he said.

Mr. Luskey, vice president of operations for Churchill, said he probably would have been on the phone, tracking down an errant container of, say, Spanish champagne, had he not been at the game.

"This is a lot more fun," Mr. Luskey said.

If Linda Golonka hadn't gone to yesterday's game, the 29-year-old office assistant would have been at her desk at the Meridian Nursing Home in Brooklyn Park, completing a daily census of patients.

Instead, she was in the bleachers with her husband, recalling her first baseball encounter: a Memorial Stadium game 14 years ago during which Ms. Golonka and her teen-age friends shouted at the players they thought were best-looking.

"We got some of them to turn around, we were so loud," she recalled.

Paul Propst, an engineer in Alexandria, Va., would have spent yesterday working on a system for supplying water to troops and civilians in emergencies. Instead he was cheering on his brother-in-law, Orioles' manager Johnny Oates, from the family seating area behind home plate.

"It's an opportunity to forget all the trials of the world and enjoy life," he said.

Marcus Webb and Brandon Heaver would have been in Mr. Young's class at McDonogh School about the time President Clinton threw out the first pitch yesterday. The 13-year-olds both said they like the class, but had no regrets missing a day.

"Hopefully, it's the start of a good season," Marcus said.

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