Half a dozen home games left -- half a dozen...

WITH ONLY

August 18, 1993

WITH ONLY half a dozen home games left -- half a dozen chances to watch the Baysox in action, at dear old Memorial Stadium -- the urge comes to sound off, among those who have already been there and beheld. There have been a few nice variations on baseball, downtown-style.

The players, hoping to make it next year or any year to the majors, are youthful; they are already big. But the umpires, at one recent home series, were fewer (three) and smaller. As if to compensate, the home plate umpire declaimed every strike in a voice audible part way to Harrisburg, or Reading.

Other sounds differ. A fan attending double-A ball expects there to be organ music over the loudspeakers; what startles is the intermittent light classical piano music. There are also vocal ads, in addition to the many visual ones. Very little, this year in Baltimore, says Bowie; but, amusingly, the two daily newspapers competing for fan favor, in advance of the move to 1994's new suburban ballpark, are from Washington.

The stadium, since 1954 grown used to diversity (circus, evangelism, soccer, etc., etc.), is very much the same as ever. Two blocs of seats, removed for football, are still missing; the blue seat paint is flecking and the dugout roofs are insigne-less. But the main difference is the crowd, dispersed instead of clustered. Grownups can stretch out; kids don't have to sit still -- a metaphor for suburban life? Last week, a gorgeous redhead looked about and said, "You'd have a hard time doing the wave here."

Six more home games, and the Baysox have been having rainouts. Ah, but bear in mind the word playoffs. The way things are going, our minor league heroes stand a better chance of having a postseason life (part of it at home) than does the team downtown.

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