What an incredible production the Orioles' opener at Camden Yards was!
Sports announcers Jon Miller and Chuck Thompson, the latter wearing top hat and tails, introduced the teams, while owners Peter Angelos and Tom Clancy, along with Gov. William Donald Schaefer, donned warm-up jackets to throw out the first balls -- FYI, the guv was the only one to get the ball to the catcher.
But the showstopper was the way Baltimore Opera Company's executive director Michael Harrison sang the National Anthem. It was beautiful.
Opening Day is great for what I do best, socializing. First stop was the Camden Club, where Angelos entertained friends, family, politicos and business associates at a leisurely three-hour luncheon. "We Greeks know how to throw a party!" was the way City Councilman Tony Ambridge summed up the gala opener.
Out of the 750 or so at the Camden Yards party, it was noted that a small contingent of Eli Jacobs leftovers were there -- Sargent and Eunice Shriver, son Mark, who's running for the House of Delegates in Montgomery County; Jay Emmett, former O's board member; and former O's president Larry Lucchino.
New faces on the stadium scene are Michael Angelos, Pete's cousin, who seems to be the front-runner to become the executive director of the port; Wayne and Judy Gioioso, part owners of the team; daughter Pamela Villa Santa; Gia Blattermann, city zoning board member and owner of Giovanna of Mount Washington hair salon; Barbara Green, Baltimore zoning board; and O's general counsel George Stamos.
Nearby were Gen. Colin L. Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Mercantile Bank's Furlong Baldwin; Margaret and Jim McManus (who's better known as sportscaster Jim McKay) and Pat and David Bernstein, part-owners of the team; Henry Rosenberg, Crown Central Petroleum; former owner of the O's Jerry Hoffberger, with his talented artist wife, Alice; Joni Palmer, Jim's wife, who was on the arm of Herb Fried, known in some circles as "Jim Palmer's dad"; businessman Harvey "Bud" Meyerhoff; Marcellus Alexander, Channel 13's general manager, with WJZ's former GM Jonathan Klein, now president of Group W; Greg Barnhill, Alex. Brown & Sons; Jim and Patti Rouse, Enterprise Foundation; Bruce Hoffman, Maryland Stadium Authority; and, nearby, two of WJZ's finest, Richard Sher and Frank Barranco, hard at work.
Opening Day is a perfect place for politicos like Mayor Kurt Schmoke and his wife, Patricia; Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder; gubernatorial wannabes Helen Delich Bentley and Mickey Steinberg; Maryland Attorney General Joe Curran and his GOP opponent, Dick Bennett, with his wife, Jane, and their children, -- Lizzy and Craig; Sen. Nancy Murphy, Baltimore County exec wannabe; and Sen. Jim Simpson.
First stop on the club level was the Angelos box, where I met Georgia Angelos, who was enjoying all the hubbub surrounding her first Opening Day as the wife of an owner. The box was filled with friends and family, including sons, Lou and John, and Henry Knott Sr., another investor.
Next stop was the governor's box, where Maryland's official hostess, Hilda Mae Snoops, was entertaining Circuit Court Judge Barbara Howe; Gene Raynor, State Board of Elections; former Baltimore Colts running back Tom Matte, with Baltimore CFL Colts football owner, Jim Speros, and Don Matthews, the team's head coach; House speaker pro tem Gary Alexander; Ed Hale, Bank of Baltimore; Marty Resnick, Martin's Caterers; and Tops in Sports founder Frank Sliwka.
Others I spotted with the help of Channel 2 cohort Rudy Miller were attorney Pam White and her AT&T clients Buzz Walling and Kathy Thiel; Jim Robinson, Morgan Creek Productions; Ira Miller, MGM; Linda Goldenberg, G&S Entertainment; WBAL's Larry Doyle; Barbara Patz, the Blum Group, who has changed her name from Blum to Patz and is renaming her company Paladin Advertising; and baseball greats George Brett and Brooks Robinson.
But baseball wasn't the only sport being promoted at Camden Yards that day. Baltimore Spirit coach Kenny Cooper was outside the stadium with Mike Stankovich and the entire team, hyping their soccer games.