Tonight, 15-year-old Carole Ferretti will sit in the left-field stands of Camden Yards stadium, holding a lighted sign with a message for Orioles owner Peter Angelos: "Put Baltimore On Your Chest."
Soon, Mr. Angelos will receive a petition with more than 500 signatures she's collected in her effort to convince him that her suggestion deserves immediate action.
"Baltimore supports this team so well that I just really feel Baltimore should be on the team's jerseys," said Carole, a ninth-grader at Severn River Junior High. She attends about three games a month with her father, Rocco Ferretti.
"I just feel it's important, because Mr. Angelos is so proud of the city that made him famous. And I think it will help him now that he's looking to buy a football team," Carole said. "I think someone would take that [gesture] into consideration."
She has already written Mr. Angelos, but has not received a response from him or anyone else in the Orioles organization.
One look at the shy redhead's room shows that her message comes straight from the heart: Two Orioles pennants adorn the walls, along with nine pictures of Brady Anderson. A scrapbook celebrating his career in Baltimore sits on a bookshelf. Her mother calls it the "Brady Anderson Shrine."
Even Carole's pet hamster has a miniature Orioles pennant on the side of his cage -- and yes, it's an old one that reads "Baltimore Orioles." That he's named Brady is no coincidence, either.
With the noted exception of the Texas Rangers, who display the name of their home state, all other teams proudly display the name of the city they call home, including Boston, as those who attend tonight's game will notice, said Carole. Home uniforms traditionally carry the nickname of the team, as in Yankees for New York and Blue Jays for Toronto.
"Baltimore" was taken off the Orioles' jerseys in 1975. Edward Bennett Williams and Eli Jacobs, both out-of-town owners, failed to put the name back on the uniform. Local ownership brought hope that "Baltimore" would return.
Carole has even thought of a marketing strategy: "If they put Baltimore back, that'll be one more T-shirt, one more hat to sell."
Her idea for putting Baltimore back on the jerseys came late last summer, after she heard a speech about local pride at an Italian-American night at Camden Yards.
Her campaign really started during snow days in February. She wrote Mr. Angelos; the other team owners; Gov. William Donald Schaefer; even the Anne Arundel County Council.
She also prepared a flier, complete with phone numbers so people could call Mr. Angelos' law office and the Orioles office to lobby for the change. Last week, she found herself sitting behind Merry-Go-Round Enterprises co-founder and chairman Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, who at one time considered being a part-owner of the team. She handed him a flier, too.
Dr. Charles Steinberg, spokesman for the Orioles, said Carole can expect a reply to her letters, but it may take time.
"I know that it's very important to Mr. Angelos and to each of us who works in the front office to see the suggestions that come in from the Orioles' fans," said Dr. Steinberg, in a telephone interview from Minnesota, where the Orioles just finished a three-game stand.
"We try to respond to everybody, but the volume of mail we get is understandably enormous," he said. "If Mr. Angelos has received the letter, I'm sure this young fan will get a thoughtful response."
Whether or not she gets a response, her parents, who contributed $26 in postage and a drawing of a bird, say they are proud of her.
"I want to make it clear that this is not Dad putting her up to it," said Mr. Ferretti, principal of Pasadena Elementary School. "But I thought it was a neat idea, and we encouraged her. We're trying to teach kids in school to write persuasive letters."