Good sports hold reception at ballpark

June 05, 1994|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Sun Staff Writer

To celebrate his marriage, lifelong Orioles fan Joseph Wiedorfer wanted to throw out the first pitch during last night's game against the Chicago White Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

But when the Orioles said no, the 33-year-old Baltimore native and his bride, Mary C. Johnson, settled for watching the game.

They had plenty of company -- more than 200 wedding guests among the other fans at the sold-out stadium. And their reception, sporting Camden Yards-green and the team's orange and black colors, was at the ballpark, too.

The cost? $7,000 for upper-reserved tickets and catering at the park in return for free use of the banquet hall for two hours. The entire wedding cost $10,000.

Planning that began just over a year ago and the expense were well worth it, Mr. Wiedorfer said.

"It's not really much more [than a traditional wedding], and we were able to do something unique," he said.

"I've always liked baseball," said Mr. Wiedorfer, an acquisitions director for National Corporation for Housing Partnerships in Washington, who played Little League as a youngster in Gardenville and continues to play on two softball teams in northern Virginia.

"My first memory is of Junior Orioles games," he said, at a time when children were admitted to Memorial Stadium for $1.75.

The new Mrs. Wiedorfer, a civil engineer working on construction of a terminal at National Airport in Washington, also has maintained a lifelong interest in baseball.

As a child growing up in Kansas City, Mo., she followed the Kansas City Royals, and, like her husband, plays on two northern Virginia softball teams.

Playing softball "was a natural way to communicate," Mrs. Wiedorfer said.

In fact, the two met in 1990 while playing on a softball team in

Arlington, Va. She played second and third base, and he played left field.

It wasn't long before they began attending Orioles games together, first at Memorial Stadium, then at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Yesterday, the couple continued their sporting tradition by having their wedding reception at Camden Club, a banquet hall overlooking the ballpark, and watching the game with 208 wedding guests from the upper reserved section 381.

The two decided to celebrate their wedding at the stadium after seeing an advertisement for group-ticket sales during an Orioles game last May.

The couple wanted to marry during an Orioles game against the Kansas City Royals, but "we couldn't wait that long," Mrs. Wiedorfer said. The Royals are next scheduled to play the Orioles Aug. 25-28.

Before traveling by horse and carriage to Camden Yards yesterday, the couple exchanged vows during a wedding ceremony at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in downtown Baltimore. The motif there had a touch of Orioles, too -- his cummerbund and her garter had the Orioles' logo.

The wedding was "unusual, but so are Joe and Mary," said John Hoffner, a guest at the wedding, who met Mr. Wiedorfer six years ago when Mr. Wiedorfer was playing on four different softball teams, a volleyball team and a football team.

"He's a fanatic about sports," Kevin Ford, another guest, said of Mr. Wiedorfer. "The worst thing that ever happened to him was the day the Colts left town."

Last night, however, all eyes were focused on the game. Many guests exchanged their formal wear for shorts and T-shirts, while the groomsmen changed into Orioles boxer shorts and the bride donned an Orioles cap under her veil.

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