Opener brings flights of fancy Fans: Sick beds, little white lies and pitiful pleading all went into the fabric of tales concocted by yesterday's Opening Day crowd.

April 03, 1997|By FROM STAFF REPORTS Sun staff writers Kent Baker, Alan Goldstein, Marcia Myers and Cheryl Tan contributed to this article.

Some had the stomach flu. Others had a sore throat or a doctor's appointment, but somehow they managed to make it to Opening Day at Oriole Park yesterday.

The one-day postponement of Opening Day was a hassle for fans, some of whom had to skip the event. For others, it actually brought out creative streaks.

Here are some of their stories:

Out of sick bay

In the top of the sixth inning, close to 5 p.m., Linda Ours and Nicole McGuire of Baltimore were holding half-full cups of beer and lining up for more.

"I feel peachy," said Ours, 23, a fitness trainer. "Just peachy."

But Ours said she's not supposed to be feeling all that great. Ours and McGuire, 21, had planned to skip the game after it was postponed, because it would be difficult to get the day off.

"But then we woke up and it was so pretty outside, so we called in sick," Ours said. "She has a sore throat, and I have a doctor's appointment. We'll probably get fired because of today."

Pleading his case

Ron Kropkowski, a self-described "superfan" from Dundalk, said that when he first heard about the postponement, he didn't believe it and made the trip to Oriole Park on Tuesday anyway.

"I thought all the media was just putting on the biggest April Fools' joke in the world, so I had to come see for myself," he said.

When Kropkowski found the opener really was postponed, he got desperate.

"I had to get down on my knees and beg my supervisors to get today off," said Kropkowski, who works for United Parcel Service. "I've been following the Orioles since grade school, and these tickets behind first base were the best I've ever had."

Kropkowski, decked out in orange and black, sported a "Show me the World Series" sign that had a "Cal-O-Meter" on the back. He said he was disappointed because everyone he quizzed at the game about Ripken's record got the answer wrong.

"How many fans know this is Cal's 2,317th consecutive game?" he asked. "Everyone stopped counting after 2,131."

Stalled in Frederick

Lisa Naugle works in Laurel and lives 52 miles from Camden Yards.

"I wasn't happy at all when they postponed Opening Day," she said. "I think they should have played. They've played in a lot worse weather than that. I've been to games when it snowed."

The delay cost Tina Forney, Naugle's friend, the chance to be at the game.

"She works in Frederick, and she couldn't get off another day," Naugle said. "She's really ticked."

Park and walk

Schedule rearrangement was just part of the game to Marci Iszard, who said she was glad the opener wasn't played as originally scheduled.

"I don't think it was a good idea to play yesterday," she said.

Iszard of Bethesda was awaiting her husband, who was searching for a parking space.

"We may never see him again," she said. "Maybe an hour from now. He dropped us off."

But Iszard said that long walks from parking spaces to the stadium are not uncommon.

"Sometimes, we have to park in the city and walk quite a ways," she said. "The way to beat that is try to get here early enough."

Make it a week off

After bad weather and a rescheduled game caused them to miss Opening Day last year, Ryan Adams, John Pieroni and Craig Pietrowicz decided to take no chances. This year, the three men, who live in Salisbury, gave themselves a no-fail cushion by taking the entire week off.

Long-distance love

Diana Lore and Maryann Kaufman of Clarks Summit, Pa., were attending their sixth consecutive Opening Day and were thrilled with the postponement. The highway they usually take to Baltimore -- Interstate 81 South -- was closed Tuesday, so the sisters would have had to miss Opening Day.

"It's Opening Day, which is almost our national holiday," Lore said.

Lore is a season-ticket holder and drives four hours to Baltimore at least 40 times a year for games. She said she has been an Orioles fan since she was 7.

"When I was a little girl, our town had only one TV station and on weekends, you watched sports," she said. "I chose the Orioles because everyone else was rooting for the Yankees."

It works for her

"Why is everybody whining and weeping about the postponement?" asked shorts-clad Roni Aronin, who took the light rail from Mount Washington to Camden Yards.

"I even told my mother to stop complaining. Me? I'm happy they changed it. I had the flu Monday. Now, I feel great."

Once in a lifetime

Dean Bucher of Lititz, Penn., said he was glad the game was postponed so his two teen-age daughters would enjoy good weather on their first Opening Day at Oriole Park.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing; it's special," said Bucher, a contractor. "And it's not a lot of fun when it's a lousy day."

He said when the family found out Tuesday morning that the opener was postponed, his daughters, 14 and 16, decided not to skip school and just went late.

"They 'overslept' yesterday, and they have the stomach flu today," he said.

Out of the box

Sharin Van Culin was grateful she made the trip from her home in Rising Sun to downtown Baltimore on Monday despite the "blowout."

"We came to town for a special promotion by WQSR at the Sheraton Hotel," she said. "The station disc jockey, Steve Rouse, was giving away tickets, and [former Orioles pitcher] Dave Johnson pulled my name out of the box. That's why I'm here today."

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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