Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum


April 12, 2009|By sloane brown | sloane brown,

A little rain wasn't going to put a damper on the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum's annual Opening Day Block Party. A couple hundred folks showed up outside the museum on Emory Street to enjoy live music, scarf down burgers and pit beef and down a few beers. For many, the party was as much a tradition as attending the Orioles' hometown opener itself.

"Opening Day is the best day of the year, and I always start at the Babe Ruth Museum," said Bob Hillman, a museum advisory board member.

"It's a celebration of baseball and spring, and a lot of people are showing up. So, it's a great day," said Mike Gibbons, the museum's executive director, as he took a break from serving burgers to the crowd.

"It's the start of new year. Happy New Year," said actor Doug Roberts.

For Larry Talbott, a Baltimore County bus driver, and Chris Young, the owner of a local lawn care business, it was all about one thing.

"We want to beat the Yankees," Young said.

"As long as the Yankees lose, if it's rainy, sunny, it doesn't matter," Talbott added.

So what was Nick Iocci doing hanging out in enemy territory, wearing a New York Yankees jersey?

"I'm a Yankee fan. I'm not going to change that for any other reason," the Freehold, N.J., police officer said.

Besides, he added, no one had said anything to him about the shirt. But then, he admitted, no one had bothered to say anything to him at all.

Competitors kick up heels at DanceSport Championships

Baltimore was the setting for the true Dancing With the Stars last weekend, as USA Dance - the official organization of competitive ballroom dancing - held its 2009 National DanceSport Championships at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel.

So, who are these folks who spend every spare minute rehearsing in a studio, and every spare dime on coaches, costumes and competition fees? I had a chance to chat with Los Angeleno Melissa Leake and her partner, Guillermo Ceballos, who danced in the Adult American Smooth Championship. (That's a style that allows dancers to break their partnership hold, contrary to American Standard, I learned.) Ceballos, human resources director for a garment company, said he started dancing five years ago to impress a girl. "She never danced with me, but I fell in love with it," he said.

Leake, a sales associate for Warner Brothers VIP Tours, said she began dancing in high school after winning a bet with her grandmother. "If I got straight Bs, she'd pay for a month of ballroom dancing."

Ten years later, she and Guillermo are the fifth-ranked American Smooth dancers in the U.S.

* It was an unforgettable moment at the Casey Cares Foundation's ninth annual gala recently. Aaron Ware, 12, was profiled on CBS News for the Doughjangles cookie baking company he started last year in his St. Mary's County home to deal with the grief of losing his twin brother, Eric, to brain cancer in 2006. The foundation's Pam Goode says Casey Cares had sent the family to Hersheypark and baseball games while Eric was battling his illness. Now, she says, Aaron wanted to donate a couple dozen of his cookies to the gala. Goode says those cookies became the high point of the evening's live auction - going for some $1,500. Apparently, winning bidders Mike McCabe and Marcus Aiello each have a sweet tooth and a big heart.

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