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At the ballpark, she likes to take in all the sites

July 27, 2000

At the ballpark, she likes to take in all the sites



I've always considered myself a jock, but when it comes to watching sports, I'm SUCH a girl.

That reality was thrown in my face recently when I attended an Orioles-Braves game with my husband, John, a former sportswriter.

The difference in our focus became obvious as we prepared for the trip to Camden Yards.

My fanny pack was stuffed to the gills, my arms cradled a bulky sweatshirt and two rain slickers just in case the 85-degree day turned sour.

He brought binoculars and a camera, items to capture the essence of the GAME. Go figure!

As we got closer to the park, his pace picked up, the adrenaline of a hard-core Braves fan kicking in. Usually, he's trying to keep up with me, but boy, this time the shoes were on the other foot!

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I had to ask him to slow down several times, reminding him that his aunt and uncle from Florida, who were with us, were strangers to Camden Yards. I was more concerned that I would never find our seats. I'm one of the most directionally challenged people I know.

While he excitedly hurried to our seats at the very top of the stadium, I was lagging behind, captivated by the bat-shaped handles on the drink dispensers at the food stands.

The program he was holding with child-like wonder didn't remotely interest me. After all, those things are full of ads and stats, right?

Then John mentioned that Orioles pitcher Scott Erickson was recently named one of People magazine's most beautiful people. Suddenly, I was enthralled with the laminated book, as I needed to get a gander at this pretty face.

He was pointing out which players on the field are part of his fantasy baseball team and was taking note of their batting averages, which were emblazoned on the huge screen at the ballpark.

I was noticing their uniforms. I asked whether the guys wear different ones at home games than they do when they're on the road. Yes, they do, he said, politely hiding a look of awe that I could ask such a superficial question.

I no longer was the focus of awe when, from what seemed like a mile away, John saw controversial Braves pitcher John Rocker strut out of the bullpen and begin to stretch. He was psyched at the idea that he might get to hear the intense booing that follows Rocker during his sprints to the mound.

John thought there was hope for me when I asked to borrow the binoculars. That hope was dashed, however, when I focused on Rocker's technique and began commenting on how he wasn't holding the stretches long enough to provide any benefit to his long limbs.

Rocker never did make an appearance on the mound, which I guess is a good thing because that means his teammates didn't need him to pitch them out of a pinch. It's probably good, too, because I might have felt the compulsion to run down there and make some suggestions to him about his stretching regimen.

Imagine the booing THAT would have generated!

Meg H. Partington is a Staff Writer for Lifestyle.

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