By banning 'Batman,' Orioles strike out

April 17, 2012|By TIM ROWLAND |

My favorite commercial of all time appears in the Snickers “not going anywhere for a while” series, where the quarterback gets knocked silly. The trainer’s asking him a battery of “where are you/what day is it?” questions, which the quarterback handles with ease until he’s asked who he is, and he replies, “I am Batman.”

Anything Batman is funny. I never even watched the show much, but the idea of Batman still sends me reeling just on general principles.

So you already know how I’m going to come down in the case of Mark Harvey, who put on a cape and a pair of Batman underpants and streaked around the field at Camden Yards on Opening Day.

“It was my birthday, and I just love to make people laugh and get them going,” Harvey told WJZ in Baltimore.

My man.

According to The Washington Post, however, the Baltimore Orioles were not amused, and Harvey has been banned from Camden Yards for life.

All right, but what’s his punishment going to be? Certainly it can’t be considered a disciplinary measure to be prohibited from watching one of the greatest sporting-world train wrecks of the past 20 years.

If the Orioles were really intent on punishing him, they’d sit him in the front row of each home game with Clockwork Orange-style eyelid spreaders, so he would have to watch every last Orioles pitch end up in Bowie, Md. Camden Yards is the only place where a baseball can be pitched in the Major Leagues and land in Double A.

And I am speaking as a huge Orioles fan, which is probably the only reason I even find them relevant enough to write about. Who else could possibly care?

You know why I like Mark Harvey’s Batman? Because it was about the most interesting and unpredictable thing that’s going to happen on the field all year.

Yankees are coming to town? Time for the O’s to curl up in the fetal position and suck their thumbs. Three- game sweep? Didn’t see that coming. Harvey wasn’t the only one on the field dressed in swaddling clothes, so why single him out?

The Post story said that due to a miscommunication between the Orioles and law enforcement, all charges against Harvey were dropped and he was released. They had him where they wanted him and they let him off the hook. So who’s the desk sergeant at that precinct, Kevin Gregg?

You know who’s loving this? The Washington Nationals. I know that I for one am trying to spit the sour Oriole hook and take the Nationals bait. With every Oriole bout with baseball incompetence, I move just a little closer to a clean break. And there is a franchise right down the Parkway that is waiting with open arms, one that seems to know what it’s about.

This year the Orioles are “celebrating” 20 years at Camden Yards. But what is there to celebrate? Ah yes, let’s all wipe away a tear of nostalgia as we recall the epic Larry Bigbie era.

As part of the celebration, they even ditched the “ornithologically correct” oriole logo and went back to the cartoon bird of yore. Cartoon bird. Cartoon team. Makes it all the more strange that the team would have such an issue with Batman.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at

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