Waiting in Line for Tickets at Oriole Park at Camden Yards at Camden & Eutaw

Waiting in Line for Tickets at Oriole Park at Camden Yards at Camden & EutawTuesday’s ride was a surprisingly muggy one downtown to meet the shuttle for the ride to campus. I let the hill do the work on the way, locked up, and chatted with a colleague from the Classics department on campus. He’s an archaeologist who also hates driving, and we had a lovely time discussing the merits of fixed rail versus bus, bike versus everything else–you can guess where I fell on this debate. One of my favorite things about public and shared transportation is this kind of thing, though–that you get to chat with people you probably wouldn’t talk with otherwise. Sure, it’s usually because the bus is late, but being stuck in the car is just the same kind of waiting, but you’re trapped inside a metal box while you do it. I took a different route home, heading up to Federal Hill to kill some time before dinner with A. and her sweet baby girl. It was all traffic and blustery-ness, so I took the whole lane on Pratt to avoid getting the squeeze. I turned at the hotel to ride by Oriole Park, just a few days before the home opener, where I snapped this picture of people standing in line for tickets. I don’t know if Friday’s game is sold out, but I do know there’s a buzz in the air of summertime when many, many nights are taken over by folks in orange wandering up and down Pratt Street on their way to games or their cars. Baseball is a private enterprise, but it’s also a public one, especially considering how many of our tax dollars are spent to build stadiums and the transportation infrastructure (I mean, the light rail opened the same week as this ball field!) to get us to the games that we pay for out of pocket again. There’s a giant cynic in me about the layers of public funding that are funneled to make a few people very, very rich, and about the ways sports franchises can hold their cities hostage for more and more investment that doesn’t always necessarily return, but there’s also a huge part of me that loves the return of baseball, the lazy afternoon or evening sitting in the sun eating peanuts and reading while people toss a ball around far below, not to mention the rush that ensues when a team’s in a pennant race, which this one hopefully will be again. Being a fan is so much fun. On Tuesday the latter me won out, and I started to get excited–let’s play ball, summertime.

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