Saturday, May 12, 2007

Orioles promotion: Queen Elizabeth Night

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!! Especially to the mom of my kids, Debby.

Since it is M's-Day and Queen Elizabeth was in town, I thought I'd share my personal experience with the Queen on England.


In 1991 I was a rookie play-by-play announcer for the Baltimore Orioles. I kept a daily journal that year and sold it as a book. "It's Gone!...No, wait a minute"(my classic home run call unfortunately) was published by Villard and released in ’93. It’s available on Amazon or on a remainder table near you. Fifteen years ago today this is what happened:

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 1991, BALTIMORE

A typical day really, except that the queen of England and the president of the United States attended the game. They saw the A’s win 6-3, although Randy Milligan hit his first home run of the year and then his second.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip are visiting the United States and wanted to view something that represented the “epitome of America”. That meant either the Shopping Channel or baseball. So our little ol’ ballpark on Thirty-third Street got the nod. The weather was glorious, the traffic horrendous, and the crowd merely moderate (32,501) to see this historic occasion (The queen was not as big a draw as free wristbands.)

The entourage arrived at 6:30 via motorcade and were whisked into a private reception hosted by club owner Eli S. Jacobs (whom I have yet to meet, by the way). The VIP party, which also included Mrs. Bush, baseball commish Fay Vincent (who told me before the game that the role of the commissioner in affairs such as these is “to be seen and then leave”), Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, Mrs. Secretary of Defense, the Governor of Maryland, the British Foreign Secretary, and a number of the queen’s personal valets, secretaries, and foot stools. They all dined on crab cakes and hot dogs. (What, no crumpets and nachos??).

Everyone lingered over dinner for fifteen minutes, and then the royal party moved on to the Orioles dugout to greet the players of both teams.

I did not get to meet the queen. Jon Miller and I were on the air describing the proceedings. At 7:20 a receiving line of players was rushed through (viewed by the crowd on DiamondVision), and to the horror of the Secret Service, the president escorted Queen Elizabeth (or “Sausage” as Prince Philip calls her) up the top step into the on-deck area in full view of the masses. Personally, I feel Harold Baines would be in greater danger than the queen, but the Secret Service men held their breath just the same. The crowd roared its approval.

From there the royal party repaired back to Mr. Jacobs’ sky box on the mezzanine level just to the left of the press box. They sat comfortably behind bulletproof glass as a high school chorus mangled “God Save the Queen” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” over a sound system wracked by feedback.

They stayed for two whole innings, and I sort of felt bad because they were two very boring innings. Five walks, little action. Really, Your Highness, baseball is not that dull! I wanted her to stay longer, but by 8:45 the motorcade had shuttled her away. I also was hoping to have her stop by our booth and possibly read the “Esskay Meats Out-of-Town Scoreboard,” but that was not to be. See if I vote for her in the next election!

All in all it was a very exciting night. In three previous years in the minors the most important dignitary I ever saw attend a game was the Phillie Phanatic.

17 comments:

Bryan Simmons said...

Okay I'm at the Dodger game tonight, a 7-3 win by the way and I thought of you doing play by play. Odd that you're latest entry would be about baseball. Anyway I had to blow off the post-game show on News 980 to listen to you on KRTH. Loved it, and like the other night drove around in circles just to listen to you. Now you owe me two tanks of gas!

Schmucks with Underwoods said...

Ken, I'm curious. You spend a lot of time on this blog. Do you actually have time left to write these days? Are you still working in Hollywood? If so, as a veteran writer it would be great to hear your experiences of being a working scriptwriter in today's Hollywood. A while ago you talked about trying to get an agent. I found it hard to believe that someone with your experience wasn't repped! What's the status on that? Would love to hear your thoughts. SWU.

Lizbeth said...

I went to a Mets game about 15 years ago and Richard Nixon was in attendance. He was just sitting in regular seats and stood up and waved to the crowd. I was only about 10 rows behind him. That was kind of exciting.

Ian said...

Ken, it was great to be driving home last night and realize that the "new guy" I was listening to on K-Earth was, in fact, you. To think that you landed this radio gig (to those outside L.A., K-Earth is an institution among radio stations) and that you sold a pilot and that you still make time to update this blog is pretty remarkable. One thing, though - do you mean to tell me that your name doesn't rhyme with "ravine?"

John said...

If the Queen had shown up a year later, she could have gotten a lovely "Oriole Park at Camden Yards -- Inaugural Season" T-shirt to take home to London to mark the occasion.

Geoduck said...

"Hey! It's Enrico Palazzo!"

Jimmy said...

It says something about the excitement level of baseball when an old white lady in the audience is the most exciting thing to hit the ballpark in ages.

Most...

Boring...

Sport...

Zzzz....

Anonymous said...

Ken,
Let's not forget to say Happy Mother's day to best mother we had... our "Stardust memory"....

Yees'gadal v'yees'kadash sh'mey rabba
B'alma dee v'ra cheer'usey, v'yamleech malchu'say
B'cha'yey'chon, u'v'yo'cha'mey'chon, u'v'cha'yei d'chol Beis Yisreal,
Ba'agala u'veez'man kareev, v'eem'ru: Amein.
Y'hey sh'mey rabba m'varach l'alam u'l'almey almaya.
Yees'barach, v'yees'tabach, v'yees'pa'ar,v'yees'romam, v'yees'nasei,
v'yees'hadar, v'yees'alah, v'yees'halal,sh'mey d'kood'sha b'reech hoo
L'eylah meem kol beer'chasa v'sheer'asa,
toosh'b'chasa v'nechem'asa, da'ameeram b'al'ma, v'eemru: Amein
Y'hei shlama rabba meem sh'maya
Oseh sholom beem'romav, Hoo ya,aseh,shalom,
aleynu v'al kol Yisrael, v'eemru: Amein

Corey

Anonymous said...

Ian
(is it ronounced: Ee-en of Eye-en, I get confused)
Ken & I come from a disfunctional family. Our grandmother pronounced her last name "Le-veen", her own son (we call him "dad")pronounces it "La-vine". "Just don't call us late for dinner...."

Jack Ruttan said...

I thought "cabbage" was the nickname (according to the movie). Unless Prince Philip was thinking of a Polish deli plate.

Mary Stella said...

Too bad that this time around the royal couple didn't take in a game at Wrigley. They could asked Her Majesty if she wanted to lead the crowd in the customary Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

I'm a Phillies phan, so I always like seeing the Phanatic. However, he isn't much of an interview guest. I once worked for a very small company that produced a few cable shows with limited distribution. (The show hosts' parents and siblings comprised most of the market share.) They had the Phantic on for one show. At least they didn't have to worry about cutting him off in mid-sentence for the commercial breaks. *g*

Al in Portland said...

I can only dream of what might have been if the Queen had stopped by Wrigley Field on her 1991 visit and met Harry Caray in the pressbox.
"Hey, it's Liz, queen of the Brits. And whaddya know, I'm drinking Budweiser, king of beers. Holy cow!"

Mike Barer said...

As someone who has lost his own mom 10 years ago, let me add my own v'imru Amen!

Let this day be for honoring the memory of these wonderful women.

VP81955 said...

I'm guessing Her Majesty had more fun on her other sporting visit in Maryland -- when she saw the University of Maryland football team play, and beat, North Carolina at Byrd Stadium in October 1957.

The Curmudgeon said...

The real reason the Queen left the park so soon: Somebody told Prince Philip about the quaint American custom of quaffing a beer an inning and Lizzie could see the entire "Special Relationship" between Great Britain and the States going right down the tubes when Philip inevitably tried taking a poke at one of the other dignitaries....

You can't have too many baseball stories as far as I'm concerned.

Mike Barer said...

"It says something about the excitement level of baseball when an old white lady in the audience is the most exciting thing to hit the ballpark in ages."
I think the queen would catch attention at any function in the world she would attend, whether it be opera, a graduation, football game, boxing match.
Baseball is boring to some, I find it a drama.

Anonymous said...

Donald Rumsfeld isn't the secretary of defense and neither is Dick Cheney. Someone named Gates is.