Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers' Day to all you moms and queens


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

This year I'm spending Mother's Day the traditional way -- at Yankee Stadium, calling the Mariners-Yankees game on 701 ESPN Seattle, the Mariners Radio Network, and MLB.COM.  

But when you think of great mom's, who springs to mind first?  Why, Queen Elizabeth of course!   So for the first time ever, a blog post that combines Mothers' Day, the Queen of England, and baseball. 

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.

14 comments:

Johnny Walker said...

Hi Ken, I'm working my way through Cheers at the moment (what a great show that was -- everyone and everything was perfect from the outset!), and I noticed that your and David's "co-producer" credits are now missing in season two. What were you guys doing in 1983? Were you still on Cheers? If not, where did you go, and why did you leave?

I loved how Season 1 had lots of little "arcs" that paid off if you were watching closely. Certain characters being introduced and then returning to play bigger parts in more important storylines (Harry the conman, the MIT computer geek, etc.)

Dana King said...

Ken,
Checking Amazon for IT'S GONE, the book appears to be out of print. Is a Kindle version planned?

DaveMB said...

So this real event inspired the climactic scene of NAKED GUN 2 1/2, right?

olucy said...

Just checking IMDB, it looks like Ken was working on AfterMASH in 1983.

Paul Duca said...

DaveDB,..I believe the film came first.

John said...

I'm sure the Queen felt things would be a lot better at the game a year later, when Camden Yards opened, and she and Phillip could just take MARTA and walk to station from the depot behind the right field warehouse.

Mr Lonely said...

Happy Mother Day~ have a nice day ~ =)

Regards,
http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

Johnny Walker said...

Thanks, olucy! That does indeed seem to be the case. As for the "why?", I guess it's a case of "hindsight is 20/20" :)

RCP said...

I'm sorry, "Sausage"?

Anonymous said...

Hey, the Philly PHanatic is pretty cool!

Joey H said...

I'm sure those two innings were very exciting when compared to cricket.

normadesmond said...

i appreciate the fact that you included us queens.

Harold X said...

Just a sec -- 1991 is "fifteen years ago today"?

ia

Raymond said...

@Joey H: Hey, in cricket two innings is the entire match!