Just a bit of a follow-up to last week’s thoughts on Lefty Grove and my ongoing efforts to win the lottery so I can commission Toby Mendez to create a Lefty Grove statue for Lonaconing (it’s presently not going well). As you know, the Allegany County commissioners proclaimed March 31, Opening Day of baseball season, to be Lefty Grove Day, which is something that should become an annual occurrence here in Allegany County.
On May 8, County Commissioners President Mike McKay received the following letter from Larry Lucchino, president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox: “Dear Mike, On behalf of the Boston Red Sox, I wanted to thank you and everyone in Allegany County for your recent efforts to recognize Lefty Grove.
“Here at Fenway Park, we always remind ourselves that we stand on the shoulders of those who preceded us. Honoring great figures from our game’s history is an important responsibility, and Lefty Grove belongs to an elite class of Red Sox legends.
“We’re grateful for your efforts to keep alive Lefty’s great legacy, and celebrate the larger past of our game as a whole. Thanks again.
“Sincerely, “Larry Lucchino” That’s nice, and it isn’t total lip service because it’s not as though Lucchino doesn’t know where Allegany County is. As president and CEO of the Baltimore Orioles from 1988 through 1993, Lucchino was the man behind building Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the first retro-style ballpark of its kind, and was aware of everything that had to do with the operation of the park, including the O’s Train that made its way from Cumberland to Baltimore for selected Sunday Orioles games.
(He is also the guy who tagged “The Evil Empire” moniker on the New York Yankees, although given some of our feelings concerning the Red Sox — one of Mike Sawyers’ two favorite teams, by the way ... oh, please — one could say that’s a case of “takes one to know one.”) And please, don’t thank me for reminding you of the O’s Train. It’s what I do. In fact, I once watched a friend order the salmon cakes lunch I had just eaten, then told him just as he was taking his first bite, “Mine were dry.” Whether his salmon cakes were really dry or not, he believed them to be, which, of course, was the entire point of the exercise.
Anyway, the O’s Train? Oy! I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. In fact, I’d eat dry salmon cakes before I’d do that again. Of course, my friends and I once went to Chicago on the train, so nothing can touch that for experiences in misery you never knew existed, but the O’s Train would at least rate.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a great idea, particularly the first year Camden Yards was open because it was the only way many of us could get tickets since the Orioles sold out 455 consecutive games there. But like all train trips, the newness kind of wears off after the first 90 minutes. Then on the trip home, the air conditioner stops working, then the bathrooms stop working, then the young children who have been up and at it all day get restless and start running all over the place screaming their heads off because their parents are so tired (or whatever) from being on the train, then baking in the sun (and whatevering) and then being on the train