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It’s Black Friday, the official kickoff to holiday shopping, and I’ve got some ideas for you.
Take a trip: As the team has improved, I’ve noticed more fans heading to road games on flights, and the trend is likely to continue next season.
One interesting trip, if you can land tickets, is to combine a trip to the All-Star Game with an Orioles weekend.
The All-Star Game will be held on July 16th at Texas’ Globe Life Field. The home run derby is the night before, and the Orioles will play the Rangers from July 19th through the 21st.
There are many hotels close to the ballpark, and while you might have to wait several years for the All-Star Game to return to Baltimore, this may be an interesting opportunity to see the game and combine it with an Orioles weekend.
Six Flags is also near Globe Life Field, and the George W. Bush Presidential Museum and Library and Sixth Floor Museum detailing the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are ways to spend the time between the All-Star Game and the Orioles weekend. You can also take a tour of nearby AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
There are three trips to New York next season since the Orioles are playing the Mets (August 19th-21st) besides two trips to Yankee Stadium (June 18th-20th and September 24th-26th.
A trip you may find worthwhile is Kansas City (April 19th-21st). There are lots of interesting things to see there, including the Negro Leagues Museum, which is located in the same building as the Museum of Jazz.
Barbecue aficionados love Kansas City, and there are some terrific spots, including Q39, Jack Stack, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, and the old favorite, Arthur Bryant’s, which is close to the Negro Leagues Museum.
Besides Citi Field, the other National League Parks the Orioles are visiting are Pittsburgh’s PNC Park (April 5th-7th), Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark (May 3rd-5th), St. Louis’ Busch Stadium (May 20th-22nd), Miami’s Marlins Park (July 23rd-25th), Dodger Stadium (August 27th-29th) and Colorado’s Coors Field (August 30th-September 1st).
If you want to see two ballparks, the Orioles’ trip to St. Louis is followed by a visit to Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago from May 23rd-26th).
St. Louis also has some outstanding barbecue and is home to toasted ravioli. I’d recommend Sugarfire Smoke House for barbecue and Anthonino’s Taverana for toasted ravioli. St. Louis has many first-rate Italian restaurants on The Hill, its larger version of Baltimore’s Little Italy.
Chicago has a whole host of superb restaurants. Any diner can find multiple restaurants that suit their taste.
Get them a trip to spring training: I’ll be presenting my annual guide to Sarasota as we get closer to spring training, but if you haven’t gone, it’s a great trip.
Sarasota also has many fine restaurants, and Southwest has four nonstops.
Get them Orioles merchandise: Fanatics is selling official Orioles American League East Division Champion merchandise for 50 percent off.
The Orioles’ team store at Camden Yards is having a Black Friday sale. Select items will be 50 percent off, and fans can park free at the North Warehouse Lot.
Get them baseball memorabilia: The Babe Ruth Museum is holding an online auction from December 1st-3rd. Some of the items available are a “Brooks Robinson Way” street sign, seats from Memorial Stadium and sections of goalposts from Memorial Stadium. You can bid from 9 a.m. on December 1st through 9 p.m. December 3rd at https: //brmauction.givesmart.com.
The museum will hold a yard sale on December 8th and 9th from 9:30 a.m-2:30 p.m. Sports books and publications, bobbleheads and other items will be on sale.
Get them a book: Some of my favorite things are watching baseball, traveling, eating out and reading. There weren’t any new Orioles-related books, but one that appealed to me was “Moon Baseball Road Trips: The Complete Guide to All the Ballparks, with Beer, Bites and Sights Nearby” by Timothy Malcolm.
The author has done his legwork and there are some good recommendations about each park and its city.
There weren’t many outstanding baseball books this year, but one I enjoyed was Jack Curry’s “1998 Yankees,” which described in detail he memorable May brawl between the Yankees and Orioles.
The book provided insight into clubhouse chemistry, something that was important to this year’s Orioles.
Another book I enjoyed was a football book by my friend John Eisenberg, who has written two outstanding Orioles books. “Rocket Men: The Black Quarterbacks Who Revolutionized Pro Football,” has stories of not only Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, but early black quarterbacks you’re probably not familiar with.
Get them a scorebook: Few fans score games and the Orioles don’t even sell programs with scorecards because of a lack of demand. Many writers don’t even score games, preferring to follow games on their computers. Other writers use copied scoresheets, but I prefer a scorebook.
Washington Nationals broadcaster Bob Carpenter sells an excellent scorebook with plenty of room for details. I use the Radio Scorebook, which has room for 200 games and sells for $50. He also has a TV Scorebook with 100 games at $40 and the Fan Scorebook with 100 games for $30.
Go to Bcscorebook.com to order.
Something free: The best daily entertainment in baseball is free. If you haven’t discovered Immaculate Grid, you should. Each day around 9 a.m., there’s a puzzle on BaseballReference.com, and people both inside baseball as well as media people are addicted to it.
You must fill in nine players who match the categories in the grid, and the less recognizable the player, the better your score.
I’m not always able to complete it correctly, but it’s a fun way to spend five or 10 minutes in the morning. My best rarity score is 8, and I know several writers who regularly get a 1 or 2.
RAVENS LINKS FROM BALTIMORESPORTS.COM