I'm a life-long Orioles fan, and so even though it took me a train, two planes, a car and a minivan to get there, I didn't want to miss this. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is one of rare events that takes place outside of time. In time -- during the baseball season -- I follow the Orioles; I complain about things like how lousy their relief pitching is and why firing Sam Perlozzo won't fix their problems; I watch to see if some happiness can be salvaged as they take two out of three from the Yankees; I suffer the indignity of watching them fall farther and farther out of the pennant race. But this Sunday for one shining day all of that was put aside. There was Cal. There was Earl Weaver. There was Jim Palmer. There was Eddie Murray. There was Brooks Robinson. There was Frank Robinson. For this one day, the Orioles were great again. Like I said, magic. And, oh yeah, there were 49 other members of the Hall of Fame there too.
A few other random notes on my trip:
- I felt sort of bad for Tony Gwynn. You only get inducted into the Hall of Fame once, and Gwynn was fairly overshadowed by all the attention on Cal, not least because of the Hall's proximity to Baltimore.
- Because of weather, Cal and Tony's induction was moved up to the beginning of the ceremony, ahead of a segment to honor long-time Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, and the presentation of career achievement awards to Kansas City broadcaster Denny Matthews and St. Louis sportswriter Rick Hummel. Perhaps predictably, about two thirds of the crowd walked out after Cal was done giving his acceptance speech. It was quite disgraceful. I felt especially bad for Bobby Doerr, who was speaking while this mass exodus took place. I couldn't hear a word he said.
- On the way home, I had a layover in Charlotte, NC. The "Simply Books" bookstore at the Charlotte airport has quite a selection of Christian books, but I was more than a little flumoxxed by the fact that both Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now and Jim Wallis' God's Politics showed up on their "recommended" shelf. I'm all for having a well-rounded perspective, but I can't imagine two books with more diametrically opposed visions of Christianity.