Camden Debut (cont - 11)

The announcer’s voice boomed out, “And here are your Baltimore Orioles.”

Nine players ran out onto the field, different shapes and sizes, all wearing the same uniform, different strides and speed to their run. Kevin ran with Jason, side by side, his shin guards flapping against his knees as they trotted out to the pitcher’s mound. The announcer read the names quickly based on what position they were playing. Kevin listened intently as he neared calling out the catcher’s position. He did not want to miss his name announced at a major league park. It was probably the only time he would hear it. “Catching for the Orioles and making his major league debut, The Warrior Kevin Beamer.” The announcement gave him shivers throughout his body. There was a pause as the crowd hollered their enthusiasm, right arms raised high to the sky, their three fingers spread into a “W”. These were not Yankee fans. Nor were they Oriole fans. They were Woo and the Warrior fans.

When the crowd noise quieted the announcer said slowly, ‘Pitching for the Baltimore Orioles and also making his major league debut, Jason Woooooooo.”

There was a mixture of “Wooooooo” and a whisper that could barely be heard of “Booooo” from the few Yankee fans that were in attendance. It was hard to distinguish between the two. From the sound of it there was a pretty good mix at the stadium, but the Woos were clearly drowning out the Boos. The right arms were dropped and the left arms raised to the sky, again the three fingers raised to form the “W”, this time to honor Jason.

Kevin tried to remain calm as the National Anthem was sung by a barbershop quartet. The giant pterodactyls returned flapping their wings inside his stomach. There was a huge “O” chorus ringing from the stands, rocking the stadium like thunder when the quartet reached the stanza “Oh, say does that….”, indicating there were still a number of O’s fans who had come to the stadium familiar with their tradition of chanting a loud “O” at that point in the anthem. Traditions are hard to forget.

When the anthem was complete Kevin looked at Jason. “Nervous?”

“Not anymore.”

“It’s like spring training all over again. As Terry ordered, let’s go kick some Spankee butt.” He slapped his catcher’s mask across the rear of Jason, turned around to jog back to the plate, the shin guards flapping with each step. He had called many a game inside this box behind home plate home, but never a box in the major leagues. He was going to enjoy this visit, as brief as it might be.

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