Gate Crashers (Jennifer Semple Siegel) (non-fiction)
|Gate Crashers superimposed on Cal Ripken, Jr., ticket|
October 6, 2001
When Cal Ripken, Jr., retired from the Orioles, we held the golden tickets for his last game, scheduled for late September 2001.
Then 9/11 happened – like everything else in the U.S., the Baseball schedule was thrown into disarray.
Cal’s Big Day was rescheduled for October 6, 2001.
Alas, our tickets were no longer good for that momentous event.
Although Cal’s rescheduled game was sold out, we traveled to Baltimore anyway, hoping to buy tickets on the street.
Cal fever was just too high.
Then we got a bright idea: we would eat at the Camden Club, for which we did not need a ticket.
We enjoyed a nice view of the ballpark from the window, a fantastic meal, and beer. But after we finished eating, the server said we needed to leave, to make room for new diners. 🤨
So, how to get into the ballpark itself without a ticket (did I mention security was tight due to 9/11)?
Armed with a few drinks under our belts, we decided we had nothing to lose by trying to talk our way in.
We tried several points of entry – no success. The ushers saw through our BS, as well they should.
With a little help from his friend Harvey (already in the ballpark), my husband, normally a confirmed rule-follower, came up with a script.
We would claim we had just come from the Camden Club (true) and that we had left our tickets behind in our Skybox (LOL), Box 40, which we later discovered does not even exist.
A friend of Harvey’s had a skybox, just not this sky box, but we had a name to drop.
We got in; Harvey had found four seats behind home plate – probably the only empty seats in the entire park.
A great time was had that night, a glittering gala honoring the Ironman of baseball.
I am convinced that the ticket taker, shaking his head, knew we were full of it but admired our chutzpah and waved us through.
Besides, it was a special night, and 9/11 made people friendlier.
At the time, I was 51, my hubby 60, so we weren’t mischievous kids – well, perhaps, that night we were.
We had never done anything like this before or since.
We just wanted to see Cal honored on his special day.
We were not disappointed.
Except that the O’s lost to the Boston Red Sox, 5-1.
Still, thanks, Cal.
I’m assuming the statute of limitations has long passed, but, dear Oriole organization, we won’t do it again.