BALTIMORE — It’s a family tradition for the Blackburns.
Ray, Tony and Andrew Blackburn – grandfather, father and son – have been attending the Baltimore Orioles’ home opener five different times.
On Monday, as the Orioles played their first game of the 2022 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Blackburns were once again in the stadium sporting their Orioles’ black, orange and white outfits.
“We would always go to opening days together,” said Tony Blackburn. “My son really enjoys baseball so we wanted to celebrate this together.”
The Orioles’ home opener was played under sunny skies, a little windy, but temperatures near 60 degrees.
It was also the first home opener that felt “normal,” with no masks permitted or social distancing, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have a chance to see the Orioles,” Andrew Blackburn said. “We haven’t really gotten to do this since the pandemic. Being out here in this atmosphere, it feels great.”
Orioles’ fan Teresa has attending Orioles’ games for as long as she can remember.
She said she met her future husband at an Orioles game.
Teresa was at Monday’s home opener with her husband, continuing to support the Orioles.
“I love supporting the Orioles, my home team,” Teresa said.
Orioles’ fans Al and Donna have been attending Orioles’ home openers for 30 years, since the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
“I’ve been coming to see them for 30 years, so we very much enjoy it. It is always exciting,” Al said. “We are Oriole fans, lifetime fans. Hopefully, we can get something going.”
While watching their beloved team play for the first time in the new season is enjoyable, it’s the opening-day traditions that make this day memorable.
“This means the world,” Andrew Blackburn said.
“This is the way you want to do it,” Ray Blackburn added.
Plus, there is a sense of optimism.
The Orioles still have a long way to go until the end of the season.
The O's gave their home fans something to cheer about early when Cedric Mullins knocked in two runs with a bases loaded single in the bottom of the second inning.
“You can’t go 159-3 without losing the first three,” Tony Blackburn said.
“The stadium is all about the Warehouse and the grounds crew does a great job with the field,” Orioles fan Al said. “I’m excited to see the left-field wall and see what kind of difference that will make. Hopefully we can keep some balls in the ballpark.”