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The Nose

You Can't Go Home Again for $3

Posted 7/18/2001

Ever since Bat Night was replaced with Mini-Bat Night, the Nose has had a distaste for most ballpark gimmicks. But we do have a soft spot for Turn Back the Clock Night. Unlike the nights devoted to Beanie Babies or bobblehead dolls, and especially unlike the abominable Turn Ahead the Clock Day a couple years back, making baseball teams dress up in previous editions of their uniforms strikes us as good healthy fun. "Cherish" is the word we use to describe our memory of gargantuan then-Boston slugger Mo Vaughn swimming in a voluminous, lace-up-collared replica of a 1908 Red Sox blouse.

But we were nonplussed when we saw the Orioles' press release announcing the team's '70s Night, to be held July 18, in which the Orioles, wearing "complete replica 1977 uniforms," will take on a Texas Rangers squad wearing "jerseys similar to those worn by the [Rangers] in 1977." We like the prospect of seeing orange jerseys, white-panel hats with the cartoon Bird, and elastic waistbands once more, after years of olde tyme-y uniform tweaking by the Birds. But something is wrong here.

It's not just that 1977 isn't the most celebration-worthy year in O's history, despite the emergence of Rookie of the Year Eddie Murray. (Baltimore won 97 games but finished second in the American League to the eventual World Series champ Yankees.) Nor that the press release promised "Orioles greats" including "Curt Motten [sic]."

No, what shook the Nose out of our happy memories of our child-sized synthetic orange No. 5 jersey was the part where we learned that "[t]ickets in the upper deck . . . have been discounted to $5.00 in honor of 70s Night." Five bucks?! Holy Kiko Garcia! Just whose clock is the Warehouse crew trying to turn back here?

Here's what $5 bought you in 1977: a box seat. Upper reserve was $3. General admission--ah, there's a throwback--was $2. The bleachers were a buck.

So the nostalgia-priced ticket turns out, conservatively, to be about twice as expensive as the real '77 item. And this travesty is being sponsored by Southwest Airlines, everyone's favorite general-admission discount airline. Hey, Southwest: You're supposed to give us real bargains, not fake ones. The whole thing leaves a bad taste in the Nose's mouth--and we won't even be able to wash it out with cheap beer. In this version of the '70s--sorry, Wild Bill Hagy--you can't bring your own cooler into the park.

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