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Play Ball!

Photo courtesy Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.

Baseball Returns to the Delight of Fans 

By Meg Walburn Viviano 

Do you remember going to see your first baseball game? Mine was a Bowie Baysox game, probably around age 9. The team and Prince George’s Stadium were brand new, and the stands were packed in those years—some of the highest attendance in minor league baseball.  

Here’s what I remember from that day: cheering for the team, eating soft pretzels and ice cream, and doing the wave with my best friend while her big brother pretended not to know us. Here’s what I don’t remember: who the Baysox played against, the final score, or who won. The actual competitive baseball part didn’t concern me in the least, but I loved the energy of the game and the shared experience. 

Families all over Chesapeake Country have enjoyed that energy over the years, whether rooting for a minor league team like the Baysox or the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in Waldorf or watching the big leaguers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  

Baseball games are a multi-generational pastime, the experience handed down from grandparents and parents to children. CBM Bay Weekly managing editor Kathy Knotts has been taking her two boys to Baysox games for years, and while they’re edging towards the age of being “too cool” to hang out with their parents, baseball games are still met with enthusiasm. 

The 2020 pandemic season, of course, rudely interrupted fan traditions. Professional baseball went on with an abbreviated season, but the ballparks were empty—a bizarre scene with artificial crowd noise piped in through the speakers. Like so much of the COVID-19 era, it seemed like a bad dream. 

This spring, Bay Weekly is happy to report, baseball is back. Fans will be masked up and spread out, with a lot more breathing room this season. But the experience of sitting at the ballpark on a summer night with a hot dog and a beer is once again possible, and that’s something to cheer about. 

The MLB season is well underway, the Baysox home opener starts in less than two weeks, and the Blue Crabs follow later in May. In our cover story you’ll find a guide to all the ways you can take in a ball game this year. 

And while we’re on the subject of feel-good sports stories, be sure to read about another local semi-pro team: the Chesapeake Bay Lightning. Never heard of them? They’re a women’s ice hockey team—among the best in the nation—living and training right here on the Bay. 

We’re proud to expand our coverage of inspiring sports efforts in Bay Weekly’s communities. If you know of an athlete or team doing something amazing, let us know! Email [email protected]