Finally! It seemed like it should have been easy to do. But visiting the home parks of each of the three Baltimore-based members of the Cal Ripken League should have been easier than it was. The Baltimore Redbirds offered a fun experience, while the Baltimore Dodgers need some work to engage the fans. And all of the Baltimore teams pale in comparison to the fan experience offered by the DC area-based teams of that same league, especially the Bethesda Big Train, who I also visited recently.
So I finally saw a game for Youse’s Orioles as they played the Silver Spring-Takoma ThunderBolts. This team plays out of the Bachman Sports Complex Park in Glen Burnie. That complex has a variety of softball fields to go along with the single baseball field. There are not many seats at this field, but it is clear that it is a well-maintained facility; but it really could use a scoreboard. Fans are often friends or family of the players, with some locals stopping by on the way to softball games. They are knowledgeable. Games are free and a concession stand can be found over by the softball fields.
The Youse’s Maryland Orioles is a longstanding team and organization. Started in 1952, it gets its name from Walter Youse, who managed the team from 1957 until his death 9 years ago. The team has been very successful over the years as they have won the All American Amateur Baseball Association(AAABA) Championship 29 times and as recently as 2013. Reggie Jackson, Al Kaline and Steve Clevenger are just a few of the players to have played for this team before making the major leagues. Clevenger has, of course, has been sent down to Norfolk as the Baltimore Orioles have a bit of a jam at catcher currently.
The team recently pulled out of the 2014 AAABA championship as their roster has been depleted by professional signings and the lack of enough in-state players. The AAABA rules state that at least 50% of your roster must be local. Essentially the Orioles are stuck between fielding locals-only players and maybe performing at a lesser level during league play, or nationally recruiting for league competition, as they have, and therefore having to miss the national competition held each year in Johnstown, PA. Before pulling out, the team was considered the best in nearly every category: including wins (269), runs scored (2907), winning percentage , and championships.
Youse’s Orioles had players from schools such as Mississippi, Delaware, Virginia Tech and even CCBC Dundalk on their roster, while the T-Bolts roster had players from schools such as LaSalle, Marshall, Maryland and Gallaudet.
Our home opener is tonight vs. @Alexandria_Aces. 7PM first pitch at Bachman Park
— Youse’s Orioles (@Youses_Orioles) June 6, 2014