JULY 14, 2012
NO. 22, BRONZED: EUTAW & CAMDEN STS.
The picnic area by the Camden Yards bullpen is fancier than ever: waiters in bowties, drinks on silver trays. It’s obvious today is special. The audience resembles an Orioles Who’s Who—Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr., Rick Dempsey, Earl Weaver. As the legends take their seats, the current roster files in. (Buck Showalter and Adam Jones get the big cheers.) Even actor Josh Charles stands nearby, baseball in hand.
They’re all here because Jim Palmer, the best pitcher in Orioles history, is being immortalized in bronze. The first speaker is Ken Singleton, whose 6-foot-4 frame towers over the podium. He jokes about which player was Weaver’s favorite, but then gets sentimental. “Years from now, when people are walking through this stadium with their grandchildren, they can point to this statue and say, ‘Jim Palmer, the greatest pitcher the O’s ever had.’”
Artist Toby Mendez pulls the orange cloth away to reveal his statue: Palmer in mid-pitch, left cleat kicked high in the air in his signature delivery. “He’s about to throw a fastball—you can tell by his grip,” Murray observes. Finally, it’s Palmer’s turn to speak, which, predictably, takes a while. He talks a lot about his teammates, gets choked up mentioning his autistic stepson and the passing of Mike Flanagan, and makes an Earl Weaver joke or two. But he sums up his career well, saying, “I was proud that I did it all in an Orioles uniform.” —Jess Blumberg
JULY 14, 2012
PARTY POOPER: WEST LOMBARD STREET
Journalists from National Public Radio, Reuters, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and Japan and Germany, too, cram onto folding chairs inside an ad-hoc press room on the 11th floor of the Inner Harbor Holiday Inn. Everyone’s awaiting the Green Party’s two leading presidential candidates, Dr. Jill Stein, a Harvard-educated Massachusetts physician—the expected nominee at the evening’s national convention—and Roseanne Barr, comic, former TV star, macadamia-nut farmer, and the party’s expected runner-up.
Except Roseanne doesn’t post.
A Green Party spokesman informs the media, some of whom have guessed as much, that the more famous of the two candidates has cancelled her scheduled speech later to the party’s delegates. Then Stein, trim and poised in a light purple pants suit, green earrings, and green necklace, confirms Roseanne won’t be attending. She announces that her vice-presidential nominee, Cheri Honkala, a former homeless single mother, will speak to the convention delegates in Roseanne’s stead.
In her remarks, Stein explains the “Green New Deal” platform and highlights her experience debating Republican nominee Mitt Romney—“I beat him twice”—when she ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002. When it’s Honkala’s turn, she links her family’s economic struggles to her activism, and now, candidancy.
Outside the press conference, word filters to the delegates—many of whom have traveled from across the country to pledge support to Roseanne—that their candidate is a no-show. “We didn’t find out until we got here,” says Monica Schreibner, representing Oregon’s Green Party delegation, which committed six of its nine votes to Roseanne.
“Maybe we should’ve done more to let her know we needed her here,” she suggests to another Green Party delegate on a crowded elevator. “Maybe we should’ve gone down to Hawaii, to her farm, and gotten her here.”
AUGUST 4, 2012
WOMEN-BUILT: MAPLE SHADE DRIVE
As the sun bakes the ground on a 94-degree Saturday in East Baltimore, Chavon Williams twists a post-hole digger into the rocky dirt. The 29-year-old’s messy work boots, sweat pants, soiled gloves, and bandana attest to hours of tough work all morning. The rolled-up sleeves of her T-shirt reveal skinny but tight biceps as she switches to a digging bar, then to a shovel.
Part of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake’s 12th Annual Women’s Build, Williams toils alongside two dozen women in the Orchard Ridge development off Erdman Avenue where Habitat is building 30 townhomes. In one of the homes under construction, Michelle Montgomery, a nurse, and her kids, Donte, 4, and Stori, 9, both tagging along for the day, hope to celebrate Christmas this year. Montgomery is building shelves and using a power drill for the first time.
Meanwhile, Williams picks and shovels dirt, rocks, and concrete bits left over from the notorious housing project that once stood here. The hole needs to be 2-feet deep to support the four-by-four post where the home’s street address will eventually hang.
“Okay, measure it,” Williams half-pleads to lead volunteer Mel Blevins.Blevins obliges: “Twenty-four inches.”
“Hallelujah,” Williams exhales, generating some good-natured laughter from nearby volunteers. “That’s right,” a woman tells her. “You put your soul into that hole.”