The last two weekends have been interesting, taking me to see two of the Baltimore Orioles affiliates, the Bowie Baysox and the Frederick Keys. I’ve had the chance to sample food and drink flavored in Old Bay, visited some famous gravesites, and even catch a little bit of baseball in two cozy little parks! So we can mix this history and baseball lesson in with the “who is that stadium/team named for” series!
Old Bay sausages??
Yes, you read that right, sausages flavored with Old Bay
. Who knew?? This delightful treat was found at Bowie Baysox park in
Bowie, MD, home of the AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. It’s actually a perfect combination, since Old Bay is manufactured in Baltimore. They play their home games at Prince George’s Stadium
, located of course in Prince George’s county. PG county was formed in 1696 and named for Prince George of Denmark, husband of Anne, Queen of Great Britain, and the brother of King Christian V of Denmark and Norway. The stadium itself isn’t much to speak of, but even in 1994 when it was opened, they thought to have open concourses so you can see the game while waiting in line for your Old Bay sausage! Capacity is about 10,000. Like most minor league games I’ve gone to, the fans were great! Even made friends with the folks around me who seemed to be long time Baysox fans. Of course the kids got to run the bases after the game, which was a neat effect in the billowing smoke leftover from the evening fireworks!
Star Spangled Banner and baseball
Guess you have to pen a famous song to get a baseball team named after you! The Frederick Keys are named after none other than Francis Scott Key, who is buried literally across the street in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, MD. In fact, they Keys (the family, not the team) have a family section where his parents and family are interned as well. It’s a nice drive through history at this cemetery, which dates back to 1852. Also at Mt. Olivet is a monument for unknown Confederate soldiers, as well as an entire row of Confederate graves. Included are the original markers, and directly behind them are newer headstones. I am not here to advocate the Confederacy. Rather, like it or not, the Civil War is a significant part of our history, and we need to remember where we came from to help us keep going to where we need to be. It was quite moving.
Harry Grove Stadium is directly across from Mt. Olivet. It’s a very cute 5,000 seat stadium, and not a bad seat in the house! The Keys are the high A affiliate of the Orioles. The only thing less prominent than the use of Oriole Orange in the stadium is the abundance of Flying Dog
beer and porches. Flying Dog started in Aspen, CO and moved to Frederick in 2006. One of their more famous slogans is “Good Beer, No Shit” and I can say, after enjoying a flight before the game at the brewery, and a beer at the ballpark, I have to agree! Bringing it full circle, Flying Dog has a summer brew called Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale
. I have to say, I could smell the Old Bay even before I tasted it. A perfect combination with the crab cake sandwich, which Maryland is also famous for!
The stadium is named for Harry Grove, who was one of the founders of the Frederick Hustlers, a professional team that existed between 1915 and 1930. The Frederick Hustlers played in the Blue Ridge League, a Class D minor league, which included such powerhouses as the Martinsburg Champs (later the Blue Sox), Hagerstown Blues (later the Hubs), Hanover Hornets (later the Raiders), Gettysburg Patriots, Waynesboro Red Birds, and the Chambersburg Maroons, among others. The Hustlers won the league championship in 1915 and 1921. The league played from 1915 through 1930, although the 1919 season was suspended in 1919 due to the first world war.