Snapshots from Washington, DC

For the first weekend of interleague baseball, the Orioles were scheduled in Washington D.C. for the first of their home and home series against the Nationals.

It was a coincidence of the schedule but it was wonderful to be in the nation's capital over Memorial Day weekend.

MASN combined its game crews and Jim Palmer and I got to share the booth with Nats announcers Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble. It was interesting and a lot of fun to hear the Nats' perspective from Bob and Rob while Jim and I approached the game from the Orioles side of things.

I look forward each season to the games against the Nationals, especially because of MASN's unique position as a network that covers two teams and carries two crews who then come together to share in the broadcast involving both major league teams.

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Jim and Rob were very informative, and since they pitched in the majors in different eras, we got to hear firsthand analysis coming from two different generations.

The other enjoyable part of the weekend was walking around D.C. with so many tourists in town for the holiday weekend. There were thousands of military veterans on hand for the rolling thunder motorcycle parade and many more who just wanted to get together to celebrate Memorial Day.

On Saturday, my wife Bonnie and I went to see some of the sights, and with each stop we were reminded of how special it is to be an American and live in a free society. On each side of the White House there were protest groups. We had no idea who the groups were or what they were protesting for. But that didn't matter. What matters is that they were permitted to gather and conduct a peaceful protest outside the gates where the President lives within full view of law enforcement. That's what a free nation allows.

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Near the Washington Monument we observed several kiosks set up from different veterans groups to remind tourists what Memorial Day weekend is all about and why we should pause and remember the sacrifices of all who gave their lives for our freedom.

I was particularly moved by the people who gathered at the World War II and Vietnam Memorials. There were tears from family members who lost loved ones in battle and there were hugs and conversations between vets who didn't even know each other but have the never-ending bond of fighting in a war to protect our nation.

I have always had a lot of respect for the military and for veterans. My father, Jim, spent four years in the Navy during the Korean war, and my father-in-law, Marty, fought in World War II. Both had similar stories about the time they spent in the service, and each spoke of the bond they had with their shipmates and platoon mates.

We live in a special country. We are free and we openly elect the people who represent us. And if we don't like the job they are doing, they can be replaced in the next election. I was honored to be among the many veterans over the weekend, and I honor the memory of those who lost their lives for all of us.

Memorial Day is probably our most important holiday. We mourn the loss of brave men and women who gave their lives, and at the same time celebrate their commitment to keep our nation free.

Let's never forget their sacrifice as we enjoy whatever we enjoy. Especially baseball...