The Morrill family of Yarmouth, Maine, took the usual assortment of souvenirs with them when they headed out of Baltimore on a nine-hour drive home Monday morning.
There were t-shirts, Buck Showalter bobbleheads, miniature baseball bats, O’s drawstring backpacks, caps - all memories of another fun weekend at Camden Yards, a trip that’s become an annual summer excursion for Melissa Morrill and her five kids.
But one unexpected package forced a little shuffling of luggage and passengers: the 42-inch LG flat-screen television 11-year-old Dom Morrill won by plucking the golden ball out of the MASN claw machine, a fan-friendly game played sporadically through the season at the MASN tent on Eutaw Street.
“I’ve won a couple of (hockey and baseball) championships,” beamed Dom. “But this is probably the biggest thing I’ve ever won.”
The Morrills made their first trip to Baltimore last summer, and liked the vibe at Camden Yards so much that they returned for the weekend interleague series against the Cincinnati Reds. So Melissa packed Sahrah, Joe, Dom, Breanna and Pam into the family’s Chevrolet Suburban and motored down to Charm City.
“Last year was our first time, and we loved it so much - the kids loved it, so we decided to come back again,” Melissa explained. “The boys go to the game, the girls go shopping.”
Luckily, Melissa was at Saturday night’s game when Dom ran excitedly to her, gushing about how he’d won and how he needed an adult pronto. In fact, that’s the only game the whole gang attended as a group.
“I thought I’d won a hat or something,” Dom said. “I was in complete shock.”
Being an Orioles fan in New England is no easy task, given the reach of Red Sox Nation.
“Very, very tough,” said 17-year-old Joe. “We get a lot (of grief) from Red Sox fans.”
Only now, the Morrills have an easy comeback.
“I can tell them I’ve never won a TV at a Red Sox game,” Joe said. “I always tell them the one thing I really like about (Camden Yards) is the fan atmosphere. It’s so much better here.”
The rest of the Morrills didn’t go home empty-handed. Breanna won a laptop skin and Joe nabbed a purple O’s cap in the claw machine. When they showed up at MASN’s warehouse office to claim their flat-screen, the whole family also got the hybrid Ravens-colored, ornithologically-correct O’s lid.
Then they headed back down to the parking lot, thinking about how they’d fit the television in to the car.
“Luckily, we have a Suburban,” smiled Melissa.
Three weeks ago, an electrical storm caused a power surge that ruined three of the family’s TVs. Now, instead of waiting for their insurance settlement, the Morrills can enjoy watching four O’s-Red Sox games beginning July 7 on the prize Dom won for them.
“It was worth the trip,” said Melissa. “We’ll be back next year, for sure.”