Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Spring Memories, Summer Dreams

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Spring Memories, Summer Dreams

Article excerpt

SARASOTA

Sunday marked the end of spring training for the Baltimore Orioles.

But if you looked, there was still plenty to see around Ed Smith Stadium.

For the occasion, she chose a black and orange plaid skirt, an Oriole tank top and matching headband, the latter holding in place a veil her mother wore at her wedding.

And in her hands, a bird of paradise. What else?

He opted for total orange -- shorts, shirt and hat.

Travis and Michele Murphy had done this four previous times, among them, before an Alaskan shaman in the Bering Sea, at the Elvis Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, and once on a beach in Hawaii, the minister strumming a ukulele.

But the two Baltimore residents and Oriole season-ticket holders had never renewed their marriage vows at a baseball park.

Until Sunday.

Vacationing in Orlando, the Murphys drove to Ed Smith Stadium on Sunday morning, their fifth anniversary, and reaffirmed their love under a banyan tree.

The Oriole mascot, whistling excitedly, officiated the ceremony.

"I'm so happy to marry you again and again,'' Michele said to Travis, an Alaska native and ex-commercial fisherman. The two met in Nome, married and moved to Baltimore.

"I vow to you,'' Travis said, "for every ball I drop, we will pitch a perfect game, for every swing I miss, we will hit a grand slam, and for all my errors, we will have a perfect season.''

Spoken like a true Orioles fan. And husband.

Some of the kids couldn't wait to take their parade victory lap.

Others seemed as if they wanted to crawl inside the wall.

But walk around the inside of Ed Smith Stadium they did, about 280 youth baseball players from 80 teams and seven leagues.

On Youth Baseball Day, they all were represented, from Sarasota Little League to Braden River to Lakewood Ranch to Venice to Cal Ripken. Even a player from a team in Taneytown, Md., took part.

Afterward, each player received a gift bag from the Orioles containing a thunderstick, towel, plastic baseball, sunglasses and Baltimore program.

If even 30 grow up to be Oriole fans, a sound investment.

It was near game time and Val Heinrich still hadn't arrived.

Finally, with just minutes to spare, the Sarasota resident slowly made his way up the stairs in section 209 to row 12, seat 24. …

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