The first game in Baltimore for the Orioles every year was a holiday for the late Gregg Mace. The longtime abc27 sports director built an attendance streak of 54 consecutive Orioles Opening Days dating back to his childhood growing up in the city to his passing in November of 2019.
His love of sports shined through each April as baseball season began again. And there was no team Gregg loved more than the Baltimore Orioles.
What began as a child skipping school to head to Memorial Stadium one spring afternoon turned into a four decade career covering his favorite team and countless others in Central Pennsylvania. He turned tickets in the 1960’s into credentials in the 70’s and spent his entire career bring joy to thousands of baseball fans in the midstate each April.
Relive some of the joy of the past Orioles Opening Days with Gregg ahead of the start of the 2021 home opener on Thursday at 3:05 against the Red Sox.
1992: First Opening Day for Oriole Park at Camden Yards
The opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards marked a new chapter in Orioles history. Opening Day took on new meaning April 6, 1992 when the Orioles won their first game in the new ballpark 2-0 over the Cleveland Indians. Welcoming a crowd for the first time in the park’s history, 44,568 fans packed the grandstands. Gregg Mace shared Baltimore’s excitement with the abc27 viewers.
1997: Gregg catches the unofficial first pitch on Eutaw Street
Gregg knew when to have fun, and Orioles Opening Day certainly was cause for celebration. The Orioles had Secretary of State Madeleine Albright set to throw out the first pitch in the 1997 season opener, but Gregg had other ideas. The Orioles beat the Kansas City Royals later that April 2, 1997 afternoon 6-4 in front of 46,588 fans.
2002: First Opening Day after Cal Ripken Jr. retired
For 21 seasons, Cal Ripken Jr. captured the hearts and awe of Baltimore Orioles and baseball fans alike. When the Iron Man retired in 2001, for the first time in two decades, the Orioles wouldn’t see No. 8 in the lineup. On April 1, 2002, Gregg brought us behind-the-scenes of the first Opening Day without Ripken. The Orioles throttled the Yankees 10-3 in the first game of the season in front of 48,058 fans.
2017: 25th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards
From the first Orioles Opening Day to the 25th, Gregg saw hundreds of games inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He chronicled the first quarter of a century the ballpark was open through his joyous Opening Day stories on abc27. On April 3, 2017, the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays 3-2 in front of 45,667 fans.
2019: Gregg’s Opening Day Streak hits 54 years
This was Gregg’s final Opening Day on April 4, 2019. He and his son Kyle Mace travelled down I-83 to put together this colorful story and then hurried back to Harrisburg to cover the Senators Opening Day with abc27’s Allie Berube and Damon Turbitt. On this Opening Day, the Orioles lost 8-4 to the Yankees.
The Orioles 2021 home opener is Thursday, April 8. First pitch against the Red Sox is at 3:05.