A scary trip home from the ballpark in Baltimore

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BALTIMORE – I’ve lived in Baltimore for 35 years, and have seen the Orioles win the World Series, the Ravens win the Super Bowl twice. I’ve seen disasters, too, incredible snowstorms, a train accident near Camden Yards that prevented games from being played, but never rioting.

When Oriole Park opened in 1992, I rejoiced. It was about 1 ½ miles from my house. It’s a short drive, perhaps 10 minutes, and usually it’s uneventful.

Monday was anything but uneventful.

I left for the ballpark around 2:45 p.m., and it took 25 minutes to get there. There was tension in the air, and when I went to the Orioles clubhouse, players watched coverage of the riots.

I wanted to believe the game would be played as scheduled, but when word came that most of the gates were closed, I knew that postponement was a possibility.

When the game was scrubbed, I gathered my belongings to head home, knowing I could write at home.

I drove up Paca Street, and though it was still daylight, there were few people and cars. I’ll be home in record time.

When I got to Centre Street, about halfway between my house and the ballpark, dozens of police in riot gear had blocked the street, and I turned right and went up Eutaw Street. There I saw some smashed windows on businesses, and as I drove closer to my house, my heart raced.

It seemed quiet there, but a few blocks from my house, I heard a radio report that a Rite-Aid had been looted. Just then, I saw a car stopped in front of me, and two kids carrying boxes were talking with the driver.

I sped around the car, found a parking space near my house, and watched as the kids carrying those boxes walked down my street.

From 1980-87, I lived in front of that Rite-Aid, five blocks away. Then, I learned that the neighboring discount food store and the hardware store had been looted, too.

I know the people who work in that hardware store. It’s been there ever since I’ve been here.

Looting five blocks from home.

I watched coverage of the riots until it was time for bed. I’ve always been a good sleeper and somehow I slept until my wife woke me up just after seven.

Sleep is a great escape. So is baseball.

I love covering baseball games, and covering my adopted hometown team has been a wonderful experience. The only dangers there are foul balls coming into the press box.

I’d like to experience those dangers again soon. The others I hope to never see again.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.