By Rafael Alvarez (The Baltimore Sun, 10/6/1991)
Today is your last opportunity to be arrested at a major league ballpark on 33rd Street.
And if it is your desire to take a little piece of Memorial Stadium with you as a keepsake of the Baltimore Orioles’ last home game ever in Waverly, there will be 150 police officers — three times the normal detail — on hand to lock you up for theft.
The police expect a wisenheimer or two to try and get away with a chair or a brick or a slice of turf, and if they catch one, that person will experience the last big-league go-’round for an old, black prison cage known as “Farace’s Condo.”
That’s Farace, as in Lt. Phil Farace of the Baltimore Police Department, the happy-faced man known around the ballpark as “Uncle Phil” and top officer at Memorial Stadium since 1975.
“In my 16 years here I’ve learned how to get along with people in large groups,” Lieutenant Farace said. “I’ve learned how to deal with anything, from the man in the bleachers to the queen of England.”
When the Orioles move to their new home in Orioles Park at Camden Yards for the 1992 baseball season, the police will move along with them, to new offices and a new detention area inside the stadium. Lieutenant Farace was asked for suggestions to make the new detention area better than the old one.
Now under construction at Camden Yards, just behind the main ticket windows facing southbound Russell Street are a pair of narrow rooms measuring 6 feet by 6 feet 8 inches and equipped with metal security doors.
This is where the police will hold the drunks who make trouble, the ticket-scalpers, the pickpockets, brawlers and bad guys who find themselves under arrest at the new ballpark.
Unlike most of the other offices at the new stadium, the walls of the twin holding cells will not be made of plasterboard; they are cinder block. “We don’t want someone kicking their way out,” said Stewart Ervie, an on-site architect at Camden Yards.
Lieutenant Farace, 63, said he will spend one more baseball season on the force, breaking in the new lock-up for a successor, before retiring.
“When I was promoted to lieutenant, the [police] commissioner gave me this job. I didn’t ask for it,” he said. “I didn’t even know it existed.”
Since then, Lieutenant Farace has met two presidents and Queen Elizabeth II, made close friends with some of the all-time heroes of America’s national pastime — from Earl Weaver to Reggie Jackson to Brooks Robinson — and participated in scores of arrests.
Continue reading “Not all the slammers at Memorial ended in runs” at The Baltimore Sun.