By Jason Butt
Born and raised in Baltimore, Pat Liberto grew up a huge fan of the Orioles. Through the years, he has made plenty of connections within the Orioles organization, so that if he and his friends needed tickets, they could purchase them.
One day last year, he went to a Bowie Baysox (Baltimore's Double-A minor league affiliate) game with two friends, one who sells tickets for the Orioles and another who is a member of the organization's volunteer ticket sales initiative, the Designated Hitters. The friends used their team badges to get into the game, which prompted a light bulb to flicker on inside Liberto's head.
Why wasn't he a Designated Hitter? Why wasn't he helping the Orioles sell tickets on a volunteer basis?
Liberto, owner of the restaurant-bar Camden Pub, hopped on board late last season and won the Designated Hitters' rookie of the year award.
"I actually hit the ground running," Liberto said. "(Camden Pub) has been here for 22 years. I have a lot of contacts already. I just wasn't getting the perks from the Orioles."
For the 2012 season, Liberto is off to a good start in the program, winning prizes from the Orioles organization based on the number of tickets he's able to sell.
"This year, we're rolling, man," Liberto said. "I've won a trip to go up to New York [June 18]. I was able to obtain a badge, earn enough credit points. We've put together some different packages with the pub and the Orioles."
Liberto began an initiative with Camden Pub this year, called the Pub Before The Yard, designed to bring fans into his establishment, located two blocks away from Oriole Park, before the first pitch. It's a package of an Orioles bleacher-seat ticket, two appetizers (such as wings and meatballs), beer and soda for $30. Liberto broke it down as an $18 ticket and a $12 special on the food and drink. The deal begins two hours before game time and ends when the game begins.
The Designated Hitters program began during the fall of 1979 as a volunteer sales force to help ensure that baseball would stay in Baltimore. When there was a chance the team might move, devout fans took it upon themselves to sell tickets on a volunteer basis.
The Designated Hitters program currently has between 50 and 60 people volunteering their time to help sell tickets.
Liberto's father founded Camden Pub in 1990, and it has become a popular stop on game days since the first day Camden Yards opened. At the age of 24, Liberto helped his father run the restaurant and later took over the reins, learning everything he needed to know about the industry on the fly. He said being tied in with the Orioles this year had benefited his business tremendously.
"Having the Orioles on board and being affiliated with the Orioles has opened up a lot of doors this year," Liberto said.
More Front Row:
• First SquashWise Rally Brings In Big Bucks
• Soccer Champs Slate 30-Year Anniversary
• Ex-Terp Ace Francis Honors His Hometown
• Liberto Slugs Homers For Designated Hitters
• Swing For The Fences, But Don't Forget Heels
• Keeping Pools Clean Is Not An Easy Task
Issue 174: June 2012