Wow – its been two weeks since our last MLB game, and it feels like its been forever. But we finally made it back out to the ball field on June 28th.
I am dedicating this entry to my wonderful pooch, Kirby, who, due to a family vacation and this game that coincided with our return drive north, unfortunately had to spend his 12th birthday with his buddies at the Pet Spa & Resort.
Due to the fact we were returning from a family vacation, you’ll also notice below that Tim and I were accompanied by our lovely mother and wife, respectively, Colleen. This was only our second game with Colleen this season — usually our games double as a way to give Colleen and “off-day” on the weekend — and her first at Camden Yards since J.J. Putz blew Felix Hernandez’s 8-inning shutout gem during the M’s first road trip of the 2008 season.
We usually drive South to Camden Yards and park in a parking garage downtown. This day, we drove north to the game, and parked in one of the stadium lots off of I-395. So our walk from the car to the field looked different — but from any angle, its always nice to gaze upon Camden Yards:
After reading the Happy Youngster’s entry for the June 10th Mariners game at Camden Yards, I realized that I have never taken Tim to the home plate entrance at Camden Yards. So, we remedied that today:
In this picture we are standing in “Schaefer Circle.”
See those plaques on either side of the canopy-covered entrance? Here they are up close and personal:
(click to enlarge)
I’m guessing that it is not a coincidence that this plaque listing, among other individuals, Governing William Donald Schaefer is hanging about 30 yards away from “Schaefer Circle.”
On the drive up to Baltimore — or maybe it was leaving Baltimore, I’m not sure — Colleen mentioned that she took 700+ pictures during our vacation (we like taking pictures!), but that we didn’t get a single family picture. Well, 3 minutes after entering the stadium, we got our first:
Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
Two minutes later, we were in the kids’ play area and Tim was having fun:
Soon, the game started and we grabbed some chicken strips and fries, and some seats down the RF line. Here was our view for about 4 minutes:
We only sat here for about 4 minutes because it was too sunny for Tim. He looked to the left and saw some shady seats that are under the second level overhang. He suggested: “Let’s go sit in the deep, dark shade.” We obliged, and this is what it looked like:
Once we got over there and finished our chicken and fries, we grabbed some non-helmeted ice cream. Here are a couple shots of our seats in the deep, dark shade:
Regarding the picture to the far left, I wanted to point out the large padding on the second level support beam above the back row. To use a Tim’ism, I’m guessing there were a few heads *bonked* on that beam in the early days that led to the installation of that padding.
While we were sitting here, the Orioles’ Bird came to visit a young fan who was celebrating his birthday at the game. Tim got a quick picture with the Bird:
But soon, as it always does, the flag pavillion a/k/a Eli Jacobs Plaza started calling Tim’s name:
Who is Eli Jacobs, you ask? Well, according to the plaque above, he was the Chairman of the Orioles in 1992 when Camden Yards was built. Ah, always great to name stuff after yourself! I think I’ll continue to refer to it as the “flag pavillion.”
[SIDE NOTE: I just wrote a big section that was magically deleted. Yea technology!]
Before arriving at the flag pavillion, I took this picture of Nick Markakis.
Why Markakis? He was near by. I don’t care about the Nationals or the Orioles, but I figured I needed a picture of someone playing baseball to properly demonstrate that there was some major league baseball taking place at the ball park.
After snapping that shot, we headed over to the flags. As you can see from the following picture, although Tim is a shoulder rider with me, he is a hand holder with mommy:
Check out that shoulder-top ice water service. That kid has got it made!
Once we arrived in the flag pavillion, it was time for some fake pitching, batting and base running. Interestingly, Tim pulled a total role reversal at this game — he was the pitcher and fielder a lot. He is usually almost exclusively the fake batter:
In between our fake baseball games, we checked out the real baseball game on the field:
Moments after these pictures, the batter hit a solid line drive up the middle. Adam Jones fielded it and made a beautiful throw on the money to O’s top prospect Matt Weiters. The runner shown here standing on second base should have been thrown out by 20 feet. Instead, Weiters missed the ball and the runner was safe. You can watch the play by clicking here.
Weiters would later cost the O’s another run when he threw the ball into LF trying to gun a base stealer out at third.
But you know what? I’m getting ahead of myself. My pictures are out of order. Let’s go back to the fourth inning. At the time, we were standing in about the same spot as shown in the last pictures and the O’s were leading 1-0.
Up to the plate stepped big Adam Dunn — YAHTZEEEEEEE!!!!! He flat out demolished a David Henandez pitch for a two run bomb.
You can watch the highlight by clicking here.
If you watch quickly (and know what to look for), you can see me scurry across the bottom of the screen chasing Dunn’s homerun. Here are some screen shots with arrows pointing me out:
(As always, click to enlarge the photo).
And here are some pictures to illustrate where Dunn’s homerun went:
In the top right, the picture shows a reenactment of my view as Dunn made contact. This was the definition of a “no doubter.” Colleen was playing with Tim out of the way toward the RF foul pole and with the crack of the bat, I turned and sprinted toward the red “X” in the top right picture.
The arrow connecting the top left picture to the bottom picture are designed to give perspective. The arrows are pointing toward opposite sides of the same orange flag hanging on a lamp post at the CF side of Boog’s BBQ.
After running to the X, I saw the ball land in the middle of Eutaw Street and start bouncing around. The people out there had no clue what was going on. And they seemingly all had lubricant on their hands. About 18 fans touched the ball before a 25’ish year old guy eating at a picnic table at the base of the warehouse wall scooped it up.
When the ball started bouncing around, I headed down the narrow pathway to the left of the red X (behind sections 98 and 96) and out of the open gate shown in the bottom picture. But I was too late.
The red arrow in the top left picture (featuring Colleen and Tim in the foreground) is pointing to the picnic table where the guy grabbed the ball. The bottom picture is taken standing in front of the picnic table. When I took the bottom picture, the guy was finishing his meal and re-telling the story of Dunn’s home run with his buddies — one of whom claimed credit for an *assist* because he batted the ball toward his buddy. In reality, he simply missed it like 17 others.
For sake of clarity, the ball didn’t land at the picnic table. That is just where it ended up. It actually landed in the middle of Eutaw Street roughly at the mid-way point of Boog’s BBQ (or at least that is how I remember it). I’m interested to see next year where they place the homerun ball plaque.
Speaking of homerun plaques, check out what we found out by Dunn’s HR’s landing spot:
The evidence of a monster Griffey blast from 1994. (click to enlarge).
In the top of the seventh inning, we headed back to the bouncy house for one more bouncing session. Meanwhile, Wee Willie Harris hit a homerun into the flag pavillion — ah shucks (but Tim was having fun).
After bouncing, we talked to an attendant and found out where the line would start for Kids Run the Bases after the game. This was the sole reason we attended this game. I was really excited for Tim to run the bases at our baseball home away from Safeco Field.
At the point, it was the top of the 8th inning and about 30 people were already in line. Colleen wanted to get in line so we would be at the front of the line. But I figured we had time to watch a bit more of the game.
So we headed to the seats right behind home plate and below the press box:
Between pitches, Tim was having fun trying to reach into the press box.
Here was our view:
And here is family picture number 2 of the day (and number 2 of the vacation):
I ended up talking Colleen into letting us stay until the game ended before getting in line for Kids Run the Bases. See the red arrow? It is pointing to a couple handicap accessible seats in the back row (actually in the cross aisle) where we sat for the ninth inning.
The Plan: try to get the home plate umpire (Joyce) to give Tim a ball following the end of the game.
This was a feat I’d never even contemplated before reading about it on Zack Hample’s blog. We’d come close once before at Camden Yards earlier in the season. But we’d never succeeded.
The red arrow above points directly to the seat where I camped out. Tim was standing next to me and Colleen was sitting in the next chair over. When the Nats got two outs in the bottom of the 9th, I gave Colleen my glove and had Tim stand right in front of me. I was hoping for a high pop up or a grounder so I would know the game was over before the umps could start walking off the field. I got my wish. Some O’s batter hit a weak, slow rolling broken bat grounder to short stop. As everyone else sat there and watched, Tim jumped up onto my shoulders and we were 20 rows down into the stands before the short stop let the ball fly to first base. We slid into the second row on the side of the umps exit tunnel (that brick opening in the two previous pictures shown right behind home plate). Another father and son combo were in the first row right next to us. Joyce walked into the tunnel and grabbed a ball from his ball holder bag: “Here you go little guy” — and he handed it to the boy next to us.
Back into the bag goes Joyce’s right hand. Out comes a beautifully rubbed up game ball. And Joyce reaches up to Tim above my head — “Here you go.”
Thanks, Zack! We’re giving you an official assist in the score book for introducing us to the idea of post-game umpire hand-ups.
But wait, the best was yet to come — IT WAS TIME FOR KIDS RUN THE BASES!
We exited the stadium through Gate D and found our place in line. Colleen dealt admirably with the fact that we were about 10 times further back in line now than we would have been had we jumped into the line in the 8th inning.
The line worked out great because there is a patch of grass along the 3B side of the stadium:
And wouldn’t you know it, as the line started moving forward, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and his wife exited the stadium and cut throught he line directly between me and the person in front of me. After I said, “Hi, Peter” and snapped his picture, Colleen accused me of being the papparazi. FYI, “Peter” (maybe I should have gone with Mr. Angelos) didn’t respond. Another interesting Angelos tidbit, P.A. opened the door for his wife as their driver watched. Then he swung around to the driver’s side and had his driver open the door for him.
As the line snaked in to the stadium through the 1B side, I took some concourse pictures:
Its a nice, wide concourse. The only problem is that it is totally closed off from the game. I think that Camden Yards was the first of the really nice new stadiums and the collective of stadium architects who work on these jobs didn’t figure out how nice the open-to-the-field concourses are until after Camden Yards was built. Still, it is a great stadium.
This is the third Kids Run the Bases Tim has done this season — Citi Field, Nationals Park and Camden Yards. Interestingly, the Nats have been involved in all three games. Tim also ran the bases last season at The Jake in Cleveland. At every other stadium, we have entered the stadium through a bullpen in RF, and Tim and I have gotten our picture taken standing next to the distance marker on the outfield wall in the RF corner.
I had serious doubts that would happen at this game because Eutaw Street is built into the stadium and is 20-or-so feet above the playing surface in RF. Unfortunately, I was correct. So we weren’t able to get our usual footage picture.
But we got some great running the base pictures — like these pictures Colleen got between 2B and 3B and I have stitched together to make a big Tim in motion shot:
(click to enlarge)
And these pictures that I took of Tim touhing and/or approaching 1B, 3B and home (my 2B picture wasn’t zoomed and is essentially worthless):
Somehow both Colleen and I managed to miss it with our cameras, but Tim slid into home plate! It caught the field attendants off guard. A bunch of them ran over to help him get up. They thought he’d fallen. But, nope, it was a slide. He’d told me before hand he was going to do it.
After meeting up with Tim again, we got Family Picture No. 3 on the day (and a nice field attendant is smiling with us):
As we headed off the field, I took some shots for an on-field panaramic view…
(visitors dugout above (3B) and Orioles below (1B))
…and some random shots:
Top left, visitors’ interleague on-deck batters’ circle.
Bottom left, artificial warning track with hidden drains circling the field.
Top right, a chart I spied under the Nats’ bench that read “Nationals vs. Orioles Pitchers.” It has all of the regular Nats batters along the vertical axis and each of the O’s pitchers along the horizontal axis. When you connect the columns and rows, it tells you how each hitter has done against a particular O’s pitcher. For example, Adam Dunn is 1-3 with a HR against Brad Bergesen. I asked someone in the dugout if I could have it. But he said he isn’t allowed to touch anything in the dugout. I told him it was garbage. He didn’t care.
Bottom right, this was actually taken after we left the stadium. Tim and I are standing in front of a sign that is on the RF end of the warehouse.
Before leaving, Colleen took one more picture of us — our first ever (I think) at the 1B dugout:
And finally, we hit the road on the final leg of our return from vacation journey. As we headed to Rt-83, we said our good-byes to Camden Yards — we may not be back to this fine baseball facility until next season:
Next up for us:
July 2 – Mariners in the Bronx
July 3 – Mariners in Boston
July 4 – Mariners in Boston
July 5 – Mariners in Boston
Season Fan Stats:
14 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
5 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field and Nationals Park)
12 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves and Padres, Dodgers — and sort of the Giants)
10 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (4), Phillies (3), Mets and Nationals (2))
9 Baseballs (5 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Umpire)
3 Divisions Closed Out (So far in Tim’s Life — AL West, NL East, AL West)
1 Player Autograph (Ryan Perry)
1 Player Photograph (Ryan Perry)
7,953 Miles driven/flown to games (season)
5 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose (2), Orioles Bird (2), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats))