During the offseason, I typed out a list of the nine Major League teams that Kellan had not yet seen play a game live. On April 20, 2013, we reduced the list to eight when Tim, Kellan and I headed down to Baltimore to meet up with the Los Angeles Dodgers in our first Camden Yards game of the season.
Tim has only seen the Dodgers twice. So we really haven’t had many opportunities to see Dodger all-stars like Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, or Andre Either. I was really looking forward to seeing these guys up close during BP. But, unfortunately, I knew BP might not happen because the Orioles planned to do an on field tribute to Earl Weaver before the game. On April 19th, our BP fate was sealed. Rain washed out the Friday night game and a day-night doubleheader was scheduled for Saturday. We were going to attend the night game.
As we approached Camden Yards a bit after 4:00 p.m., fans were streaming out…
…from the first game, which was won by the Orioles.
We met up with Avi…
…Tim Andreson, and Romeo (whom we’ve seen a lot at games, but I had never known his name). Three huge lines had formed at three of the four gates closer to the warehouse side of Eutaw Street. For some reason, there were no fans at all lined up at the fourth gate on the field side of Eutaw. We were deep in line at the second gate when one of Avi’s friends (who I’ve seen a lot but have no clue what her name is) came and told us that an usher said the fourth gate was also opening with all of the rest. So, as you can see in the photo above, we jumped up to first in line at the fourth gate.
When the gates opened at 5:00 p.m., we were among the very first people to run inside. When we approached the gate above the bullpens where they let season ticket holders in early, the gate was locked. Almost no one was in the stadium. I called over to an usher and he explained that the stadium was closed until 5:30 because stadium workers were cleaning up after game 1. Indeed, there were some stadium workers in the upper deck down the 1B line. But the field level was essentially empty.
Oh, well. We stood here for the next half hour and watched one Orioles pitcher throw a bullpen session…
…and, after he was finished, we just watched the grass grow.
This was the scene behind us:
If you’re a regular at Camden Yards, you probably recognize most of the people in the forground of that photo. To the far right is “stretch lady,” the hugger wearing the hard hat with feather Mohawk is Romeo, the guy to the left of Romeo’s head is Boston Doug (I just gave him that nickname), just behind Romeo’s hugging partner in the white jacket is Tim “Homerun” Anderson (I also just gave him that nickname). The girl with the long hair front in center in that photo is Avi’s friend who told us about the fourth gate opening. I feel like I should know her name.
This was our first Orioles game since our Camden Yards friend Matt Hersl was killed in a terrible, tragic, stupid, senseless one car wreck. The driver of that car better get the book thrown at him. Matt was a big character and a staple-part of all of our Camden Yards experiences over the last several years. It was really weird that Matt wasn’t in that crowd above. Normally, in this situation, he’d be standing right at the front of the line with all of these Camden Yards regulars.
I worked up this photo…
…, which I happened to have on my phone, and showed it to the usher standing at the gate. He gave me a business card so I could send it to the O’s as my suggestion of honoring Matt. I doubt it will happen, but it would be really fitting.
Anyway, pregame was incredibly slow and uneventful. When the gates opened at 5:30, we hustled around to the Dodgers dugout where there was absolutely no action. We sat and chatted with Tim Anderson for a long time:
Look how excited T.A. is to hear about T.C.’s Kirkland Brand Nut & Seed bar!
After snacking a bit, the boys jumped back two rows and put on an air guitar concert:
Eventually, a Dodgers coach who (from a far) I initially thought was Don Mattingly came out and started chatting with someone in the front row right by the end of the netting. We ran over there to get a closer look. It wasn’t Don. But our new vantage point gave us a nice view of Dodgers starter Josh Beckett:
When a catcher headed out to the Dodgers bullpen, we figured we might as well follow along. So we watched A.J. Ellis…
…practice blocking balls in the dirt. When he finished up, he chatted with a guy in the stands who I think must have been his high school coach. He gave the guy two baseballs, and then autographed them after chatting for a few minutes. And the coach gave Ellis a jersey and hat. The jersey said “Ellis” on the back. He held it up with a smile and posed for a picture taken by some guys above/behind the bullpen. In the photo above to the left, Ellis is talking to the guys above the bullpen…possibly old high school teammates.
While Kellan and I watched all of this play out, Tim chatted up Romeo like you wouldn’t believe:
Of the time Tim spends awake and not at school, I think he is talking 97% of the time. The boy loves to chat and explain everything in great detail. I love Tim’s chattiness and energy.
Around 6:00 p.m., a ceremony started on field in memory of Earl Weaver. Weaver passed away over the offseason.
After a while, we headed over there to see what was going on. Rich Dempsey was speaking while he walked over there and, essentially, he spoke about how much he hated Weaver every day of his playing career, but later realized that he loved him.
Cal Ripken, Jr. and…
…Buck Showalter gave traditional “I-hated-him-free” talks about the great Earl of Baltimore.
I felt cheated by our lack of pregame time getting to see Dodgers. None of the big names were anywhere in sight. Eventually some guys, including Matt Kemp, came out to warm up along the LF foul line. Only about five guys game out.
I got a nice picture of Jerry Harriston running by us…
…and when the Dodgers headed in Luis Cruz tossed us his warm up ball. Actually, he had used that ball to play three-way warm-up catch with Nick Punto and Jaun Uribe.
With no action on the field, we headed off to the kids’ play area. After the kids’ heated up the radar gun…
…, I promised we could come right back after watching the first few Dodgers batters in the top of the first inning. So we headed back out to the field for the National Anthem:
And then we watched Carl Crawford lead off the game with a hit-by-pitch:
For aesthetic appeal, those Crawford pictures are out-of-order. The picture above on the fight (where Crawford is fouling the ball down the LF line) is actually the first pitch of the game.
Nick Punto was the second batter of the game and he singled to CF, sending Crawford to 3B.
He hung out in the cross aisle behind home plate until Matt Kemp batted:
Kemp hit a liner to SS that J.J. Hardy couldn’t handle in the air, but he picked up to force out Punto at 2B. Crawford stayed put at 3B. Then, as we walked back to the play area, Adrian Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to score Crawford from 3B and put the Dodgers on the board 1-0.
Unfortunately for Beckett, that was all of the run support he would get on the day.
Back at the play area, Tim and Kellan played a new game where you try to slingshot stuffed oriole birds into nests:
And they took some hacks in the cage. Here Kellan swung at a ball that the machine threw behind him:
And then they threw more pitches in the speed pitch:
Tim usually throws around 32-33 mph. The crowd always gets a kick out of Kellan when he pitches, but he can’t throw it fast enough to register on the gun. I missed getting a picture of it, but on Kellan’s last two throws, the guy running the speed pitch pushed a button that made the speed register come up at “125 mph.” The small crowd roared and applauded Kellan for his prodigious heater.
Next, we decided to grab some food. We headed out to Eutaw Street and around to the concession stand in LF. On our walk, Chris “Crush” David crushed a solo homer to tie up the game 1-1.
I can’t really place where we were at the point of each additional scoring play, so I’ll just say now that the Orioles scored 5 more runs during the game on fifth-inning doubles by Manny Machado and Adam Jones, and a sixth-inning homerun by Machado.
On our walk, we got pictures of the boys and Earl Weaver posing with their hands in their back pockets (well, Kellan used his front pockets)…
…, preparing to take their hacks with Eddie Murray…
…, and pitching with Jim Palmer:
Avi met up with us in line for food. The place was packed for this game. In fact, Avi had got us some great seats in LF and we never even sat in them because it was way too crowded down there.
We decided to eat our food (hot dogs) on top of the batters’ eye…
…, which was also craaaazy packed:
After I took some pictures, an Orioles worker came and told me that I can’t use my camera flash when on top of the batters’ eye. I asked why and she explained it bothers the batters. That’s an absolutely logical and fine policy…but (looking at that last photo) do you think the batters could see my flash during this game while buried behind 5-rows deep of standing room only fans?
For some reason (probably “because it’s fun”), Tim attacked Avi with food:
In that picture above to the left, Tim is trying to force-feed “pirates” (one of our favorite snacks) to Avi. Above to the left, Avi and Tim are hot dog wrestling.
After eating, we headed down from the batters’ eye and headed toward left field in search of ice cream – the word was that the O’s had new, two-tone ice cream helmets in 2013.
On our way, we met up with the Orioles Bird:
We decided to get ice cream in the upper deck and grab some last-row upper deck seats. I had already seen the two-tone helmets, so I knew they existed. But the upper deck only had the old, all-black helmets. So, after trekking up to the upper deck, we headed down many flights of stairs on our way back down to the field level. There, we found the two-tone helmets and he headed back up all of those stairs again.
During all of that walking, I got a group text from Alex Kopp showing off his new, fancy third out all that he’d just got from Adrian Gonzalez that this same game. I texted back that we were at the game too. Then Avi and Alex coordinated via text and we all met up at the very top of section 306:
Check out this beauty of an ice cream helmet:
And here is what the game looked like (zoomed in) from section 306:
The ice cream was good. But it made the boys freeze. Check out this multi-layered, frog-hatted ice cream eater:
Soon after Alex got that third out ball, he got a foul ball too. In the process, one of his fingers could smashed and was all bloody. So we all eventually headed to the first aid room. I wanted to get a good picture of the first aid room, but a lady was laid out on a cot. So this is the best I could do:
We spent the rest of the game either in the cross-aisle behind home plate or in the seats behind home plate. From the cross-aisle, I got a picture of the warehouse with Earl Weaver’s number “4” lit up in lights:
Here was our view from the cross-aisle:
Here (on the left) is Matt Kemp’s 8th inning ground-into-double-play…
…and A-Gon following (maybe not on that exact swing) with a harmless single to LF.
In the ninth, we took our normal Camden Yards ninth inning seats:
Trailing 6-1 in the top of the ninth, Andre Ethier…
…couldn’t help the Dodgers’ cause. He grounded out for the 25th Dodgers out of the night.
The crowd as a whole got a kick out of the horse fan sitting behind home plate:
Bonus points for anyone who can spot Avi and Boston Doug in this shot:
The game ended with a 6-1 Orioles win. On his way out of the ballpark, home plate umpire Tim McClelland gave a baseball to both Tim and Kellan.
After the game, an usher took a blurry picture of us:
And Manny Machado got shaving cream pied during his post-game interview:
It was great to be back at Camden Yards. On our way out of the seats, we got our Camden Yards bonus picture for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
The boys both fell asleep right away once we hit the road.
2013 C&S Fan Stats
7 Teams – Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers
7 Ice Cream Helmets – Phillies (jumbo), Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 2
13 Baseballs – Royals 4, Phillies 3, Rays 2, Orioles 1, Dodgers 1, Umpires 2
4 Stadiums – Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards
11 Player Pictures – Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen