We usually go to 5-6 games each season at Camden Yards. It is usually the one stadium we visit the most during the course of any season. Yet, in 2012, we somehow made it to the last weekend of July before going back for only our second game of the season at Camden Yards. It took several plans to fall through for this to happen. But on July 28, 2012, we finally made it back!
Just like our first Camden Yards game of 2012, this game featured a showdown between the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles. It also featured the possibility of reaching two personal milestones. We have had 49 Camden Yards baseballs on our resume for the last several months. Our next baseball at Camden Yards would be our 50th! And, if we could manage to get two baseballs, our second would be our 300 baseball since Tim’s first game! We had hit the 100 mark on 9/12/10 at Nationals Park and the 200 mark on 9/12/11 at Camden Yards. So if we did it, it would be the first time we’d hit a hundred mark on a date other than September 12th!
So let’s get to the action. Tim collects pictures with fire hydrants and he’d never got one at Camden Yards. On our way to the CF gate, we found two fire hydrants about 20 feet apart…
…just across from the ballpark. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen two fire hydrants so close together before. It is Tim’s first 2-hydrant picture!
Before the gates opened, we met up with Avi, homerun catching machine Tim Anderson, and A’s superfan Rick Gold. After chatting a few minutes, the gates opened and we all made out way to LF. While the rest of the guys stayed in LF, Tim, Kellan and I swung around to the shady seats in foul territory.
I’ve never really noticed it before (and somehow didn’t get a picture of it), but the front row by the LF foul pole is perfect if you want to watch BP with a little kid. The last seat at the end of the front row is pivoted toward home plate and rests up against the brick wall. The result is that there are 5-6 seats in the front row that open from the aisle and then dead-end into the last seat so we were able to trap Kellan in there He could walk back and forth between a couple seats, but Tim blocked the way to the aisle and the end seat blocked the other way. It was, indeed, perfect.
When we arrived down the LF line, the O’s were hitting and a single Athletic was pitching to a catcher along the LF foul line. There were almost no fans in foul territory other than 4-5 people standing behind the A’s catcher.
When the A’s pitcher wrapped up, he tossed his baseball to one of the people standing behind the catcher. Then he grabbed another ball and threw it to another one of the people standing behind the catcher. Then he walked over there, I assume to sign autographs.
Meanwhile, former-Mariner Chris Tillman sauntered over to grab a ball hit down the line. Avi swooped in to advice, “That’s Chris Tillman!” Thanks to Avi’s advice, we were able properly to ask Tillman for…
…our life-time (Tim’s lifetime, not mine) baseball at Camden Yards!
Tillman tossed the ball to Tim, but threw it a bit too high. So it went over his head and Tim had to grab it on the bounce/roll.
Kellan was all set to make a play of his own:
With one milestone in the books, we turned our sights toward our 300th lifetime (again, Tim’s lifetime, not mine) baseball. It didn’t take too long. An Orioles batter laced a liner down the line. It took one hop on the bouncy warning track, I reached high over Tim’s head and gloved the ball easily:
In that last picture, can you see the fan sitting closest to us behind my glove. He’s wearing shorts, a grey shirt and a green hat. See him? At one point, he wandered over and started chatting with me. He came over seemingly to verify that we were really Mariners fans and ask why a family of Mariners fans was at an Orioles/Athletics game.
Figuring he was a lifelong A’s fan, I mentioned something about the Oakland Coliseum, and he surprised me by mentioning that he had “not been there yet.” Turns out he wasn’t a lifelong A’s fan. He was a lifelong Yankees fan, “but my son Evan pitches for the A’s.”
I was like, “What!? Whose your son?”
Then he pointed over to that group fans that had been standing behind the A’s catcher. And there was a Major Leaguer sitting in the front row chatting with his family! Actually, if you look in most of the pictures above, you will find A’s pitcher Evan Scribner sitting in the seats.
I asked Evan’s dad if Tim could get his picture with Evan because “he’s never had his picture with a Major Leaguer in the stands!” Mr. Scribner was all, “Oh, sure! No problem.” We walked over and Mr. Scribner made some introductions and then Tim cozied up with Evan for this outstanding picture:
That’s Evan’s brother sitting next to him in the red hat. I believe they said he’s pitching in high school still…although, maybe they said college. But the best part of it in my opinion (well, aside from the simple fact that it is a picture with a Major Leaguer sitting where the fans are supposed to sit) is the big smile beaming from Evan’s grandma’s face. She looks so thrilled to see some random kid wanting to get his picture with her grandson. Pretty awesome, in my book.
I mentioned to Evan that I was sorry to intrude but we really wanted a picture with a player sitting in the stands. He explained that the on-field usher yelled at him for sitting on the short brick wall and told him he had to sit in the stands if he wanted to sit down. That’s pretty hilarious. Evan possibly met up with the strictest usher at Camden Yards, where people are generally allowed to sitting anywhere they want to sit.
Whenever we’re at Camden Yards during BP, Tim eventually notices that Avi is in the outfield and decides that he wants to go out there too. I like to stay in foul territory as much as possible where it is less likely that one of the boys will get beaned by a BP hit. But we decided to move just a section or two around the foul pole into fair territory to hang out with Avi.
Turns out it was a good decision. Someone hit a baseball down the line that rolled to a stop below us. Avi let us know that the guy coming to retrieve the baseball was Zach Britton, and Avi’s advice turned into this:
Britton flipped the ball up to Tim and he made a great snow cone catch. The picture on the right is Tim’s actual reaction as he is turning around to show me that he snow coned it. The picture above to the left shows Britton walking back to his group of BP mates as Tim reenacts his catch.
The way Tim caught the baseball, Avi and I could both see the Camden Yards commemorative logo hanging out of the top of Tim’s glove. It was a really clean and nice commemorative baseball.
Then we quickly had an excuse to head back to foul territory: Yoenis Cespedes was signing autographs along the foul line.
We scurried over there with a baseball and pen in Tim’s hands ready for a signature, but it wasn’t in the cards. Tim was trailing right behind Yoenis as he made his way toward home plate. It’s a bad place to be and it resulted in no Cespedes signature. But, I did get a cool Cespedes-based picture:
After Cespedes stopped signing he grabbed his glove (while I was still in the process of taking close-ups of it) and ran out to LF to work on his fielding. We headed back to our little dead-end front row…
…and watched Cespedes make a circus catch behind his back:
Cespedes had stopped signing autographers essentially at the same time that the teams switched spots on the field. Now the A’s were taking BP. All the A’s were running around doing there BP-thing, except for Evan Scribner. Scribner literally spent the entire O’s and entire A’s BP chatting with his family. Except there was one difference, during O’s BP the O’s relievers were shagging the balls hit down into the LF corner. During A’s BP, the A’s didn’t put anyone in LF. So Scribner jumped out of the crowd and ran over and shagged every single baseball that was hit down the LF line, and he tossed EVERY SINGLE BASEBALL into the crowd. It was pretty amazing.
Here is one of those baseballs…
…and Scribner signing it about 5 minutes after tossing it to Tim.
Sribner tossed this baseball to Tim from probably 30-40 feet away and Tim made a great lunging catch on it. A few minutes later, Scribner ran into the LF corner to retrieve a baseball that hit the foul pole and came to a rest just below it on the LF grass. After he tossed that baseball into the OF seats, he walked back to his family. On his way by, I asked him if he would sign the baseball that he tossed to Tim. He agreed and then a hilarious little conversation occurred wherein Tim enthusiastically told Scribner that he had caught the baseball he was getting signed, and Scribner replied, “I know! I saw it!” and I added in, “He threw it to you, Tim!” And Tim was like, “oh.” Maybe you had to be there, but it was pretty funny.
Soon, we decided to move back 15-20 rows and away from the field so Tim we could take some pictures of the ballpark (and the local birds):
While we were hanging out there, a guy named Mike stopped by and said he recognized us from our blog. It’s always cool to meet someone how has enjoyed reading about our baseball adventures.
I asked Tim to try to take a nice picture of me and Kellan and this was the (very frustrating to Tim) result:
He was all set to click his shutter when someone launched a deep homerun over us. I reacted by flinching and following the flight of the ball, and Kellan did whatever that is he is doing there. The whole thing was very dissatisfying to Tim, the aspiring photographer.
When BP wrapped up, we did some wandering. We wandered over to the picnic area behind the bullpens and checked out the new statues:
Then we watched some warm-up action in the bullpens:
And Orioles coach Bill Conrad came over and tossed a ball to me for Kellan:
Kellan was on my shoulders at the time. After I caught it, I put him on the ground and handed him the ball. He walked over to bullpen fence while Conrad did the same. As you can see above, Kellan was holding the baseball in his left hand. Conrad asked if he’s left handed. When I said, “no.” Conrad told me that I ought to teach him to be left handed.
Next, we decided to head to the play area. But on our way, we took a detour up to the new bar area above the batters’ eye. We’d never checked it out up there yet. It is pretty cool:
As you can see in the bottom right picture above, there are two rows of stool seating at the front of the batters’ eye bar. I took this panorama from the SRO area directly behind the second row:
After we headed down the stairs from the batters’ eye bar, we ducked into the CF seats to watch the first pitch:
And then we walked through the revamped flag court on our way to the play area:
I wanted to get a good action shot from the flag court, but the best I could do was this pitch out to Seth Smith while Jemile Weeks did not try to swipe 2B:
And, finally, much to Tim’s relief, we made it to the kids’ play area. First up, a picture with the very cool looking Orioles pig:
Tim took a few hacks in one of the cages:
Kellan inspected one of the big Oriole bobbleheads while Tim argued with the bird like he was an umpire:
And then it was time to do some bouncing…
…and playing on the way-too-tall-and-dangerous play fort before heading off to get some ice cream.
A nice usher let us sit in some great handicap accessible seats right behind home plate while the boys ate their ice cream:
This was the view as Bartolo Colon set down the Orioles in order in the bottom of the second inning:
After the boys polished off their ice cream, we headed out to LF for a while. This was our view as we looked at the field:
And this was our view when we looked away from the field:
Of course, those fellas are Baltimore’s own Avi Miller and Tim Anderson. Tim told me on the drive down to Baltimore that he was going to take a self-portrait of himself and Avi. Mission accomplished.
The A’s started the scoring for the night in the top of the fourth inning on a 2-run blast by Yoenis Cespedes…
…who was stationed just to our right during the bottom half of the innings we spent out in LF.
By Tim’s request, we pulled the “old switcheroo” – desert first followed by a late dinner. Ice cream was a success. Now it was time for dinner. We decided on pizza. Avi gave us directions to the closest pizza stand. Once we grabbed our slices, we headed to the back row of the upper deck to eat:
This was our view from up there:
I got a great picture of Cespedes hitting a ball and breaking his bat:
At the time, the score was 3-0 A’s. The very next batter was Chris Carter, and he blasted a homerun to LF. We could clearly see Avi and Tim Anderson from up top, and I could tell that Tim gave chase to the homerun and ended up lunging over some seats to make an attempt at it. I couldn’t tell if he had gotten the ball or not. He didn’t.
Carter’s homerun made the score 5-0 A’s.
Before leaving the upper deck, I took some funny self-portraits of the three of us:
While we were up in the upper deck (and the A’s led 3-0), Chris Carter blasted a homerun to LF. We could clearly see Avi and Tim Anderson from up top, and I could tell that Tim gave chase to the homerun and ended up lunging over some seats to make an attempt at it. I couldn’t tell if he had gotten the ball or not. He didn’t.
Carter’s homerun made the score 5-0 A’s.
We decided to head back to the play area before it closed down in the 7th inning. I noticed something cool on the way down the stairs in the RF foul corner:
When we got back to the play area, the boys did a little bit more bouncing in the moon bounce and got a picture with another Orioles bobblehead:
Then we headed back behind home plate and ran into the Oriole Bird:
I tried to get Kellan to pose with the Bird too, but he was too scared of the big smiley Bird.
We were going to hang out in the cross aisle behind home plate for a while. But an usher didn’t want us standing there, so she made us sit down in the fancy seats behind home plate.
Okay, I guess so, if you say we must!
The boys had lots of fun clowning around in the seats:
We repositioned again in the 9th inning. And look who was pitching for the A’s:
It was Evan Scribner.
He pitched well, except for giving up a homerun to Nick Markakis:
The A’s ended up winning the game 6-1.
At the end of the game, we got in perfect position for an umpire baseball attempt. But the ump turn the other way and gave out all of his baseballs to kids on the other side of the tunnel before heading out of the field area.
We decided to head over to the Orioles dugout and one of the Orioles relievers ended up tossing an commemorative baseball to us. Don’t know who it was, but
Once all of the action on the field was finished, an usher took a picture of me and the boys before we headed out of the ballpark:
It’s always great to spend an afternoon and evening at Camden Yards. Luckily, we’d be back soon. The very next week our Mariners would be stopped through Camden Yards for three games, and we planned to attend one of them.
2012 C&S Fan Stats
|16/14 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|18/17 Teams – Tim – Mariners, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Marlins, Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves; Kellan – Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Twins, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Braves|
|24 Ice Cream Helmet(s) – Phillies 2, Orioles 3, Mets 2, Twins 2, Cardinals 3, Royals 2, Rockies 3, Red Sox 2, Pirates 3, Nationals 2|
|1 Ice Cream Glove! – Nationals|
|87 Baseballs – Mariners 9, Marlins 4, Mets 8, Nationals 4, Phillies 5, Umpires 6, Orioles 11, Athletics 2, Diamondbacks 4, Blue Jays 1, Twins 1, Cubs 7, Cardinals 1, Royals 6, Red Sox 6, Rays 6, Pirates 3, Rockies 2, Braves 1|
|14 Commemorative Baseball(s) – Marlins Park, Mets 50th Anniversary 2, Camden Yards 6, Dodger Stadium 4, Fenway Park 1|
|10/9 Stadiums – Tim – Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park; Kellan – Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Citi Field, Target Field, Busch Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field, Fenway Park, PNC Park5/1 Mascots Photos – Tim – Sluggerrr, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Oriole Bird; Kellan – Fredbird|
|4/1 Player Photos – Tim – Ricky Bones, Willie Bloomquist, Jeremy Guthrie, Evan Scribner; Kellan – Willie Bloomquist|
|2 Batting Gloves – Ronnie Deck|
|6 Autographs – Willie Bloomquist 2, Tim Byrdak, Brian Roberts, Munenori Kawasaki, Evan Scribner|
The day before Tim’s 4th MLB Anniversary game, my buddy Greg accompanied me on a trip to the car dealer to get some equipment installed on my wife’s car. Greg (and his former-lady friend) had accompanied me and Tim to a Blue Jays home game in Philadelphia back in June. While waiting on the car, I asked Greg if he would be interested in going to Camden Yards with us the following weekend. He was.
Some people arrive two hours before a baseball game, chase balls during BP, and explore the stadium before and during the game. That’s me and Tim.
On the other hand, some people show up five minutes before first pitch, report to their assigned seats, and stay put thoroughout the game other than trips to the concourse for food/drinks/bathroom visits. Heck, they may even leave early to “beat traffic.” That’s Greg.
But on September 18, 2010, Greg proclaimed that he wanted the full Cook & Son ballgame experience. So Tim and I called the shots at this game. Let’s see how it turned out.
The only bad part of the night was that Baltimore was invaded by hordes of Bronx-based baseball fans. The line to get into the stadium…
With the help of Mr. Avi Miller, we had “season tickets” allowing us to access the main stadium while the riff-raff were confined to Eutaw Street and RF-CF. With the help of some other Camden Yards regulars, we managed to get into the stadium ahead of 98% of the hundreds of people pictured above.
Thanks, OPACY regulars! (Its good to know people).
Five minutes after the gates opened, we were in LF and…
…Chris Tillman (the player above on the right*) tossed a baseball to Tim. After we got the ball, Greg asked if he could hold it. It was the first time he’d EVER touched an actual Major League baseball.
I wanted Greg to catch a BP homerun. Unfortunately, the O’s stopped hitting early and the Bronx horde (much like the evil Jun Horde of Beastmaster fame) made an early entrance:
We decided to head up to the upper deck to see some sights.
When we reached the top of the winding ramps, Tim popped a squat in the concourse…
Next, we headed over to LCF and watched the action out on Eutaw Street…
…the team from the Bronx was peppering the back wall of the batters eye with homeruns. I think there were about 8 balls hit in there. Also, notice all of the strips of grass transplanted for use in the outfield.
In centerfield, we spotted Mariano Rivera…
After spitting lots of sunflower seeds out of the upper deck, we headed around the upper deck concourse toward right field:
On our way out of the play area, we noticed this sign showing the evolution of the Orioles’ logo:
Eutaw Street was insanely packed:
We ended up getting the same table in the Camden Club where we sat with my mom back in July. This time, I realized I could open the window a tiny bit. So I stuck my arm out and took these shots looking down on crowded Eutaw Street:
We arrived at the Camden Club pretty late in the pre-game festivities. When we ordered, our waitress told us that our food wouldn’t arrive before the game started. That was fine with us. We ended up watching the first 2-3 innings from our table in the Camden Club. It was quite pleasant up there.
Derek Jeter led off for the visitors and Jeremy Guthrie “welcomed” him to Baltimore with a first pitch to the back/elbow…
…to see the video clip, click here.
Eventually, our food came, and it was delicious:
For the record, we were rooting for the O’s. My forever first and favorite team is the Mariners. My second favorite team is whoever is playing the team from the Bronx.
After the sun dipped behind the stadium, I was able to get a halfway decent panorama:
We headed down to the field around the third inning. On our way, I talked the elevator operator into letting us get out on the second floor (while she continued on with other elevator passengers) so Tim could get a good look at the Camden Yards model…
When we got to the field level, it was time for something special…
Even with the packed house, we were able to find some nice unoccupied handicapped accessible seats in the cross aisle behind section 16. This was our view:
…and he was gunning for his twentieth win of the season. And when he did in fact win it later this evening, it was the first time a pitcher in either league had won 20 games since 2008 and the first time Sabbathia had won 20 in a season in his career.
On a side note: In 2008 there were several pitchers who won 20 games (Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb, Roy Halladay, and Mike “20 & Retire” Mussina), and Tim, my parents and I witnessed Brandon Webb record his 20th win of the season at Tim’s second MLB Anniversary game in Arizona. It was also the first time Webb had ever won 20 in a season.
Things were going the visitors’ way all night.
The O’s couldn’t get them out…
In addition to Sabbathia’s milestone 20th win, we’d also witness Robinson Cano hit a lesser milestone with a 2-run homerun in the 5th inning. When A-Rod touched the plate on Cano’s homerun, it marked the first time in Cano’s career that he had reached the 100-RBI mark.
We had plenty of fun, nonetheless.
In that picture above to the right, Tim looks pretty serious. Possibly because we were on a mission to finish off our final two pictures needed to complete the MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt.
Earlier in the game, we found a mulleted beer vendor and were able to check off the highest point value picture in the scavenger hunt. Only one picture remained. Above, Tim is wearing my glove as a hat and there is a long rope’ish looking thing coming off of my glove. We needed to find an usher to pretend to cut the string. And we had a tip from the aforementioned OPACY-crew regular, Avi Miller.
After watching A-Rod very satisfyingly ground out weakly to 3B…
On our walk toward LF, Tim looked up and spotted the Bird sitting in the press box window…
We decided to get an usher to take our picture in the concourse behind home plate…
Out in LF, we grabbed some seats in the last row. Eventually, an usher walked by and I spotted “Kelly” on her name tag. I flagged her down and asked if she knew Avi. She did! And she was more than happy to help us with the final scavenger hunt picture once the half inning concluded. Here is the final scavenger hunt photo:
A difficult part about this one is that you either (i) had to find an usher with a pair of scissors (I guess meaning he/she really intended to cut some ball retrieving devices during BP) or (ii) you had to bring scissors to the game (something that didn’t really seem possible).
Well, it turns out that the letter actually is possible. Without planning it or even knowing I was doing it, I brought a pair of craft scissors to the game. Security at the gate did not find them because (unknown to me), they were in by back pocket. Apparently, I had driven 2 hours to Baltimore while sitting on these scissors, but never noticed.
During BP, I felt something in my back pocket and figured it was Tim’s sunglasses. I grabbed the “sunglasses” and was delighted to find they were actually a pair of scissors I’d used earlier in the day to help my wife with a project around thehouse. So, I knew we *had* to get this photo. Interestingly, we’ve never used the glove trick, so we had to figure out how to rig it specifically for the photo. Luckily, it all came together with some MacGyverish ingenuitity.
Shortly after we got the picture, the 9th inning was on us. We planned to go for an umpire ball. I made a rookie mistake, but we were able to overcome it.
The last time we were at Camden Yards, I saw the same usher who took our picture (above) seating some little kids to go for an umpire baseball. So, when he took our picture at this game, I asked him if he could seat us down there to go for an umpire ball. He said he would take Tim down to the umpire tunnel, but Greg and I couldn’t come because we didn’t have tickets for that section.
Well, that wouldn’t work because there is no way Tim would go off on his own with an usher and then ask for an umpire ball. In fact, without me, he is not tall enough to see over the wall of the umpire tunnel.
The problem was that the guy now *knew* we didn’t have tickets for that area. If I had not asked, he never would have even questioned it. Anyway, we made our way down there at the top of the ninth. We were on the other side of the tunnel (not in that usher’s section) about 8 rows back. But then I got greedy. I saw that rows 3-5 were completely empty on the other side of the tunnel. So we headed over there.
The usher saw us and told us Tim could stay, but Greg and I could not. I told him Tim wouldn’t stay there on his own. But the guy wouldn’t budge. Again, I never should have asked him in the first place. Anyway, as the three of us exited the section, a couple was leaving the same section and they walked over and gave us their tickets (unsolicited). We thanked them profusely and then turned around. I walked up to the usher and showed him the tickets. He waved us in and gave his blessing for us to sit anywhere we wanted in the section.
We ended up here…
Sadly, Chad Gaudin shut the door in the bottom of the ninth and the O’s fell to the visitors 11-3.
Before heading out, a nice fan took one more group shot of the three of us:
As we slowly left the stadium, Greg gave me his assessment of the Cook & Son ballpark experience: two thumbs up. He’d never seen so many parts of a stadium or been “on the go” throughout a game and he found it to be quite fun.
So did we.
Hopefully, Greg will be back for another game or two with us next season.
2010 Fan Stats:
22 Ice Cream Helmets (Orioles (4), Phillies (3), Padres (2), Pirates (2), Mets, Dodgers, Athletics, Nationals (2), Indians, Yankees)
60 Baseballs (12 Mariners, 2 Angels, 3 Athletics, 3 Brewers, 4 Nationals, 2 Blue Jays, 9 Umpires, 2 Phillies, 1 Mets, 4 Braves, 2 Orioles, 1 Dodgers, 1 Padres, 1 Giants, 2 Twins, 1 White Sox, 7 Easter Eggs, 1 Yankees, 2 Marlins)
12 Stadiums (Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, AT&T Park, Progressive Field, Yankee Stadium)
15 Player Photos (Jamie Moyer, Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Mike Cameron, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto, Billy Wagner, Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jered Weaver, Jay Buente, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
2 Retired Player Photos (Jim Palmer, Bert Blyleven)
1 Umpire Photo (“Cowboy” Joe West)
10 Autographs (Ryan Rowland-Smith (2), Omar Vizquel, Chad Cordero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joel Piniero, Frank Catalanotto (2), Billy Wagner (2), Jeff Suppan, Tommy Hanson, Jeff Weaver, Brian Sanches and Scott Olsen)
8 Kids Run The Bases (Citizens Bank Park, 2 Nationals Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, PETCO Park, Camden Yards, Progressive Field)