Game No. 1 – Rays @ Orioles (4/12/09)
Well, I’m new to this blogging thing, and I somehow managed to do this write up and delete half of it. So, with mild frustration, I’ll give it another go. (Click Picture for Bigger Version).
Safeco Field is my baseball home. However, on Sunday, Tim and I trekked down to Baltimore to visit our baseball home-away-from-home:
We visit Camden Yards every season to see the Mariners. However, this trip was to see the Rays — one of the final 10 teams we need to see this season so Tim can say he’s seen ‘em all. Seeing the Rays vs. O’s also gave us a chance to catch up with two former Phils, Pat “The Bat” Burrell and Adam Eaton.
Here is a shot of Burrell fouling off a pitch against Eaton. We bought tickets in the cheap seats ($9/upper deck left field), but never sat in our seats. At the beginning of the game, we grabbed some snacks (nachos for me, fries for Tim) and found some nice seats behind the left field foul pole. As we munched on our ball park fare, we witnessed a very un-Camden Yards event, unruly patrons being threatened with ejection from the park.
Apparently, three 20′something guys, brews in hand, had been the recipients of several profanity complaints. They did not react well to the news that further cursing would result in the boot. As the guards were leaving, the lead hooligan said to his accusers, “Thanks a lot for the warm welcome to Camden Yards. Happy Easter!” Tim got all excited and started yelling really loudly, “Happy Easter! Happy Easter! HAAAAAAPPPPY EASTERRRRR!”
Meanwhile, the Pride of the Snohomish Panthers got Pat the Bat to pop out to right. As you may know, Adam Eaton is from Snohomish, Washington where his high school was a conference rival with my Edmonds-Woodway Warriors. I figure he grew up a Mariners fan and, like me, a huge fan of Ken Griffey, Jr. So, I found it interesting to see Eaton was sporting the sacred “24″ on his back. One of my co-workers, a die-hard Phillies fan, told me it wasn’t a very good way for Eaton to pay his respects to Griff (a reference to Eaton’s poor performance while playing for the Phillies).
After we finished our food, we headed to the upper deck to check out the view from the general vicinity of our actual seats. Not too bad:
We also saw this bush made into a batter up there.
Next, we headed to Tim’s favorite spot at Camden Yards — the standing room area above the rightfield wall. It has an official name, honoring some former Oriole I can’t remember, but I like to just call it the flag pole courtyard. We we arrived at the flagpole courtyard, we were happy to see a beautiful flag announcing to the world the Mariners early-season dominance over the AL West:
Tim became so emotional after seeing this, he had to hug the Mariners first place pole
Tim loves running around all of the poles. And he always finds a puddle in need of some stomping. But this day, around the 5th or 6th inning, we received a surprise visitor out at the flag pole courtyard:
Right before this picture, Tim and The Bird had a full-on battle, a dancing battle. At the outset, it looked like the Bird was creeping up to Tim to give him a high five. But as the Bird approached, Tim busted out some crazy up-down arms/in-out legs dance moves. And the Dance Battle had begun. After Tim busted his moves, the Bird mirrored the moves. A small crowd gathered to watch and laugh. Tim then shimmied backwards, laid out backwards on the ground and rolled over a couple times. The Bird followed with the same. The crowd laughed more. Then, it was Tim’s turn. He popped to his feet and ran hard to the right looking back at the Bird over his shoulder and – BOOM! – he ran straight into the AL East first place flag pole (Blue Jays) and hit the deck. He thought it was hilarious. The Bird then started hobbling around like he was drunk.
Here is another picture of us with the Bird. This is actually pre-Battle, when Tim was sizing up his competition. A couple innings later (I believe in the 8th), Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena hit back-to-back jacks for the Rays. Pena’s HR ball landed just about where we are standing in this picture. It easily landed on the cement within 10 feet of us. I was blinded by the sun (as was everyone else) and totally lost the ball. The ball crashed hard to the pavement and bounced dirctly into a guys cheek bone and, from his face, back onto the field. A few minutes later, an Orioles attendant ran out with a bag of ice and a bottle of water for the guy.
Here is a good view of the flag courtyard:
The Pena homerun landed a couple feet closer to the camera from the closest pole direclty in the middle of the picture (the Rays flag pole). The Dance Battle with the Bird went down between the two furtherest poles in the middle and left side of the picture. Hey, while we’re standing right here, how about a picture of the original foul pole from Memorial Stadium?
Unless you’re in the tunnel, you cannot see the field from the concourse. However, there is plenty of standing room inside the stadium.
So, after hanging out for a long, long, long time in the flag pole courtyard and taking some picts for the panaramics above, it was time for a Cook tradition – ice cream in a home team helmet! Wait, the Orioles are one of the few teams out there who don’t have ice cream helmets. NOOOOOO!!!! I put in an official request (well, I told the lady in the fan assistance office that it was “official”) that they get ice cream helmets in the near future.
Tim didn’t seem to mind not having a helmet. And soon it was time for some jumping in the bouncy house!
Unfortunately, when it was time for Tim’s group of kids to clear out of the bouncy house, Tim (predictably) did not want to leave so this guy had to go get him (check out that sad face!):
Here is picture from the kids’ area looking toward the concourse.
From where I am standing with the camera, it is a hard right to get to right field and Eutaw Street. After taking this picture, we headed back to the courtyard for the Pena homerun. We then headed toward home plate to watch the rest of the game from the fancy seats. One great thing about Camden Yards (great for fans, not for the Orioles ownership) is that it is pretty empty a lot of the time. Lots of great seats to sit in. Here is a picture of us between the courtyard and home plate. An attendant actually took this right as we got to the field before the game.
And here are some view from the seats you can sit in after paying $9/ticket for the upper-deck:
We only sat in these seats for 1 inning. Tim was starting to get tired and grouchy from having no nap. After an inning, we went up directly behind home plate to see if anyone would foul a ball straight back. If they did, I figured I’d get it easily because no one was up there – maybe three people besides us. Well, I was wrong. A ball did get fouled straight back, but it hit the seats and richoted straight up. It landed on a little fence/ledge below the TV / radio booths. It then rolled toward the first base side for about 20 feet. Tim was on my shoulders and I trailed below the ball waiting for it to fall down. Unfortunately, it fell down about 5 feet in front of me and bounced once before falling down the stairway and directly to a teenage boy running up the stairs for the ball. Had the ball come down a foot or two in either direction, it would have missed the stairs and we would have gotten it easily. Bummer!
Anyway, here is a nice picture of the reverse view of the Pat Burrell photo above. When I took the Burrell photo, we were sitting almost directly where the attendant in the ridiculously bright orange jacket is standing in this photo…and the hooligans I mentioned earlier were sitting to the left in the first row above the aisle (the raised seats) and directly against the tunnel out to the concourse. Anyway, that, in a nutshell, was our first game of the season. As for the actual game, the Rays won 11-3. The Orioles scored all 3 of their runs in the bottom of the 9th. James Sheilds got the win, Adam Eaton the loss. Homeruns by Longoria, Pena, Zobrist, and Barlett. A 3 RBI triple by Carl Crawford. It was an action-packed game, and an extremely fun game, particularly for a game without the Mariners I’ll leave you with some season fan stats and a couple more pictures fo me and the little guy taken by the very accomodating stadium attendants:
Season Fan Stats:
1 Stadium (Camden Yards)
2 Teams (Orioles, Rays)
0 Ice Cream helmets (Booo Orioles!)
1 Awesome Day of Baseball
Next Up: Padres vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, April 19, 2009