Guys Night Out In Baltimore (9/18/10)

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…

1 - too many bronx fans.JPG…was ridiculous.  Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people were there before the gates opened.

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…


2 - from tillman to tim.JPG…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:

3 - the early intruders.JPGNon-season ticket holders were not supposed to be let in until 5:30.  But we think they were let in early because there were simply too many “Juns” to be contained out on Eutaw Street.

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…

4 - strike.JPG…and had us lob him some pitches.  Look, a no-eyes catch!

 Next, we headed over to LCF and watched the action out on Eutaw Street… 

5 - upper deck view across camden.JPG….it was packed.  Then we headed into the seats where I got this shot of the bullpens and batters eye…

6 - camden bullpens.JPG…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…

7 - bronx pitchers.JPG…who I’m guessing must be the last baseball player who wears the number 42.

After spitting lots of sunflower seeds out of the upper deck, we headed around the upper deck concourse toward right field:

8 - OPACY upper deck concourse 3B side.JPGThen it was down to the field level concourse for some fun in the kids play area.  But it was ridiculously packed.  So, after Tim took some hacks, he decided to head to the Camden Club for some dinner.

On our way out of the play area, we noticed this sign showing the evolution of the Orioles’ logo:

9 - orioles evolution.JPGI like ‘em all except the angry “Cuckoo” Bird second from the right.  That one is just silly.  This sign raises the question, what did the O’s use from 1989-1996?

Eutaw Street was insanely packed:

10 - crowded eutaw street.JPGWe 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:

11 - Birds eye of eutaw street.JPGAs we waited for our dinners to arrive, we could see C.C. Sabbathia warming up in the visitors’ bullpen:

12 - carston charles warms in bullpen.JPGTim the photographer took this shot of me and Greg hanging out at our table:

13 - a table with a view.JPGWe 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…

14 - beaned.JPG…to see the video clip, click here.

Eventually, our food came, and it was delicious:

15 - stabbed burger.JPGTim and a chicken strip posed for a picture by the window:

16 - chicken fingers and OPACY views.JPGUnfortunately, after hitting the Bronx short stop, Guthrie walked the Bronx third baseman and then gave up a 2-out 2-RBI single to the Bronx catcher.  So the O’s trailed 0-2 after the first inning.

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:

17 - camden 8th floor camden club panorama.jpgWe 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…

18 - OPACY model and Os front office.JPG…and Greg could get his picture in front of the glass doors to the O’s front office.  Tim loves that model.

When we got to the field level, it was time for something special…

19 - one more Os ICH.JPG…the first ice cream helmet of Greg’s life.

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:

20 - Camden section 16 panorama.jpgUnfortunately, this guy’s game was on…

21 -  clown pants.JPG…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…

22 - disputed but correct call.JPG…and Buck “The Miracle Worker” Showalter couldn’t argue his way into any additional outs.

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.

23 - happy and serious tim.JPGIn 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…

24 - enjoy your winter.JPG…we decided to head toward LF to find Kelly, the usher Avi advised would be a good choice for our final scavenger hunt picture.

On our walk toward LF, Tim looked up and spotted the Bird sitting in the press box window…

25 - wave from the bird.JPG…without even realizing he was doing it, I managed to capture the Bird as he waved to Tim.  Tim was very excited to be the recipient of the Bird’s wave.

We decided to get an usher to take our picture in the concourse behind home plate…

26 - TJCs and Greg at OPACY.JPG…this same usher usually takes our picture every time Tim and I visit Camden Yards.  He always does a fine job.

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:

27 - acting with ms kelly.JPGA 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…

28 - semi-ticketed seats.JPG…sitting directly behind the usher.  With no one else on that side of the tunnel, it was easy pickens for Tim to get an umpire baseball from Tony Randazzo.

Thanks, Tony!

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:

29 - post-game photo op.JPG

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:

26 Games


102 - Chris Tillman.JPG20 Teams
(Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Athletics, White Sox, Indians and Yankees; Phillies, Dodgers, Pirates, Braves, Mets, Brewers, Padres, Giants, Nationals and Marlins)

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)


103 - umpire Tony Randazzo.JPG12 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)

3 Comments

Good stuff! Just curious, whats with the boycott of all #54’s? I’ve noticed the censored box in several of your entries.

NICK-
Thanks. And good question. Actually, it is “24” that I’ve censored. Back in June, we inducted Ken Griffey, Jr. into the C&S Hall of Fame (http://cookandsonbats.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/06/ken-griffey-jr-cs-hall-of-fame-2010.html) and retired the number 24 from our blog. In that entry, I mentioned “no player will ever again be seen on this blog wearing the number 24.” So, whenever I need to use a picture of someone with that number, I censor the number out of respect for Griff. Note, it would be too much work so I don’t censor fans.

Ah, that explains it. Good idea. And I have been reading your blog all year (never commented though), you are doing a great job raising your son. He’s sure to have tons, upon tons, possibly upon more tons, of memories when he grows up. I would consider myself blessed to have experienced a quarter of the stuff you two have. You’re a great dad.

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