I took a little roadtrip this evening to take in some playoff-caliber baseball...and the Orioles. Say what you will about Peter Angelos
-- he doesn't spend enough to make the O's a contender, he held MLB hostage over relocating a team to DC, he doesn't pay stadium workers a living wage
(although there are signs of progress
on that front) -- at least he hasn't auctioned off the naming rights to one of the best ballparks in baseball, Oriole Park at Camden Yards
I know some of the newer stadiums -- influenced by Camden Yards -- are nice, and probably have even more amenities and are even more fan-friendly. But it's kind of neat to me that a stadium designed to appear
retro is actually starting to be
retro. Still, it's a great place to watch a game. Spend batting practice on the Eutaw Street plaza, wolfing down a Boog's Barbecue sandwich. The sightlines are good from anywhere, but I like sitting on the right field side because of the view through the outfield into downtown Baltimore. (The view through right field is the famous brick warehouse.)
I found a great ticket on StubHub
, well below face value. (With shipping and the commission, the total was about face value.) Until the O's start winning, tickets aren't going to be hard to get, but I wanted something close, and I knew the Red Sox would be a draw. And oh my gracious, there were a ton of obnoxious Red Sox fans in attendance. ESPN's Bill Simmons discussed this phenomenon
last week -- how Sox fans take over opposing stadiums -- with a photo essay from Tampa. And every word is true. But at least you can understand when snowbird retirees from up north skip the early-bird special at Del Boca Vista Phase 3 to see the Sox or Yankees at Tropicana Field
. And you can also understand locals not going to see the Devil Rays. But Baltimore should do better by the O's. I pronounce it sorry
Anyway, I was twenty-five rows behind the Orioles' dugout, and had a great view of the O's throwback uniforms. It was Negro League Appreciation Night, and the Orioles were wearing the uniforms of the 1932 Baltimore Black Sox. They were pretty snazzy. Sadly, either my phone-camera doesn't have a zoom, or I haven't figured out how to use it, so none of my pictures of the unis came out well. But fortunately, The Baltimore Sun
has some good shots in this gallery
. Alert the Uni Watch
blog! Uni Watcher Paul Lukas will be pleased to know that the throwback uniforms all appeared to have the proper leg length and sock/stirrup visibility ratio.
During the pregame, the video screen was showing footage of the night Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak. While that was enjoyable, I wondered if the O's hadn't had any highlights since then. The more I thought about it, the more I think, no, not really. But I came to find out that there was another good reason for showing the "2131" footage: tonight was the twelfth anniversary of that game. It was also the eleventh anniversary of Eddie Murray hitting his 500th home run, so that was a pretty cool coincidence.
It was throwback night all around, including on the mound. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield
started for the Red Sox, and at one point the Orioles used a relief pitcher who employed a Dan Quisenberry
-style submarine motion. Oh, and I saw one of my favorite plays not once, but twice -- a player from each team hit himself with a bunted ball for an out! Not something you see every day in the majors, and I saw it two times in one night.
Wakefield got knocked around pretty well, and didn't last long. So I got to see newest Sox hero Clay Buchholz
, fresh off a no-hitter in his second career start but now consigned to the bullpen, and later, closer Jonathan Papelbon
. As an old Devil Rays
fan myself, I was glad to see both Julio Lugo
and Aubrey Huff
playing. But by far the biggest cheers of the night went to David Ortiz
. Every time he appeared, shrill cries of "¡Papi!
" went up from all quarters.
As for the game, it was a good one
. Both teams had one-, two-, and three-run innings, and the score was tied at six until the ninth. Part of the reason for that was two really boneheaded plays by O's rookie pitcher Garrett Olson. Twice in a row -- twice!
-- he let the lead runner advance by throwing to first, even when the lead runner was forced! Madness! Still, the Orioles hung in there until the Red Sox manufactured a run in the top of the ninth and brought on Papelbon to shut things down. All in all, an enjoyable time at the old ballyard.
Here are the best two pictures I took (click for a bigger image):They're not saying "Boo," they're saying "Youk!" Kevin Youkilis gets a big hit.They're not saying "Drew," they're saying "Boo!" J.D. Drew hits into an inning-ending double play.