Sunday, June 10, 2007
The fact that today was Cal Ripken, Jr. Bobblehead Day was icing on the cake. The African Queen and I were on a mission this afternoon at Camden Yards. We wanted to check out all the possible seating sightlines for Baltimore Orioles Home Games and compare those choices with those available in the New Nationals Park. So, we bought Club Level Seats, Section 230, in the fourth row. They were nice--situated between Home Plate and The Orioles First Base Dugout. The view of field just about as close as we currently sit at RFK Stadium--and basically the same point The Club Level at New Nationals Park will sit.
Although obviously completely surrounded by Long Time Baltimore Fans, we had a great time. Many realized that we were not the usual Orioles' Fan. Sohna and I sort of stood out and folks began to talk to us. We mentioned that we were on a reconnaissance mission to determine good seats for Our Washington Nationals New Stadium. Everyone had a opinion. Some good, some not so good. Some, just down right silly. But, what made this effort so meaningful was Our Usher today. A Nice Man named Evan. Hearing the entertaining conversations we were having with his regulars--he asked us if we might be interested in also sitting in a couple of spots in the lower bowl--to gather some more intel. Of course, we were not going to pass up that opportunity.
So, over the course of two innings, The African Queen and I spent time in Field Box Seats, not 10 rows from the Orioles Dugout. And, finally in the Terrace Box, Section 43 on the 3rd base side. At each stop, an Orioles Usher escorted us to available seats. Each inning we enjoyed the view and hospitality. Really, it was great. Knowing that New Nationals Park will have similar sightlines in the Lower Bowl and Club Level we gathered some useful information that will help us determine what will really please us on South Capitol Street. We couldn't thank Evan enough for his fine hospitality. He was great.
As nice as that was--Our Time sitting in Club Level was highlighted by some LIVELY TALK with some LONG TIME Baltimore Orioles Fans. These folks were BITTER. 10 years without a winning team I guess will depress any hardcore fan. And, some amazing misinformation concerning Our Nationals and New Nationals Park. Whether the discussion was Peter Angelos, General Manager Mike Flanagan, their Oriole players (or their lack of quality players) you could clearly see the disgust over A TEAM WITH NO DIRECTION. Not a single Orioles Fans we talked to DID NOT wish to follow the rebuilding of Our Nationals. "At Least you guys have a plan. We have NOTHING."--One Fan yelled out. Everyone laughed, But, everyone knew--it was the truth.
When the discussion turned to Our Nationals, one guy had been to a few Nats Games at RFK Stadium. "That place is a DUMP!!! And when that new Stadium is built, it will also be a dump, in a dump," he stated. You know Sohna and I would not take any of that. We both lit into the guy--stating that Memorial Stadium was fairly run down when The Orioles moved to Camden Yards. The neighborhood off 33rd Street not the best. Then, this fellow went on to claim that The Club Level at Nationals Park will be "JUST A PLACE TO SIT, WITH NO AMENITIES"--Saying Oriole Park's Club Level was as nice as it gets. Now, how could he possibly know this, if he's rarely been out of the Mid-Atlantic States? Boy, did I ever go after him then, asking the No Nothing where he got his information. He responded--"Its all over The INTERNET, in the BLOGS!!"
I LAUGHED IN HIS FACE!! Immediately followed by The African Queen and I putting him in his place, again. "You have no idea how close to home you just hit," I finally said. Once Sohna and I got through with him, he was getting up to leave in the 8th inning. "I have a train to catch," he claimed. Silently, the fellow got up to leave.
We were not the only ones happy to see him go. Many of the other Baltimore regulars saying this guy is always causing trouble, never happy, never satisfied. Reminded Sohna and I of some people we know.
Oh--by the way--The Colorado Rockies beat The Orioles 6-1. Ryan Spilborghs had a career day--2 Home Runs, 6 RBI in four total hits. And, Colorado Starter Jason Hirsh went the distance for his first career complete game. Really, it was not much of a game, but Sohna and I enjoyed seeing Jamey Carroll. Our Former Utility Man will always be a favorite with Nats Fans. Today, he doubled down the right field line and sneaked in behind Brian Roberts to pick Roberts off second early the game. When I got up to cheer the pickoff--it was not appreciated in Club Level.
Finally, as Sohna and I were walking around the ballpark before the game, we ran into this nice young fellow wearing a red "PLEDGE YOUR ALLEGIANCE" t-shirt walking with his father. As it turned out, these two were from Brooklyn, New York. The Young Man telling The African Queen and I he was New York's Biggest NATS FAN. They told us the T-Shirt was retrieved from the Nat Pack on the night of the long rain delay at RFK STADIUM against The Marlins. That great 1:42AM ending when Ryan Zimmerman blasted out a game winning Grand Slam. As we continued to talk, Sohna mentioned if they read the Nats blogs. Yes. In fact, one of their favorites--Nats 320. When Sohna told them I was SBF, the look on the son's face, priceless.
The African Queen and I got a kick out of a New Yorker reading The Nats 320 Blog. It all made for a wonderful afternoon watching baseball, but not really paying attention to the game. The folks we met, chatted with and enjoyed, far outdistanced the fun of the game itself. Today's Reconnaissance Trip to Camden Yards, well worth the effort.
PS--Sohna got a kick out of the Bronze Markers on Eutaw Street commemorating Home Runs hit on the sidewalk in front of The Warehouse. Due to our long walk around the ballpark, even after the game looking at everything, we really noticed for the first time, these Home Run Markers. Hopefully, when New Nationals Park Opens, Our Washington Nationals can Remember Titantic Blasts in such a nice way. We really enjoyed reading the markers. Ken Griffey, Jr seems to have hit the longest clout, closest to The Warehouse. I don't believe anyone has actually hit the building. I might be wrong, but I don't think so.
If you like Sushi. Sohna and I went to Edo Sushi in The Inner Harbor after the game. Excellent Service. Good Presentation and Nice Food. We had never been there before, but would recommend it to any Sushi Fan.
The Cal Ripken Bobblehead--TERRIFIC. It depicts Cal snaring the final out of the 1983 World Series at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium. Great Packaging, too. The Sight of Hundreds of Folks buying Standing Room Only Seats walking into Camden Yards, picking up the Bobblehead then turning right around and heading out to put the figure on eBay--hilarious. What is wrong with these people? Do they realize how silly and foolish they look? Does that few extra bucks make THAT MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE IN THEIR LIVES??
And, no--We did not watch Our Nats play today, the Reconnaissance Mission was far more important. We lost 6-3, but still won the series with The Twins. Hopefully Our Washington Nationals can take two out of three at these very same Camden Yards this coming week against The Baltimore Orioles. By the way, you gotta love The Angelos Thinking. Wednesday Night's game is ORIOLES CAP NIGHT. Do you think this giveaway was strategically planned? Sohna and I laughed about that promo when the stadium announcer mentioned it on the centerfield scoreboard during the game.