It took until June 17th; but I finally made it to the ballpark. I skipped on work at 3:00 pm Friday, and drove up to Baltimore to the Hilton next to the ballpark, arriving just after 5:00. Gotta love D.C. traffic. I decided to use the "Digital Key" function on the HiltonHonors App for this trip, and it worked out pretty well. You can basically pick out your room ahead of time and, when it's ready, the hotel sends you a "digital key" to your phone. When you arrive, you go straight to your room and, standing in front of the door, press the "open" button on the App, and the door magically opens. Pretty cool technology. It allows you to avoid waiting in lines, dealing with a person, and having to keep track of a key card.
After unpacking, I walked across the street to the Yard and settled in for Game 1 of the series against the Jays. It was a great night for a ballgame:
Mike Wright was on the mound for the O's. 24 hours later he had earned a well-deserved one-way bus ticket headed for Triple A. The game was over by the middle of the third inning. And this resulted in P3 making an extended visit to the Warehouse Pub where beer flows frequently and with longevity . . . well past the standard 7th inning stretch cut-off that governs the rest of the stadium concessions.
I woke up Saturday feeling . . . less than delightful. Water and coffee failed to revive. My only hope of bouncing back before the 4:05 first pitch was my fail-proof hangover remedy -- exercise. Now, this always works; but it's not pleasant. If your pain and illness is a 6 out of 10, expect this remedy to ratchet it up to an 8 or 9 before the cure kicks in. I began around 1:00 pm. I could barely bend down to tie my sneakers; it was a process. Then, out onto the streets . . . starting slow . . . dodging tourists . . . waiting on downtown traffic lights . . . 13 minutes in, I had reached the 1 mile mark on the east side of the Harbor . . . the less touristy side of the city. Head pounding just a bit less. From there, the streets opened up, the blood flowed, and my pace hastened . . . mile 2 through the Fells Point neighborhood went uninterrupted by traffic and took a more reasonable 9:15 . . . by mile 3, which touched on the Canton neighborhood before heading back towards downtown, the pace was down to 8:30 and I was feeling good. I reached the hotel just at 5 miles, and was ready for baseball.
I was back in the Club Level for game two - R.A. Dickey against Gallardo.
The O's held on in the 9th to even the series. I headed back to the hotel to charge my phone before dinner (one downside to the digital key is that you sort of need a working, charged, phone when you get back to the hotel late at night . . .). I walked over to Mortons over at the Sheraton, arriving around 8:30. Mark, a fantastic bartender was on duty. It had been close to a year since I last saw him, but without skipping a beat, I was sitting in front of a glass of Primal Cut Cabernet. And, the Mets game was on. #winning. Sadly, however, the Mets did not win. In fact, they basically did everything in their power to avoid winning . . . snatching defeat from the preverbal jaws of victory . . . which led to a Pete P. Peters Twitter rant on the @Mets page. When I awoke the next morning, I had second thoughts; perhaps some of the tweets had gone to far. Make no mistake -- I was angry. But, I didn't really hope that Curtis Granderson skinned his knee and fell into a puddle of HIV . . .
Anyway . . . back in the hotel room after dinner, Oriole Park presented quite a sight:
I sat at the window for probably an hour, just watching the stadium crews doing their thing which, at 1:00 am after a game, meant power-washing each section of the stadium (in case you've ever wondered where all those peanut shells go!). In fact, it was amazing to see the amount of activity that goes on at a ball park over the course of a weekend. There's pregame BP and other activities, of course. But there's more. Saturday, for instance, when I got up at 9:00am, the entire O's pitching staff was on the field working on pick-off moves for a half hour . . . Perhaps I'm just a nerd for baseball; but I found it all interesting.
Sunday I got up earlier than I otherwise would have preferred in order to shake off the cobwebs and get ready for an 11:00 work call, which I took from the lobby of the Hilton. Then I checked out, and drove my car over the Horseshoe Casino a mile away, to enable a swift escape from the downtown area after the ball game. Walking from the casino to the Yard, at just before noon, I almost saw a dude die . . .
He was walking a block or so ahead of me wearing a bright orange O's jersey. There are train tracks separating the Casino and M&T Bank Stadium (where the Raven's play). Every once in a while, the CSX Train comes by . . . for, like, 15 minutes. This was one of those occasions. When I approached the tracks, the guy was leaning against the side of a building adjacent from the tracks. His jersey was totally unbuttoned. And he was drinking from a red solo cup. He was clearly hammered. Perhaps he had been at the casino all night? Who knows. And, there were a few older people on the other side of the street, who were also walking to the game and waiting for the train to pass. And there were a handful of cars lined up at the crossing . . . waiting. The train was a standard csx . . . long; obviously. And hauling a variety of cars. Every now and then, an empty flat bed car would pass. If you can't picture it, this is what I'm referring to:
So, after 5 minutes or so, drunk dude starts into a trot, heading towards the tracks, as another flatbed car approaches. It takes my brain a second to comprehend that this idiot is going to try and hop the MOVING fright train. I don't need to see anyone die on a Sunday morning walk to the ballpark. Particularly not when I'm the closest person to the wreck. But here this fucktard goes . . . He picks up speed . . . sizes up the car . . . and makes a leap. SMACK. He does not make it. While I was half turning away from the scene, it appeared as though he did not jump high enough, and maybe caught his shins on the side of the platform. In any event, he "luckily" feel directly backwards, landing on his back, and NOT underneath the train. The older couple on the other side of the street let out a high-pitched shriek. A woman in one of the cars watched . . . mouth agape . . . Dude, still on the ground, yells something about how he would have made it if he hadn't of tried to "save his solo cup." Dude gets up, dusts himself off, and retreats a bit from the tracks. But then, a few brief moments later, another flatbed car approaches, and he prepares TO TRY AGAIN. I Can't. Fucken. Look. This is not how I want to start a relaxing Sunday of baseball. I actually start walking the other direction back towards the casino . . . like, in case he misses again and gets a leg severed, maybe someone else will respond to him first if I'm not facing that direction. Ears open; I don't hear any screams of horror. A few moments later, I turn and look back. Dude appears on the other side of the tracks. Unharmed. Who knows . . . I guess he was an important guy and had places to be on a Sunday morning. Perhaps he did not want to miss noon church service. In any event, I'd be lying if I didn't admit the entire incident rattled me. I don't like blood and such. And, if someone wants to kill themselves, I'd prefer they do it when I'm not around. This had all the makings of a disaster. Fortunately, this clown beat the laws of Darwinism on a sunny Sunday morning.
Field level for game three of the series -- a decent match up (in theory) between Marcus Strohman and Chris Tillman:
A pitchers duel was not, however, on the menu as Strohman lasted his shortest outing of the year; and Tillman was just barely better. It was nice to see the O's bounce back from last weekend's drubbing in Toronto. Given how bad the Mets look, it's nice to be able to root for a winner.
Next weekend, the Rays are in town for a 4-game series (playing two Saturday). As of now, I plan on heading back to catch Saturday night's and Sunday's games. #Bases