Baseball 2004

Baltimore from our seats in the upper deck of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This is one of my favorite stadiums, though it doesn't have the nostalgia factor of Fenway or Wrigley (we were White Sox fans when we lived in Chicago, but New Comiskey sucks compared to Old Comiskey). See the above-ground bullpens and the warehouse that gets hit by particularly well-targeted home runs? It was very beautiful this clear, cool, sunny day until the bottom of the ninth inning, when the Orioles had the bases loaded with no outs and could have won with a long sacrifice fly, but choked instead.

The O's pitched to Bonds, who hit into the stands, which Palmiero then answered with two of his own long shots, putting him ahead of Mickey Mantle in career home runs. The teams were tied 5-5 going into the bottom of the ninth, when Bigbie singled to center, stole second, went to third during Hairston's at bat, then the Giants walked Roberts to load the bases and changed pitchers...and the Orioles promtly hit a mediocre fly that did not allow the runners to advance, then into a double play. Two innings later Pierzynski homered for the Giants, Perez and Linden singled, Mohr walked, Cruz got Perez and Linden home and then Bonds singled, scoring Mohr. We left before the Orioles pulled off a last run in the bottom of the 11th (which did not change the end result) because it was so depressing.

Here's the view inside the stadium from our seats, which were pretty much a direct vertical line above home plate...way above home plate, three rows from the back of the stadium (the Ravens stadium could be seen out the mesh at the back). The orange creature on the first base line is the dude in the Oriole suit. I have no idea why the lights are on, given that it was gorgeous and clear and there were no shadows this early in the game. Because of rain last night, they played a double-header today, and because this game didn't start till after 3 p.m. and went into extra innings, I imagine they had very little time to get the stadium into any sort of shape for the later game.

Barry Bonds. I wasn't sorry to see him hit the home run; it was early in the game and I was glad they were pitching to him instead of walking him. And there were several other home runs. It was a fun game, and if the Orioles hadn't tanked so badly in the ninth I would be remembering it as one of the best I ever saw. Final score of the early game: San Francisco 9, Baltimore 6. The atrocious official game report can be found here.

One of our favorite purchases from Boston -- Yankee Hater hats! Not that they helped the Orioles or Red Sox this season. Here is Daniel wearing it...

...and here is Daniel actually playing baseball with his little league team, the Bulls of the Germantown Athletic Club.

These pictures are from an afternoon with a synagogue group, watching the Frederick Keys lose 10-3 to the Kinston Indians. The Indians were top-ranked and had a winning percentage over .700. The Keys were in last place. Here is my favorite player on the Indians, who had the second best batting average on the team and the most RBIs: First baseman Michael Aubrey.

Here he is again, about to hit a home run (unfortunately not the only one by the Indians).

These were from our seats about five feet from the field alongside first base, right beside the home team dugout. One of the many nice things about minor league games is that the players will chat with fans and sign things for kids as they walk by, and all the foul balls end up tossed to people in the crowd. This stadium also has a carousel, giant slide and mini-arcade, as well as pretty decent grilled chicken sandwiches.