Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day at The Yard

I hope everyone had a happy Mother’s Day.  I truly don’t know how you manage to do the things you do, what with having little ones running around (now or in the past).  I attribute it to a series of daily miracles.

Having just left from seeing my mother in Florida, I pretty much had a free slate this weekend, so I went to see another Orioles game.  Yes, this is another baseball post, but not really, because I not going to write very much about actual baseball.  As you know, I like to show up early and then wander around, taking pictures of whatever I think I can make interesting.

But first off, let me just say that I did manage to acquire a Pensacola Blue Wahoos hat.  I could have gotten one when I was down there last week, but was told that they wanted freakin’ $40 for them.  I thought I could do better so I waited.  Then I found them for sale online, for $32.  I was very excited until I went to process my order and noticed the $9 for shipping, bringing the total to $41.


But what the heck, I really wanted one.  See, they’re pretty cool.

Whenever I get into these predicaments, I just think back to the time I wanted a ZZ Top keychain.  You remember those, right?  The big silver ZZ, featured in the old 80s videos?
Mine could use a shine, but is still none the worse for wear.

The first time I saw ZZ Top in concert, I was going to buy a keychain, but they wanted something like $12.99 for them.  This was 1983 money, something I didn’t have very much of, so I passed.  Then I spent the next 3 years kicking myself for not buying the goddamned keychain.  Every time I saw one on TV, I’d be like, “Why didn’t you just buy the freakin’ key chain, you dipshit?

(I cuss myself out all the time.  It saves everyone else the trouble.)

Anyway, when I saw ZZ Top again, in 1986, I finally got to buy one (for $15.99) and it was well worth it.  I used it for the next 20 years or so, until I got tired of it poking me in the groin every time I sat down with it in my pocket.  I still have it hanging up, though.  (The keychain, not my groin.)

Then later, in the 90s, I got one for free at one of my record company trade shows.  Gave that one to my Dad, who still uses it to this day.

Wait, now where was I?  Oh yeah, I went to see a game on Sunday.  No, I didn’t wear my Blue Wahoos hat.  I already had good mojo with a different hat that I’ve worn the prior 2 times I went to a game this year, so I wasn’t going to break the streak.

Like usual, I started off here, in front of these bars.
I get my eat on at the food stands on the left.  Then I get my (cheap) drink on at The Bullpen, which is the narrow bar that has the 3 tents directly in front of it.

Here’s why I get my food there:
THIS should be The Big Wahoo.  This is $5 and would probably cost you $8 inside the park.

I missed batting practice this time, so I wandered up to the new patio.  I ordered my ticket online on Saturday, finding a single seat on the aisle, in the front row of the upper deck.  While I have my favorite areas to sit, I do like to try different vantage points.  Here’s where I sat this time.
Front row, baby!  I could look right down the first base line.

As I navigated up to the upper deck, I shot this picture of the centerfield layout, that shows the places that I’ve talked about in previous posts.
You can see the Statue Court at the lower left, the new Patio on the left, and the Flag Court directly in front of the Warehouse.

One cool thing they have on the upper concourse is a Tee-less T-ball cage.  They have an airjet hold a whiffleball aloft, where kids can come up and take a hack.
I totally wanted to elbow the kids out of the way and take a few cuts myself.  But with it being Mother’s Day and all, I chose not to cause a scene.

I was quite pleased with my seat, other than for one detail.  Seems they just put up these glass panels at the bottom of the stairways.  I guess they’re to keep people from tumbling off of the deck, I suppose, it they came down the steps with too much speed to stop.  But still, it hampered my view.
What’s a few falling bodies if I can get a better view?  They should accept the risk when they buy an upper deck ticket.

Baltimore does have a pretty decent view out of centerfield, as long as you’re sitting on the third base side.
All anyone can see from the first base side is the Eyesore Hilton, at the far left of the gap.

Mother’s Day festivities were in full bloom.  They had the Oriole Bird and a “Mrs. Bird” come out to throw out a first pitch. 
I didn't even know the Oriole Bird was one of a breeding pair.  Go figure.

Also, it was Sun Hat Day for all the women in attendance.
They all look like they're wearing flattened traffic cones.

It was a sunny day and I was starting to get really warm, but luckily the sun passed behind the stadium wall during the 5th inning, thus shading my seat.  It got a lot more comfortable then.  See this is why I like to go to the early-season games.  The weather is so much better.  Come July and August, shade or not, the humidity makes you sweat your buns off.

The game itself had its ups and downs.  Tampa Bay jumped out to a 7-1 lead by the 5th inning, but the O’s clawed their way back to trail 7-6.  Then in the 8th, the Rays hit back-to-back solo homers, to go up 9-6.  Still the Orioles fought back with runs in the 8th and 9th, before a final groundout with 2 runners on, ended the game.

I didn’t take a lot of “game” pictures… just during one at bat by Nick Markakis.  I wanted a lefty.  I’m just including a few here because they came out pretty well. (Considering I was in the upper freakin’ deck!)

Markakis awaits the pitch.

Markakis fouls one off.

Markakis steps into a swing.

Markakis just doubled to left.

So that was that… another nice day at Camden Yards.  No Forrest Gump moments for me this time, not in the upper deck.  Thus endeth my streak.  But I feel sorry for people that don’t have a professional team in their town.  It’s such a benefit… well, as long as you don’t mind subsidizing the stadiums with your tax dollars… But I don’t mind.  If they didn’t spend the dough on stadiums, they’d probably just waste it.


Mary Ann said...

"...manage to do the things you do...". Well, that's where J.D. and a few ludes serve as mother's little helpers.
Beautiful Wahoo Hat! Wear it proudly, in good health. That ZZ key ring must be a classic collectible by now. Why not frame it for your gallery of cool people and famous stuff; maybe next to your portrait of Keith Richards.
Impressive basebah pics!

Mrs. Bachelor Girl said...

Oh, MAN! I had forgotten all about the ZZ Top keychain! That's pretty damn cool, right there.

bluzdude said...

And I thought WE were Mother’s Little Helpers…

I showed my former boss my Wahoos hat… not only did he know what a wahoo was, he’s caught and eaten them before. Good eatin’, he says, but very tough to land, as they tend to bite through anything but a steel leader.

I bet they were named after what the first guy that caught one said after he got his finger nipped off.

The ZZ keychain is currently hanging from AC vent knob, in my dining room window. It definitely needs a shine-up.

bluzdude said...

There was a time when that was the coolest thing I owned.

Anonymous said...

Is that the Oriole Bird's wife or his Mama? I have a definite need to know this.

Anonymous said...

I actually thought of you when I was watching the game. One of the home runs landed about where your last seats were and you could see the fans stand up and cheer. I thought, "huh, wonder if one of those are bluz."

They are getting serious about those upper deck end of row protections. Last time I was there in the upper deck (last year maybe?), all they had was a slightly taller railing at the ends. I wonder if someone fell. That's usually the only time they spend money to make things safer.

Anonymous said...

I love all the pics you take of Camden Yard! I hope I make it to a game this season!

Anonymous said...

Maybe that can be one of our "dates?" :D Hoody does love dem O's!

Jessica R. said...

I've only ever been to one pro baseball game (I saw the Diamondbacks in Phoenix once), but Cassie is rectifying that problem by taking me to a Pirates game in Pittsburgh. I won't be buying a $40 hat though.

bluzdude said...

When I was there, I was thinking “wife,” but after I wrote the post, I saw other references that said the Bird had his Mother out there, which I suppose makes more sense. The Bird is a snappy guy; his girl would have a lot better fashion sense.

bluzdude said...

I did notice that… I totally would have been on TV again. Like I said, that wasn’t happening this time, unless I fell over the railing.

I don’t think anything like that has happened in Baltimore, but it’s happened in other places, so they’re being proactive. I know that someone was killed in the Texas Rangers stadium, falling over the deck while lunging for a ball that was tossed up by a player.

(Note to players: only toss the ball into the lower bowl!)

And I’ve seen other “highlights” of people taking tumbles over the rails, usually in pursuit of a fly or foul ball. The cool thing about being in the first row there is that catching a popup seems so easy, because the ball is just kind of hanging there. I can see the temptation to lean out a little too far. And because I’m tall, the top of the railing would hit me lower so I could easily go over. I told myself that if a ball came near, I’d position myself half over the glass barrier and brace on that. Then I’d reach out with my hat.

Of course all that would mean is that someone in the Club Level under me would get a hat with their baseball.

bluzdude said...


Thanks… But I’m pretty sure that everyone else is growing bored stiff with it. Eventually, I know I’m going to run out of unique angles, at least for this year. But with the O’s actually having a decent year (so far), I plan to go to more games while the weather is still good. Not as much fun being down at The Yard in July and August, when nary an air molecule is moving and it’s about 95 degrees in the shade.

Still, why do anything fun if you can’t blog about it?

Speaking of “dates,” we ought to all meet up for a game… you and Hoody and Thoughtsy… and anyone else around here… (OK, that might be kind of a long trip for Hoody and her pancreas.) Blogger meet-ups are so much fun!

bluzdude said...

You can get cheaper ballcaps... if not from vendors near the park, then at other retailers around tahn.

Unapologetically Mundane said...

Do you have a new camera, or was the field just wildly, wildly green this time? Looks good!

Anonymous said...

That is pretty far for Hoody, but she usually tries to make it over to Bmore at least once a season for a game. Not sure if that will happen this year with all that pancreas/hospital fun she is having! Thoughtsy and I have been trying to get her over here for about 9 months now for various events with no success. We might all have to just go to her.

But yeah, if we do a game, we will let you know. I am all about "the more the merrier."

bluzdude said...

Camera’s about a year old now and the field really is brilliantly green, especially in the sunlight. But I did up the saturation a bit, with my Paintshop program. Does that make me a bad person? Or a phony?

Wait a minute…look who I’m talking to. It was you and Jessica that taught me to do that in the first place.

bluzdude said...

If Hoody comes to Charm City, I needs ta know! Would be so cool to meet you guys! I’ve done blogger meet-ups (twice) in Pittsburgh… it would be fun to do one here for a change.

(In fact, you can find links to the posts I wrote about the meet-ups, up top on the Helpful Stuff to Know page.)

Unapologetically Mundane said...

I used to call people phonies for using Photoshop. But only because I didn't know how to use it myself. Fully in support of your plasticity!

bluzdude said...

Before you two wised me up, I thought it was my job to present the pictures the way the subjects appear in real life. Playing with the color seemed like cheating and I’m far too honest a bloke for that.

So thank you for helping me to become a big, fat, phony cheater (with nicer pictures.)

I’m sure there’s a lot more cool stuff I can do with my Paintshop program, but I just have no idea what they are or how to do them. The little bit I can do barely scratches the surface of possibilities.