A Great American Birthday

It was my pleasure to take Morgan to see her first baseball game at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles—her favorite team in Major League Baseball.  Choosing a Baltimore team when you’re from northern Vermont may seem odd, until you consider the saturation of one type of fan in the area.  In any event, baseball is one of her favorite sports, Camden Yards is an exceptionally cool place, and she’d never been there, so I did what I could to make it happen.

20190629_2038492072205695831855242.jpgOne of my favorite things about baseball games is how common it is for the team to give away souvenirs just for purchasing a ticket.   This outing happened to be a particularly good one, as the giveaway was their annual replica jersey.  the first 30,000 fans fifteen years old and over received a surprisingly nice button-up Orioles jersey that matched the ones worn by the players during that game.  I love flags, so I was excited to see that while most of the design is plain white, the sleeves are patterned like the Maryland flag.  An unexpected consequence of this (though I should’ve seen this coming) was how difficult it became to sort through the crowd and find the people with whom I’d arrived.  It’s tough when three-quarters of the crowd are wearing the same shirt, particularly when that shirt has the bold (and slightly busy) black and yellow checks sported by Maryland’s flag.

snapchat-13180758067670497667210166786.jpgIf you do decide to go to a game, be sure to get seats along the third base line.  It’s the western side of the stadium, which means the sun will set behind you, and you’ll have a lovely view of the Baltimore skyline, not to mention the Yards’ main strip: Eutaw St.  The original field was designed (in the 20s) to fit into a single city block, and when the time came to revamp it (in the 90s), there was a pushback against all the samey multipurpose fields that had popped up throughout the country.  So it was the the Orioles acquired the condemned warehouse adjacent to their field and renovated it to contain their shops, restaurants, and team offices.  The portion of Eutaw (pronounced like the name of that one western State) Street adjacent to the field has been blocked off to traffic and is now something like an outdoor mall, running north-south perpendicular to the first base line past right and center field.  The keen observer will note that this means that pedestrians on Eutaw Street should pay attention to what’s going on on the field, should a batter knock one out of the park.  20190629_2037426425630404748566832.jpgIt’s not something to actively worry about, though, as only 98 home runs have ever landed in that area, and only twice in history have two gone that far in one game.  Each homer that lands in that area gets its own bronze plaque (shaped like a baseball) labeled with who hit it, their team, how far it went, and when it happened.  The most notable of these is the one home run that hit the B&O Warehouse, slugged by Ken Griffey Jr.  See if you can find it when you visit; it’s probably higher than you expect.

What I love about going to a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards is the variety of entertainment available even while professional athletes compete for your enjoyment.  There are unique food opportunities like Boog’s Barbecue (named for Boog Powell, who played for the Orioles when they won the World Series) and Flying Dog’s beer stands set up throughout the park (which offer various craft brews, some of which are unavailable outside the park).  I’ve often said that even those who don’t enjoy the game of baseball can enjoy the experience of going to a baseball game, and Camden Yards is the perfect place to prove it.

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