Sunday, May 8, 2011

5-7-11: Tampa Rays @ Baltimore Orioles

So I was able to get great tickets to this past Saturday's Rays @ O's game from StubHub way back this winter right after tickets went on sale. I always enjoy my trips to Baltimore mostly because of the great atmosphere of the stadium and inner harbor. The stars aligned to put a Saturday Afternoon home game in Early May in line with my fiancee's hectic work schedule and great tickets (2nd row from the field) for the right price. We were blessed with sunny mid 70's, low humidity weather. It's nice to spend some quality time on a warm spring day with some one you love while taking in a ballgame.
I hope I was able to brighten a few youngster's days. I have been accumulating a very large amount of Orioles base cards for a while now and I haven't been able to figure out what to do with them. I remembered reading on the great Play at the Plate blog a while back about "planting seeds." After some thinking, I decided to pack up these doubles in 20-25 card packs in team bags and just give them away to any kids I saw at the park. There were tons of kids there so I was out of cards by the time I had made it all the way down Eutaw Street! I'm talking like 300 to 400 cards gone in the blink of an eye. Hopefully the kids that I gave the cards to enjoy them and maybe spark their interests in our hobby.
After the great Orioles double card giveaway extravaganza was over I bought a 2011 Media Guide for some informative bathroom reading over the next few weeks. We then perused the souvenir stand, had some sticker shock on some items, and left empty handed. I stashed the media guide away in my fiancee's handbag for safe keeping (thanks babe!) and we decided to find our seats(great idea).
We found our seats about 30 minutes before game time and about 5 minutes later, Vladimir Guerrero stepped out of the dugout and started stretching within spitting distance of our seats. At this time, I grabbed the last stash of cards I had with me (my special autograph pack) and the blue sharpie and took up a calculated position near the wall where he would have to walk by. After stretching his aging back and knees, he made a beeline right for the rugrats that were standing in front of me and commenced signing away. After all the kids had their balls signed, he took my card, looked at it for a moment (like it was the first one he had seen of it's kind) and signed it! Here it is:

Man, on the way to the ballpark I was thinking that Vlad's 'graph was the one I wanted the most out of all the O's right now and how sweet it would be to get it. Maybe I was just lucky or maybe it was karma but I got the future HOF'ers autograph!
So coming down from cloud nine, I returned to my seat for the drubbing that was about to take place right in front of me. There's really not much to say about the game but I think my financee's summary will best describe the events: "Man, they look like a bunch of broken, tired, old men hobbling around out there" I can only affirm this assessment by reading the daily news and notes it seems like they don't know how to stretch properly because of all the "tight muscles" and "ligament pulls" and "sore shoulders" that they have. Just go on the DL and let somebody hungry from the minors come up and take your spot.
She also asked me if Cal Ripken could come out of retirement and play. Other than Opening Day, that is the only way Camden Yards will fill every seat in the house. He could probably roll out of be tomorrow and outplay everybody on the team just with pure determination.
So the game ended up at 8-2 after Evan Longoria and BJ Upton made O's starter Jeremy Guthrie look like a BP pitcher by taking him deep and putting the game out of reach. Surprisingly enough my two "FAVORITE" Orioles pitchers, Kevin Gregg and Mike Gonzalez pitched well and saved themselves from the scrap heap for another day.
It was a disappointing game for me to see because the fans that did bother to show up were indifferent to what happened on the field. There was hardly any cheering going on and they didn't even get excited when the O's loaded the bases (and left them loaded). I guess after 13 years the fans just get used to losing. On an even sadder note, the O's players even seemed like the could care less about what happened on the field too. It just looked like they lacked the fire and passion for winning the game.
It was nice to get out of the house, take in a ballgame, and spend sometime with my fiancee. I just wish the results of the game were better because that sure would have made it a more perfect day.

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