Monday, September 17, 2012

Travel - Yankees vs Orioles at Camden Yards

     Back in June I purchased tickets for a major league baseball game in Baltimore to see the Yankees play the Orioles at Camden Yards. I never would have guessed that both would be locked up in a pennant race tied atop the American League East division. Apparently neither did fans as I easily bought tickets for first level seats.
The Babe
     I've been to Camden Yards before and it's a not a bad drive from Pa. to Maryland. We have found back roads and are only on Route 95 for a short time to limit the intense driving. The last time I attended a game was to see Cal Ripken play and to shoot some photos of him during his long consecutive streak starting games for the O's. At that game I was cheering for the home team enjoying the cozy park.
Camden Yards
     This time I was there for the Yankees, but you wouldn't know it from my clothing. I will never wear an opposing teams colors into a visiting stadium.  I consider Baltimore fans very friendly but with the rivalry heating up, there is no need to look for trouble. Many others don't seem to care. We were surrounded by Yankee fans all dressed in blue and white with team caps on their heads. I was in friendly company. But in between many pockets of Yankee loyalists were Oriole fans blanketing the stadium in bright orange.
     It's been a long time since they have been in a pennant race this late in the year and with their strong pitching and powerful hitting the team has kept pace with the division leading Yankees.
O's Boog Powell and Strick's Pics
     We booked a hotel only two blocks from the stadium so it was an easy walk for the start of the game from our room. I always bring a camera along wherever I go and entering through the front gate I snap a picture of the huge statue of Babe Ruth. Knowing that he's honored for his birth in Baltimore and signed by the O's before being traded, I still find it odd to see his likeness since he's one of the Yankee greats of all time.
      From there we made our way through the crowd to an area where several of the top former Oriole players are remembered with bronzed statues.  Cal Ripken's statue was unveiled the night before and fans stood next to his shining full length likeness and had their pictures snapped.
Derek Jeter
     I walked up to Boog Powell who was greeting fans near his barbeque pit. The former O's first baseman gave me a strong handshake and smile as we took a picture together. Even at his age I'd bet he could still jack a homer out of the yard.
     Walking around the stadium, we stopped near home plate and I walked down to the third row from the field to shoot a couple of photos of Derek Jeter swinging the bat warming up in the on deck circle. I also snapped some of the crowded dugout just before game time, then made our way to the seats along the third baseline.
    The pitching duel between the Yank's Phil Hughes and the O's Wei-Yin Chen lasted only three innings as New York smashed three homers to build a seven run lead by the end of the fifth inning. We were walking around the outfield standing room only area and watched as Alex Rodriguez crushed his 300th homer as a Yankee.
     I'd much rather see a lot of action on the base paths then to watch a bunch of strikeouts and I got my wish. There was a lot of hitting going on in this game by both teams.
Yankee's win.
     In the bottom of the ninth with one out, I walked to a spot behind the Yankee dugout to take a couple photos as I anticipated the Yankees celebrating a win. Along the way N.Y. closer Rafael Soriano gave up a solo shot to Manny Machado. But it was too late for the O's losing 8-5. The Yankees were in sole possession of first place for another day as the teammates congratulated each other .
    Win or lose it was a great day to be a part of America's favorite game. But it felt good walking back to the hotel with a winning smile.

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