After a months-long (first world) struggle, I ended up here on Monday morning. My friend Brian and his wife Jen live ten minutes from Camden Yards now, and I hadn't seen them in so long that I actually had to dust off some birthday presents I'd been waiting to give them. I decided long ago I'd take this trip and just hope the Orioles would at some point release tickets to non-season-ticket-holders. If I couldn't get tix, at least I'd get to see my friends. After a sleet-filled (but also Ivan "Iron Man" Stewart's Super Off Road
-filled) Sunday in the Charm City, I woke up Monday to find out that finally, but not until day-of-game, the O's dumped some tix. I woke Brian up and we frantically worked on multiple devices, and after some near-misses, came up with two standing room tickets, at $15 each. The lowest ticket price as of the night before on the crap-ondary market had been over $100.
At that point we knew we could leisurely drive over to the ballpark and be some of the first people in line at the gates. Beautiful day. And almost all Orioles fans. Their little plan worked, but they couldn't keep me
out. We went inside, and after finding out that the left field seats were open only to, guess who, season ticket holders, we headed to the infield for batting practice.
Here I'm telling Brian that I must have taken more pics of David Ortiz than any other human being.
Castiglione out on the field.
Napoli's beard still in full force.
Xander almost got nailed with a stray warm-up toss. He and Grady laughed about it afterwards.
My official "favorite Red Sox," who unfortunately hasn't pitched in a really long time, Andrew Miller.
Two more world champs.
When we realized Papi was about to hit, we went out to the right field flag court where I got this shot of the original 1954 foul pole (I had no idea) from Memorial Stadium. Papi then hit a ton of balls out there, each one bounding up and hitting the warehouse and floating back down to a scrum of ball-wanters. One direct hit destroyed a glass, sending a hundred shards flying in all directions. It served as a nice distraction as I followed the ball as it went under a picnic table. Two other dudes got there first and were rolling on the ground amidst the legs of the people at the table. The ball squirted free and headed toward me at the other side, but finally one of the doofuses at the table reached down for an easy grab.
After BP we took a stroll upstairs.
This is looking out at the street behind left field. Had we not been able to get tickets, the plan was to "watch the game at a bar or something." After seeing this sight I was mega
-glad we got tix.
Baltimore. And some of the football stadium.
Opening Day logo on the field.
Opening Freakin' Day.
An usher claimed he was a "cameraman" and took this shot of Brian and me, which I only brightened a little to keep a slight air of mystery.
Here we are 14 years earlier on our couch in Danbury.
A close-up of a warehouse window. I did this for the reflection, and only later noticed the Ripken bobbleheads.
Bootleg panorama #2.
We went out to right field to stake out a spot at 2:00. The game was at 3:00. I was happy to get second row. Then the people in front of us left. Suddenly we were at the rail
for Opening Day, for 15 bucks, after wondering for months if we'd get in at all. Above, the rolling out of the orange carpet.
Looking along the railing. Grady Sizemore would hit a homer about ten people to our right.
And looking left--we were the first people in fair territory, besides the camera men.
The view. Was 60 and sunny at game time, with wind. By the 6th, I was rolling up my sleeves. The sun was key, though. Shade people had a crappy experience on this day. But it was March after all.
Xander hugs Papi.
The Red Sox in the dugout.
New for 2014 for the O's: The 60th anniversary patch, and the Tom Clancy one.
Poor Emily, she's stuck with last year's jersey.
That bird with his flag.
Each O got his own fireworks.
Your 2014 Boston Red Sox.
First pitch of the season! If you can find the ball in this shot, you're good.
My favorite non-pitcher, Will Middlebrooks, playing "third base" in a shift.
Grady up, Carp on. And then I pretty much focused on the game and put my camera away.
Toward the end, we went to the left field SRO, and I was right by the bullpen mound. Here's Taz...
...and here's Koji. Too bad we didn't need him. Sox lose, 2-1.