4-6-12 Camden Yards Opening Day

Amy, Olivia and I got up at 6AM today in order to drive to Baltimore to catch the Orioles home opener.  Amy and Olivia had never experienced an Opening Day (Amy always has to work them) so they were both excited.

Fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak teamed up with me on this trip, and we all left around 6:50 AM.  After a stop, we arrived at the Camden Yards gates at 11:20 AM and were fourth in line.

It was pretty chilly today, so Nick and I played catch for a bit to stay warm while Amy and Olivia snuggled together.  At 12 noon, all of the gates opened.  Every gate in the park.  There would be no season ticket holder only time today.

PNC Park did the same thing yesterday.  However, Camden Yards opened their gates three hours early, while PNC Park opened theirs two.

Upon entering, the Orioles players were playing catch along the first base line, and had yet to begin batting practice.

I was able to get Matt Wieters to toss me ball #1 on the day.  It helped that there weren’t many other fans around.  Fellow ballhawk and Baltimore regular Matt Hersl congratulated me on the first ball of the 2012 season.  He told me that ironically, he got the first ball of the 2011 season – from Matt Wieters.

Since I was the first one to get a ball, I decided to move back about 10 rows so the other ballhawks could try their luck.  I also thought that maybe a player would see me in my Ripken jersey and long toss me.  As I was walking up the stairs I spotted an Easter Egg.

It was only about three rows up, so it likely was an overthrow that the players had while warming up before the gates opened.

Anyhow, I headed out to left field once batting practice got under way.  The first Orioles group didn’t display much power, but I did snag a ground rule double here:

It actually tipped off my glove, but I recovered to pick it up in the row in front of me.

As batting practice progressed, left field got more and more crowded, so I spent some time going back and forth between left field and center field.

While in center field I glove tricked ball #4:

and ball #5 from the gap:

I saw ball#5 get bobbled by fans in the front row while I was in left field.  So, when I used the glove trick, I offered it to the fans nearby, asking if one of them had dropped it down there.  They just smiled and shook their heads no.  Nice people.

Near the end of the Orioles BP, I noticed that the Twins all came out to warm up.  I made my way from center field to the third base line and was able to get this player to toss me ball #6.  After throwing me the ball, he headed straight to third base to take grounders.  Can I get some help on who this is?

After snagging the ball, I took a closer look at it, and it was an Orioles Park 20th anniversary commemorative ball.  That made my day.

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The Twins are very heavily left handed, so I spent their entire batting practice in center field.  While there, I glove tricked another ball, after which an Orioles staff member came down to speak with me.  He wanted to know what I was doing.  I explained it to him and he told me how he thought I was lowering things down onto the field to get signed because of the pen that is attached to my glove.  I told him, “I just use it to get the balls out of the gap, I’m not putting it on the field, is that ok?”  He responded by telling me, “By all means, you’re more than welcome to do that.  Me and a fellow employee we’re just wondering is all.”

Everyone is so nice on Opening Day.

My eighth ball of batting practice was a clean catch of a line drive home run here:

There were several arms flailing for it, and I just took a few steps down the stairs and made the clean catch.

It was my 8th ball of the day, which tied a personal best for me at Camden Yards.  I had snagged eight there two other times.  Batting practice was about over, so I headed over to the Twins dugout to try and get #9:

It didn’t happen though, but I was still more than happy with 8:

After BP, Amy, Olivia and I made our way to our seats.

Olivia had her own special seat that ‘the Easter Bunny’ brought her:

She really took everything in:

One of the cool things about Opening Day is the ceremonies that precede the game.  Here are the Twins lining up on the field:

And the Orioles came out of the bullpen area on a long Orange Carpet:

Here’s a video of the Orioles introductions:

And the National Anthem.  You always know you’re in Baltimore when the song reaches the “Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner…”  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch the Anthem:

It was a great Opening Day.  The Orioles ended up winning the game 4-2.  This was the view from our seats:

And here are today’s baseballs:

Amy bought me this shirt:

She’s the best!

2012 Stats:
Game: 8 Balls
Season: 13 Balls
Career: 1,557 Balls
Attendance: 46,773 (I think this may be the largest attended game I’ve ever been at)

Don’t forget about the Shirt giveaway – this Sunday.

11 Comments

That looks like a great game! I am almost done with my blog post about my game at PETCO Park, which really expresses my frustration from the game.

So cool that you’ve ALREADY snagged one of their commemoratives! Nice!
~Matt

Looks like you guys had an awesome trip!

Nice day to get you on track! I am no help on that Twin. So many new faces. My first game will be the Royals home opener next Friday in KC. I know you had said that you were thinking of going there. I love that place. Underrated city and great ballpark.

Big Glove Bob

I have no clue to who that player is… Congrats on catching 8 baseballs! Looks like you, Amy, and Olivia had a great time!
-Quinn from nybisons
http://www.nybisons.mlblogs.com

Sounds like you had a good day at Camden Yards. Nice commemorative baseball.
-Ethan
http://teenredsfan.mlblogs.com/

Season ticket holder early entry does not apply to day games at PNC Park
http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/pit/ticketing/sth/faq.jsp

The 2012 PNC Park gate times for Season Ticket Holders only are as follows:

For Monday through Friday night games, Season Ticket Holders may enter the ballpark and into the Left Field Bleachers 2 hours and 30 minutes prior to game time.
On Saturday night games, Season Ticket Holders are permitted to enter into the Left Field Bleachers and main concourse 2 hours and 30 minutes prior to game time.
Early access is granted by entering through the Riverwalk Gate (Clemente/Centerfield gate) and proceeding to the bullpen gates where Season Ticket Holders can then show their Season Ticket Holder card or have their season ticket scanned.
Season Ticket Holder early entry is not valid for day games (12:35pm, 1:35pm and 4:05pm).

Wow, sounds like you had a nice trip. I am currently commenting FROM Oriole Park, so we’ll see how well it goes for me. I’ll be satisfied if I snag half the balls you did. Although I don’t know how I’ll get that last half ball.
-Mateo
http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

I gotta get one of those shirts!

great day, nice pics, good game to start the year off, I gota get that comm ball that is sweet looking, good performances in baltimore

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