Results tagged ‘ Camden Yards ’

4-28-12 Camden Yards

I almost didn’t go to this game.  The forecast called for a 50% chance of rain.  Nick Pelescak decided not to go.  So, around 11 AM, Amy and I were sitting talking about what we were going to do for the day, she really wanted to go to Baltimore as she, like I, enjoy traveling.  I looked at the hourly forecast one more time before leaving:

I figured if it did rain, I should at least be able to get a ball from an Athletics pitcher with my A’s jersey with a gold (pirates) sweatshirt underneath.

We arrived at the stadium at 3:55, and there were literally 20 people ahead of us.

Its a good thing that we got there when we did because 30 minutes later, the line snaked far off into the distance out of view.

Everyone was here to see the unveiling of the Frank Robinson statue in center field and get their replica statue giveaway.

The gate surprising opened a couple minutes early, so I made a mad dash around the stadium into left field.  You may be able to see me in the picture below, I’m wearing an orange shirt:

I got on the board early as I caught a Robert Andino home run on the fly here:

I had to run a section and a half to make the catch, but it felt good to get on the board early, especially as I was worried about the stands crowding up quickly.  Unfortunately, the ball wasn’t a commemorative.

Not long later, an Orioles lefty hit a home run near the bullpen that I ran over and caught barehanded as it bounced off of a seat.  Commemorative!

During the Orioles last group, I ditched the left field bleachers because I felt I had a better chance of getting a ball from an Athletics pitcher or two or three.

There weren’t many people there, and I had A’s gear on, so I was hoping that they’d hook me up.  Jerry Blevins did when he was done, tossing me a commemorative ball:

But he was the only pitcher to toss me one, so I returned to left field.

Coco Crisp was hitting some bombs, and one of his liners rolled to the warning track.  I had told the folks in the front row that I’d give them the ball if they let me get it, so they let me glove trick.  When I pulled it up I noticed it was a brand new white shiny Oriole Park commemorative.  I asked the guy who moved to his left for me if he’d accept another ball, since I wanted the Orioles Park one, he said he didn’t care, he just wanted a ball, so I gave him one of my decoy ones that I brought from home.

It was only 5:33 and I had 4 balls, not bad for a half hour.  But then, the groundscrew came out and put the tarp on, ending the A’s batting practice shortly after it had gotten started.  It had been lightly sprinkling, but nothing that the A’s couldn’t have hit through.  I was very disappointed.  I decided to run over to the dugout to try to get a ball as the A’s made their way off the field, but was too late.

At the dugout, I noticed a player sitting in the corner signing autographs.  It was Yoenis Cespedes.  Yes, THE Yoenis Cespedes – the player who I came all the way from Pittsburgh to see take batting practice.

I joined the small group of autograph seekers huddled in the front row and passed Yoenis the shiny new commemorative that I had just glove tricked in left field moments earlier.

He signed the ball:

He seemed very quiet and humble – Baltimore ballhawk Avi Miller said that he’d been signing each day for every fan that asked.

The trip was not a waste at all, even though 60% of BP got rained out.  Not only did I get four baseballs and a Cespedes autographed baseball, I also got four Frank Robinson statues:

Believe it or not, I sold all 4 statues within 12 hours on ebay for $57 each with shipping included.  So, I made $200 on those 4 giveaways.  I could’ve made so much more money.  As it was raining, I walked around the seating bowl looking for baseballs and came across at least 12 abandoned Frank Robinson statues that I suppose I could’ve just picked up.  I didn’t though.  I was torn – did the people just forget them?  They probably didn’t even care if they were just going to leave them there in the rain…  Oh well.

Here’s today’s baseballs:

Sweet spots:

The Yoenis ball is #1628, which is unnumbered because I’m no longer numbering glove trick balls with a clean sweet spot for the purpose of getting them signed.

It turned out to be a great trip for Amy, Olivia and I.  After BP we went out to eat in Baltimore because we didn’t want to stay at the game if there were going to be off an on showers.

One last pic with the Cespedes autograph:

Stats:
Game: 4 balls
Season: 84 balls
Games: 15 games
Lifetime: 1,628 balls
Attendance: 26,926

The Construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards

The Baltimore Orioles are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards this year.  Its a big season for the Orioles as they attempt to fight their way out of the cellar while celebrating the stadium that started the ballpark revolution of the 1990’s.

I did some poking around some websites and found some great pictures of Camden Yards as it was being built.

I hope you enjoy.

Also, I’ll be in Baltimore on opening day, in hopes of snagging one of these commemorative baseballs that the Orioles will be using this year:

Camden Yards looks like this now:

But it once was a pile of dirt

and a vacant warehouse that would be transformed into one of the most beautiful ballparks in the US.

Incorporating the B&O Warehouse, which was built in 1899, was a fantastic idea.  It brought us back to the old days of baseball, where stadiums were built to fit into the surrounding neighborhoods.

Here’s the outer side of the B&O Warehouse, facing away from the stadium.  Just ahead, you see the building that now houses the Babe Ruth museum.

The Warehouse sat dormant for over 20 years, rotting… until 1992.

That’s when the Orioles completely renovated it to house offices, a team store, restaurants, a ticket office, etc.  What a view.

Here’s the foundation of where the center field seats would later be built:

The unfinished exterior of Camden Yards… (is that a real kid in the picture?)

Construction began in 1989

And it took 33 months of work to get the stadium completed.

It was built by HOK Sport, and was the first of the retro ballparks.

There’s really not a bad seat in Oriole park.  The field is beautiful, the layout is gorgeous, and the Warehouse looming beyond right field is awesome.

Anyone have any idea what part of the stadium this is?  A possible hidden chamber underneath the field or seats?

It looks like the upper deck was the first structure put in place.  The lower level still looks a mess in this picture:

The stadium by the way cost $110 million to build.  By today’s standards, that’s about $180 million.  In contrast with other stadiums that have been built, that’s pretty cheap.

Could this be a flag pole out in the famous right field ‘flag court?’

Possibly…

How excited were the people of Baltimore when this stadium was being built?  Anyone have any personal stories that lived in Baltimore during this time?

The playing surface at Camden Yards is Kentucky Bluegrass.

Once the grass starts getting installed, you know that the end of construction must be close.

A worker takes a breather to look at the beauty that surrounds him:

A view from center field.  The upper level looks just about finished.

Looking towards left field into center field.

A view down the left field line from the second deck:

The stadium looks almost complete except for the lower level seating bowl.

One of the final touches is constructing the giant scoreboard in center field.

Since the stadium opened in 1992, millions have people have enjoyed baseball there, including me.  I’ve been there 9 times, making the four hour drive from Pittsburgh.

Maybe one day soon, the Orioles will get their organization turned around like the Rays did in 2008 to be an annual contender.  In the meantime, at least they have a beautiful venue to play ball in.

There’s only 35 days until opening day, and 2 days until the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies). And, just 3 more days to win this LA Dodgers shirt.

By the way, welcome to March.  Opening Day will be here before we know it. 

Also, thank you for reading! February 2012 was my second busiest month in the history of this blog.  We logged 11,000 views in the month.  I’ll keep turning out the entries daily as long as you keep reading.  I’m looking forward to doing some ballhawking entries soon!  Opening weekend is going to be very busy for me.

6-29-11 Camden Yards

Amy and I decided to head down to Baltimore for a couple games to see the Cardinals take on the Orioles.  We checked into the hotel, and Amy rested at the hotel while I left to go to batting practice.

The first ball I got was an absolute bomb that hit at the back of the seats near the bullpens and bounced back towards the field where I caught it.

Ball #2 was hit by another Orioles batter towards the foul pole.  I simply jogged over and picked it up easy.

My third ball was cheap, but it was still #3.  It was a ball that was misplayed by another ballhawk and bounced into the row in front of him where I snagged it with my glove.

Ball #4 was a clean catch here:

I barely had to move.  I’m not sure who hit any of the balls, but the first Orioles group was really good.  I mean really good.  I had snagged four balls from one group alone, but two other ballhawks had snagged five and I think six.  Impressive.  And they were all batted balls too.

The Orioles final group sucked, so I didn’t get my fifth ball until the Cardinals came out to hit.  It was tossed to me by pitcher Trever Miller, who I remember was the one pitcher who tossed up baseballs at PNC Park in recent series.

I moved over to center field when I saw a home run land in the gap in center field.  I was able to glove trick it for ball #6, but not without some difficulty.  It took four tries, but I was able to reel it in.

My seventh ball was a ground rule double that I caught next to a mom.  I immediately handed the ball over which she gave to her child.  She may have been able to make the play, but she was gloveless, so who knows.

My eighth ball was a clean catch of a Colby Rasmus HR with some competition from behind here:

No clue who hit it.

After batting practice, I went back to the hotel to explore Baltimore and go eat.

We made our way to the inner harbor,

and took a few photos.  One of the bonuses of ballhawking outside of Pittsburgh is that its like a mini-vacation.  I go to BP for an hour, and then I get to spend the rest of the time with the love of my life.  Can’t beat that!
We headed towards Barnes and Noble:

And saw the Hard Rock Cafe:

I ordered a California Club sandwich.

It was bad.   I felt like I was eating a salad sandwich with chicken, there was one thin fillet.  Not impressed.

While we were out, the citizens of Baltimore were extra friendly.  We kept getting warm smiles every where we turned, then it dawned on me.

It was because of our baby.

We walked around a little more before heading back to our hotel.  Baltimore isn’t as bad as the Wire portrays.  At least not the few blocks we saw.

Here are today’s baseballs (only 7 pictured because 1 was given away):

Sweet spots:

Statistics:
Game: 8 balls (6 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season:  259 balls (107 hit, 54 thrown, 61 device, 28 found)
Games: 44 games
Average:  5.87 balls per game
Career:  1,381 balls
Attendance: 17,405

8-9-10 Camden Yards

With the Pirates hitting the road for San Diego, I thought about flying along with them to snag my one thousandth baseball at a stadium I’d never visited before.  I decided against it, since it’d be cheaper to do a couple day trips to Baltimore on Monday and Cleveland on Tuesday.  And so, I hit the road for Baltimore.
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I never fared well at Camden Yards.  Prior to today my ballpark high was six balls in one game.
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8-4-10 Camden Yards

The day started out with me swinging by PNC Park.
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I looked in the Left Field gate at 10:30 am and didn’t see any signs of cages or screens.  There would be no batting practice – understandable, since last night’s game didn’t end until around 11:15 PM.

So, I went home and checked the weather for Baltimore.  It was looking a little iffy.
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STATISTICS:
Game:  5 balls (1 hit, 1 device, 3 found)
Season:  379 balls (193 hit, 84 thrown, 44 device, 49 found)
Games: 58 games
Average:  6.53 balls per game
2010 Game Balls: 5
Career:  957 balls
Streak:  154 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance: 13,467

4-10-10 Camden Yards

I decided to take a little road trip this weekend.  My first stop was Baltimore’s Camden Yards.
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I had been to the stadium several times last season, with little success.  My best showing was a six ball day against the Mets, but other than that I have had terrible luck there.  Luckily, at least the weather had decided to cooperate, as it was a nice spring day.
100_2420.jpgI left about half way through the game to drive to Philadelphia.  The
plan was to stay overnight in Philadelphia, and then wake up early the
next morning and drive the rest of the way to New York City.

I was able to watch the Pirates at Diamondbacks live on the drive from Baltimore to Philadelphia. 
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MLB At-Bat for the Iphone.  Love it.  Don’t worry, I took this photo moments before leaving the Orioles’ parking lot, I wasn’t driving at that point.  Also, I did put my seat belt on after taking the photo.

Today’s baseballs:
100_2513.jpgSweet spots:
100_2512.jpgSTATISTICS:
Game:  3 balls (3 hit)
Season:  12 balls (8 hit, 0 thrown, 4 device)
Games: 3 games
Average:  4.00 balls per game
Career:  590 balls
Streak:  99 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  21,148

2009 through 3 games: 13 balls, 1 behind last year’s pace.

8-15-09 Oriole Park at Camden Yards

I was back in Bird Town for the second time this week.
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Since the Orioles had a left hander starting, the Angels would have plenty of right handed bats hitting (since they have a fair share of switch hitters).  I felt quite confident that I’d be able to improve on my three ball showing from this past Monday.

I arrived at Camden Yards at 3:45ish, and saw this:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  2 balls (2 thrown)
Season:  281 balls (142 hit, 87 thrown, 52 device)
Games: 59 games (6 of which didn’t have BP)
Average:  4.76 balls per game
Career:  447 balls
Streak: 
74 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  28,770

2009 By Stadium:
Camden Yards 4 games 13 balls (9 hit, 3 thrown, 1 device)   3.25 balls per game

8-10-09 Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Since the Pirates are out of town for a week, and I’d like to snag my 500th career ball sometime in 2009, I decided that I needed to make a road trip or two this week.  My first stop would be Camden Yards in Baltimore.

I attended this game with two friends, one of whom is in the ballhawk league (Andrew). 

We arrived at 3:30 and got our tickets.  There are two gates that open at 5:00.  The Eutaw Street gate near the Babe Ruth statue…
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And the one on the opposite end, nearest to the right field foul pole. 
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Which didn’t happen.

We stayed l
ong enough to watch all of the batters from each team hit, and then left the game early.  We had a four hour + drive, and made it back home a bit after midnight.

Here are today’s baseballs:
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And the sweet spots:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  3 balls (3 hit)
Season:  263 balls (137 hit, 84 thrown, 42 device)
Games: 56 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average:  4.70 balls per game
Career:  429 balls
Streak:  71 consecutive games attended with at least 1 ball snagged.
Attendance:  14,688

6-18-09 Camden Yards

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I decided to make one final trip this week to see a baseball game outside of Pittsburgh.  My brother joined me for the four hour drive down to Baltimore.  We arrived about an hour before the gates opened, and were the first ones in the park.

I ran to the right field foul pole to get early entrance with the season ticket that I had bought, and sprinted around the seating bowl.  When I got to left field, I had it all to myself for about 2-3 minutes. 

I found ball #1 laying in the front row.

Ball #2 was a home run hit by Adam Jones into the section closest to the bullpen.  I sprinted over and back several rows to pick up my second ball of the day.

Minutes later, Matt Wieters hit a line drive home run in my direction.  I ran to the spot where I thought the ball was going to land and got there just in time to make the catch of ball #3.  I was aided by the fact that there weren’t many season ticket holders that come to week day games.  Look at the crowd at 5:15:
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STATISTICS:
Game:  6 balls (4 hit, 1 thrown, 1 device)
Season:   198 balls (98 hit, 72 thrown, 28 device)
Games: 38 games (5 of which didn’t have BP)
Average:  5.21 balls per game
Career: 364 Balls
Attendance: 23,009

4-25-09 Oriole Park at Camden Yards

100_1023.jpgI was looking forward to my first ever trip to Camden Yards.  I should’ve known that something was up though because before leaving, I filled up my half empty gas tank with 6.66 gallons of gas.  Not good.

I drove to Baltimore and checked into the Ramada Lord Baltimore (Radisson) hotel. 
100_0989.jpgAnd right before 5PM, there were hundreds of people that snaked off into the distance and behind the Sports Museum.

This was not a good sign for batting practice.

The gates opened and I ran into right field first.   It would be the last time I would run for somewhile.  There was me and some other guy in the section.  I long home run was hit within the first minute.  It landed about 10 rows behind me, closer to the other guy.  He ran to get the ball.  I also ran to get the ball.  We both ran to where the ball had landed but couldn’t find it.  I then noticed some movement under the seats.  It was rolling down the stairs under the seats.  It was two rows ahead of me.  I attempted to stradle a row of chairs to get to it quickly.  The drop must’ve been more than I expected because my foot landed awkwardly and immediately rolled over.  I went down like a pile of bricks.  The other guy saw what happened and ran over and snatched the ball.  I was in a lot of pain.  I had to sit down for a couple minutes.  I tried to stand up but couldn’t walk.  My ankle was in bad shape.  Should I go home or continue on? 

I toughed it out and limped over to left field.  Since I had season tickets for this game, I had an extra 30 minutes with only season ticket holders.  There were a few balls hit out, but I had absolutely no range.  Usually I can cover at least one full section to my left or right to chase a home run.   Now?  Maybe 2-3 seats either way.  A home run landed near me, but I wasn’t able to get to it in time.  Some teenager ran over and grabbed it and screamed “It’s mine!!!”  and started celebrating like he had caught Joe Carter’s 1993 Game 7 World Series walk off home run.  I really wasn’t in the mood. 

Several minutes later another home run hit and bounced diagonally directly to me.  I bent over gingerly and picked up ball #1

Right before the stadium opened to the general public, another home run was hit.  It was directly at me.  I barely had to move.  I caught the home run on the fly.&
nbsp; It was ball #2.

The stadium really filled up with people.  Being from Pittsburgh, it was by far the most crowded batting practice I had ever seen. 
100_1007.jpgI was extremely irritated. 

The Rangers must have been having their own Home Run Derby competition, because it was insane the amount of home runs they were hitting, and how far they were hitting them.  Josh Hamilton hit one over the batter’s eye, and peppered a few more off of it.  He was also hitting opposite field shots into the left field seats.  Balls were landed a good 25 rows back.

I wasn’t able to get anything though.

I went over to center field to check out the bullpens.  There was 10 balls sitting in the grassy area to the right of the bullpens beneath the batters eye.  I met and chatted with another ballhawk who said that the pitching coach usually comes out and tosses the balls up.  There was one ball at the very back that was about 10 feet out.  However, it was a big drop between the seats and the grassy area against the batters eye.  I would’ve used the glove trick, but I figured I’d save myself the aggravation and just wait for the pitching coach.   

An Orioles bullpen catcher came out and started getting the balls.  Myself and the other ballhawk asked politely for the balls.  He totally ignored us.  He gathered all of the balls, most if not all were hit by Texas Rangers, and put them in the ball bag.  I’m real sure that pitchers want to warm up with balls that were crushed 420+ feet.    No wonder the Orioles lost today.

I took my seat in the 6th row, almost directly behind home plate.
100_1024.jpgIt was pretty good foul ball territory, since I was right on the aisle.

I took a few shots of the game.
100_1025.jpgJosh Hamilton:
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100_1017.jpgNick Markakis got the biggest ovation of the night from Orioles fans.

I ended up leaving the game in the 4th inning as I noticed a huge bulge in my sock.  My ankle was swollen really bad.  After sitting down for a few innings, I could barely even walk.  I made it to the outside of the stadium and flagged down a taxi to take me back to my hotel room.
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I snapped this picture in the mirror of the balls I caught today.  I wasn’t happy.
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I had tickets for Sunday’s game, but found a buyer for them.  They came and picked up the tickets on Sunday morning at my hotel.  There was just no way I could go to the game.  I’m at home now, and can’t put any substantial weight on my ankle without pain.

Hopefully my ankle can heal enough so I can get to some games this week.

STATISTICS:
Game:  2 Balls (2 hit)
Season:  50 Balls  (19 hit, 25 thrown, 6 device)
Games:  11 Games (9 with BP, 2 without)
Average:   4.55 Balls per Game
Career:  216 Balls
Attendance:  41,160

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