Ah another year of baseball games have passed (at least for the Orioles, sadly). It’s hard to believe this marks the third year I’ve had a ticket plan that annually brings me down to Charm City.
With the first Orioles winning season since 1997, this year was definitely different from the past in that I attended quite a few sellouts. It was surreal entering a packed ballpark in Baltimore actually rooting for the home team. The ALDS, in particular, blew my mind at just how loud Camden Yards can get. Honestly, it reminded me of how exciting crowds in the Bronx would get, and it’s funny how this marks the first year since 2005 that I won’t be visiting Yankee Stadium (not that I haven’t been given plenty of chances).
Some things I’ve learned: a) Pack bottled water in the car–it’s a life saver on hot summer days. b) Bring big empty bags for giveaways. c) Move my car while in Fells Point for more than 2 hours–or pay for parking, d) Baltimore really does have a zoo! e) Max’s has rare beers dating back to 1992 in an upstairs bar, f) Fort McHenry is pretty g) Switch peanuts with sunflower seeds (much healthier), h) Stadium parking does sell out, and has miraculously become cheaper ($8-$10) than parking downtown ($10-$20+) with the O’s increasing popularity.
Camden Yards at 20
As for changes to the ballpark this year, I’d say it’s only reinforced it as my favorite ballpark.
The new bar overlooking center field provides a very nice view, and I love that (unlike, say, the $150-per-seat Mohegan Sun bar in New York) it’s free for anyone with a ticket. Ironically, I’ll probably never find myself there, as it’s somehow always crowded, plus I’m philosophically-opposed to spending $8 for a Natty Boh.
Beneath is Gino’s Burgers. I’ll confess, I had to try the $18 Camden Giant, a burger topped with a crab cake. The verdict? Great burger (reminded me of In-N-Out), great crab cake, but the two fought each other for flavor. Next time, I’ll get them separately.
As for this year’s hall of famer statues? They look incredible and are a classy touch. No complaints there. I’m figuring the next Orioles player
They added a brewpub to the warehouse, which as I understand has slightly lower prices on non-game days. As for my opinion, I’ll defer to my Yelp review. They also added “The Art of the Game” along with another vendor or two in the warehouse ground floor. All pluses, in my opinion, though I won’t be dropping $15k for an original painting anytime soon.
Late into the season, I noticed they added a neon sign to the warehouse. I’m a little torn on this decision, as it really stands out on the historic building. It better not become the doorway to making the beloved warehouse into Broadway.
As for my goals next season:
- Take my *favorite* sister-in-law to opening day.
- With Andrew’s help, kidnap Chase and force him to watch the White Sox in Clockwork Orange fashion.
- Take my wife to a game (a perpetual challenge) with at least my eldest son in-tow.
- Get Andy, Sara, and Rachel to a game (minus a rainout or move).
- Give Dempsey’s beer a second chance.
- Finally see Geppi’s and the Book Thing.
- Visit the Peabody Library.
- Convince Torchbearer they need to have a company outing and proceed to out-drink my favorite beer blogger.
- Give more consideration to recording a podcast on each ride down (thoughts, anybody?).
- Oh yeah, and use these: