|Me, at the birthplace of the Babe|
Today I made what is possibly the craziest journey I’ve ever made just to watch a baseball game. I left my house at 6 AM this morning to get on a plane to Baltimore to see the Twins play the Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and at the moment, I am back at BWI where I will get on a 9:35 PM flight back to Boston.
In between, in addition to the game, I also visited the Babe Ruth Museum at his birthplace and the Baltimore Sports Museum, which is actually pretty cool, despite my lack of allegiance to anything Baltimore. Namely, they had a really cool way of laying things out in train cars where you sat next to “people” (mannequins) with stories you could hear by pressing a little button next to them. And then of course, there was all the stuff on Babe Ruth (which seemed a little redundant after just coming from the other museum) and Cal Ripken Jr. and Earl Weaver.
Oh, but then there was the game. To set the stage, when I got off the plane it was fucking hot. Pardon the language, but that’s the best way to describe it — 96 F at game time and I swear it got hotter. (The Internet tells me it hit 99 F.) I had really good seats — row 13 directly behind home plate. Unfortunately, they were right out in the sun so I was sweltering. It was hot enough that they were giving away free ice and the attendants were coming by with spray bottles to cool people off.
|The view from my seat: Michael Cuddyer prepares to line out to the shortstop (I think)|
Speaking of hot, that’s what the Twins bats were today, scoring 7 of their 10 runs on homers — including a grand slam from Jason Kubel. Meanwhile, the Orioles were not having the same luck. They scored a quick run in the first off a double and a sac fly and that was pretty much it until after the rain.
Oh yeah, the rain.
A few times throughout the first half of the game, a random rain cloud would blow through sprinkling us with big dollops of raindrops. The cool water was actually quite welcome as it never lasted more than a minute and remained sunny (and hot!)… until the 7th inning, that is. All of the sudden, out of nowhere, the skies opened up and a thunderstorm rolled in. With a 3-1 count to Matt Wieters, the Baltimore catcher, the tarps came out and the game was on delay. Because of the thunder and lightning — quite incredible thunder and lightning — those of us who didn’t go home weren’t allowed to stay in our seats. However, we were treated to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony of Whitey Herzog and Andre Dawson.
After about an hour, the storm passed, the tarp was rolled back, and Wieters at bat resumed — but with a different pitcher for the Twins and a lot fewer fans in the park. Jose Mijares quickly finished off the O’s in the 7th. Rookie Jason Repko hit a dinger in the top of the 9th to put the Twins up 10-1. It seemed like the game would end in moments, but Gardenhire had decided to give struggling pitcher Nick Blackburn a chance in the 8th and 9th.
Part of the rotation up until about a week ago, Blackburn did fine in the 8th. But in the 9th — man, it was like he wanted to make it close! He gave up three quick hits and a run before retiring two. But then he gave up another pair of hits and two more runs. I wondered if the Twins would get someone up in the bullpen just in case, but no — Miguel Tejada popped out to Alexi Casilla and the game was over.