Camden Yards

Oriole Park at Camden Yards was our favorite of the East Coast trip. It might have been how comfortable we were in orange and black or the fact that it was first of the “retro” ballparks. Lets say the granddad of AT&T Park.

Before the game we visited the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum. We followed the painted baseballs on the pavement from Camden Yards to Babe Ruth’s home. The museum was filled with photographs, old jerseys and the actual bed he was born in. The exhibit has the 500 club featuring players who have hit 500 home runs. Giants were well represented with Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Barry Bonds.

We saw the Orioles vs Royals on Friday, May 25th 2012. 2012 was also the 20th anniversary of the ballpark. We arrive over two hours early and they had Eutlaw Street open with shops and restaurants in the historic B&O warehouse building.  We tried out the new Dempseys Brew Pub & Restaurant, co-owned by Rick Dempsey, former MVP Oriole and broadcaster. Then we went straight to the legendary Boog’s Barbeque and Boog Powell was there himself. Delicious BBQ…Baltimore is all about their pit beef.  We watched batting practice and walked around the concourse.

Now for the part my husband was waiting for, the National Anthem. We saw a preview of this tradition when they played the Nationals a couple days earlier. Baltimore fans are known for replacing “oh say” with “O!” during the National Anthem. Highly controversial, but it was fun to be apart of.

The game was fantastic and the fans had so much spirit. It wasn’t a sold out game, but was well represented. The fans were synchronized in their cheers and traditions. Adam Jones was a beast and ended up winning the game.

The Oriole Bird Mascot was seriously one of the best. He was spirited and got the crowd into it. He would distract the pitchers and bring fans on top of the dugout to dance.

So glad they are reintroducing the oriole bird’s head as their official logo. It hasn’t been used by the Orioles organization since 1988.  Inspiring fans and players and this video “Put a Bird on It”

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Nationals Park

Baseball returned to Washington DC in 2005. The new and current stadium was built in 2008, the first LEED-certified green MLB major stadium. DC is a hard sports town. First, most people aren’t from DC. Secondly, baseball has been in and out of DC for years.

We went to a Nationals vs Orioles game on Sunday, May 20th 2012 with my husband Derek and his brother and sister in law. It was very easy to get to the park. Metro stops literally in front. There are also parking lots nearby. Ours was literally in left field, which provided a strange backdrop during the game. The main entrance is through the outfield. The presidents (from the presidents races) were greeting fans and taking pictures.

Very open stadium with lots of room to walk around. Concessions are easy to find and have separate checkout station to keep the line moving. Why doesn’t every stadium do this? We only had one food in mind and that was Ben’s Chili Bowl. Half smoked dog with their AMAZing chili. Really what do they do to it???

Now to the game. The Nationals have been incredible this year, first time really in their history. They played the Orioles, an inter-league game.  We were lucky enough to see Stephen Strasberg pitch. He actually hit a home run as well.  Also, Bryce Harper is something to watch. He was the first round draft pick in 2010.

My second favorite part, after the game was the Presidents Race. During the fourth inning George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt. The funniest part is Teddy has never won a race because he trips, gets confused, or talks to fans. He once got disqualified because he passed the other Rushmores by driving in a golf cart. There is even a blog cheering Teddy on. Also, you can’t forget their mascot, Screech who is a bald eagle. My husband is obsessed with mascots and rates ballparks based on them. He couldn’t take his eyes off of him. He got the crowd going.

My only complaint was that the park didn’t have much of “DC” feel. I felt like you could replace the Nationals sign with any other team and it wouldn’t change anything. The only DC character is that you can see the US Capital building and their our cherry trees are planted in the centerfield plaza.

Wonderful park though. Really one of my favorites of the trip.

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