This was my first game in Baltimore since Game 1 of the 2014 ALDS, and for the first time ever at this stadium, I was with a personal videographer for my YouTube channel. Here’s the spot we chose for my intro:
Although I didn’t mention it on video, I was concerned about the weather, and sure enough, when I headed inside at 5pm, I was bummed to see the tarp on the field:
This was very very NOT good, mainly because the Yankees were in town. Not only was batting practice wiped out, but there was going to be lots of competition for toss-ups.
Thankfully, after switching into my Yankees gear, I was able to get CC Sabathia’s attention (from about 100 feet away). Here he is throwing me a ball:
The ball sailed so far over my head and tailed so much to the right that I didn’t even bother moving at first. Here it is rattling around in the seats:
Luckily the ball bounced back toward me, landed in the folded up portion of a seat, and trickled down onto the wet concrete. Here I am picking it up:
That ball turned out to have a commemorative logo for the Blue Jays’ 40th season:
The Yankees had recently played in Toronto and picked up a bunch of those balls. (Home teams always provide BP balls for the visitors.) Back in April, I’d gotten a few Blue Jays balls from the A’s in Detroit — random, but hey, I’ll take it.
There was no action after that, so I got some Boog’s BBQ — a pork sandwich and baked beans, to be specific:
Then I wandered a bit and pointed out a few things about the stadium for the video.
Did I say there was no action? Sorry, there totally was. Check it out — here’s the ground “removing” the tarp:
There was nothing to do, so I wandered and took a few photos, like this one:
Then I caught up with three of my favorite people at Camden Yards:
That’s Tim Anderson (with a very bruised inner knee) on the left, Alex Kopp (“Customs Broker by day, Ballhawk by night”) in the middle, and Grant Edrington (who appears to have gotten five years younger) on the right.
Take a look at Grant’s glove:
That’s both the best and worst glove I’ve ever seen, but he seems to be doing well with it, so who am I to judge?
There still weren’t any players on the field, so we all hung out and chatted for a while:
For the record, Tim is not nearly as thick as the photo above makes him look. That’s just a weird angle. You should all know that he’s a trim and athletic individual.
In the following photo of Nathan Eovaldi warming up, do you see the guy on the cobblestone walkway, wearing all black, and standing casually as if he doesn’t have a care in the world?
That’s Eddie Fastook, the Executive Director of Team Security for the Yankees. Remember him from this photo last year? I’ve only seen him a few times since then, so it was nice to give him a shout and get a friendly wave in return.
While I hung out there, Brandon got close to Alex Rodriguez:
Too bad I wasn’t there with him. It would’ve been cool to interact with A-Rod on camera.
Here’s where I sat for his first at-bat of the game:
There were many more empty seats than I expected, mostly at the back of the section, so I hoped to take advantage whenever A-Rod stepped to the plate. Unfortunately, when he connected in the 4th inning on his 694th career homer, that ball went to right field. GAH!! Tim and Alex told me later that it landed on the Flag Court near the foul pole, bounced/rolled all way out toward the warehouse, and was picked up by some random guy who happened to be walking along Eutaw Street.
I headed out to the Flag Court at various points in the game:
I also spent a little time behind the plate, hoping for a foul ball:
There was no action anywhere near me.
It’s a good thing I got that toss-up from Sabathia early in the day because (a) I would’ve been freaking out otherwise and (b) I would not have accepted an offer to go up into the warehouse — and look what I would’ve missed out on:
How did I get to be there? Pretty simple, really. While standing around in right field, I was spotted/recognized by a guy who works at Camden Yards. He said he had warehouse access and offered to bring me (and my videographer) along. I just had to promise not to show his face or mention his name to anyone. So yeah, check out this hallway on the fourth floor:
At 1,016 feet, this warehouse is the longest building on the east coast, so of course the hallways are long too.
And now . . . check out the view of the field:
We hung out in the hallway for about 10 minutes, and when we exited at the center-field end of it, I saw this:
I know you’re wondering, and the answer is no. There was no food.
We passed by a receptionist’s area . . .
. . . and then a break room . . .
. . . and past a bunch of cubicles:
That concluded my tour of the warehouse. I’m sure there was much more to see, but the game was almost done, and I wanted to make one final attempt at getting another ball. Can you spot me behind the Orioles’ dugout in the following photo?
Did you notice the ball flying past me in the upper right corner? That was one of half a dozen that got tossed into the crowd. Here I am getting one of them from coach Einar Diaz:
That was it. The Orioles had defeated the Yankees, 6-5, and I only got two baseballs — quite a dip below my average of more than eight per game, but sometimes the circumstances are tough. It was still a fun day.
I decided to do the closing scene for the video on Eutaw Street. We had to do several takes in part because of this guy:
He was rather exuberant, screaming “GO ORIOLES!!” but wearing a Yankees shirt. Enjoy looking at his face here because he didn’t make the final cut in the video. I’m going to post the video soon and add a link to the end of this entry, but you should still subscribe to my YouTube channel. That way you definitely won’t miss it.
• 2 baseballs at this game
• 311 balls in 36 games this season = 8.64 balls per game.
• 546 balls in 60 lifetime games at Camden Yards = 9.1 balls per game.
• 1,202 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 8,944 total balls
My fundraiser for Pitch In For Baseball is now in its eighth season. Once again, people are pledging money for every home run ball that I snag during games. Here’s some info about the fundraiser, and if you donate, you’ll be eligible to win one of these prizes.
• 11 donors for my fundraiser
• $102.77 pledged per game home run ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $411.08 raised this season
• $190,914.74 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009