a collection of random thoughts and ideas from me, her, and sometimes us
Category Archives: sports
i’m a lover of bacon like many others. i wouldn’t say it’s my favorite food but a close second or third and can put it on everything. well at camden yards, at the jack daniels stand on eutaw street, they have bacon on a stick. it’s a slab piece of bacon that is grilled/smoked prior to ordering. once ordered by the customer, they get it out of the hot box and dip it in a vat of maple glaze. now, if you thought bacon on a stick was good, maple glazed bacon on a stick is even better. it’s not an every day item, but definitely an occasional snack. watch out, after i ate about half of the bacon, i nearly dropped the other of the bacon on the floor.
oh and it’s a little messy so make sure you get some napkins. i think i had maple glaze on my face until we got into the car. haha. for $5, it was a nice treat and not as expensive as i would expect for ballpark food. it’s meaty and delicious and with that being said, i’d give it an A rating.
this is one of the several new food selections at oriole park at camden yards. next time i might try the crab and mac ‘n cheese hotdog. we also setup a meeting with some of the other partial season ticket holders that sit in our section to try out the new dempsey’s bar. they tried it and although they enjoyed it, they had a really long wait for some carry out soup. i am sure it will get better as the year continues though. @rsharrow had a picture of the new bar on his instagram account last night. it looks pretty good.
have you tried any of the new food selections? beer can chicken, perhaps?
ps… do they have bacon on a stick at the renaissance festival? i’ve never seem them there. guess i was too busy looking at the turkey legs and steak on a stake.
a few weeks ago after baseball promotions came out for all of the local teams, my buddy and i circled the april 14th bobblehead night for strasburg of the nationals. everyone who follows baseball knows that he is a flame thrower and has really brought the fans to the stadium. well, as time went on, he found out that he couldn’t make it so bee said she would go with me. she’s really gotten interested in baseball the last few years now that we have a partial season ticket package to the orioles and i think it makes her happy to see me doing something i enjoy.
since the game didn’t start until 4:05, we decided to do something else we enjoy, check out some great art and with one of my favorite artist’s having a special display at the national gallery of art, we made the trip down earlier in the day. not to mention, we had to get to the stadium early to ensure we got one of these prized bobbleheads. so anyway, we got down there and checked out the Picasso drawings exhibit. the detail and intricacies of his works are incredible and something i really appreciate about his work. the variety of this collection was also large and spanned several decades. there were many different techniques and not just the usual cubism or blue period drawings that one might expect. the detail on some portions of the work versus the other pieces make you wonder what he was thinking or if he was working on his early skills. unfortunately, i didn’t take any pictures in exhibit to post and one guy got yelled at for being on his phone so i didn’t want to be that guy. as we finished with the Picasso drawings, we walked through some of the Degas, Monet, and some Rodin. we didn’t get much time after that to move through many of the other exhibits and there were a ton of people checking out the japanese scrolls exhibit, but we didn’t want to wait or really have time. after we left, we stopped by potbelly for a quick bit to eat and then headed over to Nationals Park to take in a ball game. ps… you can see a full size version of the thinker at the BMA and you won’t have to leave baltimore.
this was bee’s first trip to nationals park and my first one of the season. i made a couple trips down last year to see the orioles play as well as one game against the braves when her dad was in town. once we got there and got our tickets, we waited in line for about 20-30 minutes. we probably could have gone in earlier via the centerfield gate, but didn’t want walk around. plus we were calming down from almost blowing through a red light that i never really saw. those stoplights on the right and not in front of me get me every time. that’s neither here nor there but needless to say, we had a good time after not getting in an accident. we got to see edwin jackson pitch a great complete game. hopefully he signs with the orioles next year. we liked the open air feel of the stadium and the different food selections they have. we got some nachos and a couple free sodas. after the game ended, we went over to bee’s father’s favorite pizza place in rockville. when we called him about it, he recited the phone number exactly even though he now lives in nebraska. giuseppe’s makes a really tasty pizza and has a great crust. it’s more doughy then any other local pizzas that i have had. we left full, happy, and with a burnt roof of my mouth. all in all, we had a great day. enjoyed several of our favorite things to do and even ate some pizza.
as you probably know, i am a big orioles and baseball fan and with the 20th anniversary of camden yards coming up, my wife got us opening day tickets for christmas (or was it my birthday…). anyway, i’ve been to opening several times as a kid and my buddy dan and i went last year. this year, it was bee, myself, my dad, and dan and his dad. well, needless to say, we had a great time.
with all the new renovations to the stadium, we got down to the stadium early around 1230/1245 to take in the events. first we talked around the stadium on the outside to see the brooks robinson statue since we hadn’t been down that way since it was installed. with all the crazy people at pickles we stayed on the other side and took it in from afar. as we got into the eutaw street gate, we saw the new gino’s stand and the patio area above centerfield. we made our way from there to right field and watched some batting practice and then went over to left field and took in some more BP. i just missed a ball by a split second. guess i should have had my glove on instead of keeping it in our bag. haha.
our seats were in section 13, which is different than our partial ticket plan but still under cover. and boy was it windy under there. there was probably at 10 degree difference from the sun to the shade because of the winds that were whipping through the stadium friday. many of the renovations to the stadium looked nice and well done. can’t decide yet if i am fan of the new lower wall in right field. it’s kind of like when they moved home plate so they could add more seats to the stadium. guess we’ll see how it plays as t he year goes on. as the festivities went along and all the players got introduced, it was great to see markakis and wieters be presented with their well deserved gold glove awards. nick should probably have 2 or 3 by now, but you can’t argue giving him one for having an error-less season and playing more than 150 games in RF. the new rules in voting for gold gloves as probably helped make this possible finally.
the game turned out to be a great one too and arrieta pitched a gem. i knew the orioles would win. they have one of the top 3 win/loss records on opening day in all of major league baseball. i’m pretty sure the only boo’ing on the day was when kevin gregg was introduced. poor guy. then again, they might have boo’d troy patton too for letting up a 2 RBI home run in the 9th in. no one boo’d the caped crusader, er, field trespasser though as the baltimore police laid a nice tackle on him. we also missed it because we were in the concourse at the time when a police officer came running by us and down the tunnel.
all in all, it was a great time at the yard and a fun way to spend the day with some family, friends, and new comers to opening day in baltimore, aka a statewide holiday!
it seems like in every major sport these days, there is a large mistake by the officials on a regular basis. granted referreeing isn’t a perfect science and there is only a split second for you to make the decision, but it seems like the obvious calls are being missed and therefore games are being changed because of it. take the syracuse vs. unc asheville game the other night in the second round of the ncaa tournament. an inbound pass goes in and doesn’t even hit a player on unc-a and the ref gives the ball back to syracuse. now granted, this might not have changed the final outcome, but it changed the game at that moment and with such little time on the clock left, there was no way the team could recover. maybe they should have called a foul on unc-a as both players went after the loose ball. as well, in the same game, there was also a shot clock violation that didn’t get called. i didn’t see if that got overturned by replay, but the officials have replay on the court so why not use it when the play is crucial to the game.
The NCAA Coordinator of Officials, John Adams said,
“I’m not going to alibi for the gentlemen in the game. They work their butts off. When you see this call, it’s either a foul or you give it to the other team that didn’t knock the ball out of bounds.”
“He didn’t get it right.”
having umpired baseball for parts of 13 plus years, i know that you can’t be right all the time but a play that like needs to be overruled by the officials. when there is more than 1 official on the floor, you need to get together and make the right call. just now at halftime of the murray st/marquette game, there was a clear walk as the player scored at the buzzer and it counted. unbelievable. it’s not just now and it’s not just basketball. i’m sure every major sport this year had has their fair share of screw ups and i’ve even screwed up before, but it appears to be happening more and more on the national stage, which isn’t good. you never want to put yourself in the game and make a call that can change a game like that.
remember the perfect game that armando galarraga (who is now in orioles camp) had a couple years ago when jim joyce blew the call at first? he later apologized for screwing up the call, but it doesn’t go back and fix the wrong and change history. how many perfect games have there been, ever? 20, in over 100 years.
if you are going to let the players play, let them play. ultimately, you need to be consistent, whether it’s good or bad. be consistent and don’t put yourself out there to make a critical call in correctly. it’s a shame things have been so bad lately, but hopefully it changes so it stops affecting the game adversely. literally, for the love of the game, they need to be better.
you can see the play in syracuse/unc asheville game on youtube.
every player and sports fan even wants to be in their respective hall of fame. lately it seems like some of the hall of fames are under issues. for example, in the NFL HOF, there is always questions about art modell not getting selected as a great contributor or cris carter selected at WR. anyway, in the baseball hall of fame, my gripe is that it always seems like people get in after years of trying. how does this happen when the players stats don’t change after they’ve retired. the main issue here is the baseball writers association of america. the BBWAA is lame. many of these people vote on unwritten rules or made up issues about how they don’t like a guy or that they can’t vote on a first time balloter. a guy like cal ripken jr. doesn’t get a unanimous vote because one or two guys don’t vote for a first ballot guy. the guy that saved baseball and will have a streak that will never be broken. the guy that revolutionized the shortstop position and paved the wave for guys like jeter and a-rod. granted he also grounded into the most double plays in baseball history but if you played 2,632 straight games, you might have a bad stat or two.
anyway, my point is that these guys are voting in players and most of them probably haven’t played a game since rec league if at all. and my main point here is that players who are on the ballot year after year go up and down and might eventually get into the hall because all the sudden these writers think it’s a good time that player to get in. for example, this year, barry larkin was selected as the lone member of the class of 2012. he received 86.4% of the vote, but just last year, he only received 62.1%. the year before that 51.6%. so how does a guy that wasn’t deserving two years ago and only half the writers voted for all the sudden garner a 80%+ vote by the same guys that said two years ago he shouldn’t be in? don’t get me wrong, larkin helped the reds win the world series in 1990 and has some nice stats. he was an all star, gold glover, silver slugger and NL MVP so why of all the sudden does someone completely change their mind and decide to put him in? it’s not like they had a stacked ballot last year for the election with roberto alomar and bret blyleven getting in. you can make this case for many of the people who have gone in over the years. this year as well the late ron santo was elected by the veterans committee. in 1980, santo received 15% of the vote. now with each voter only getting 10 votes and players like willie mays, al kaline, brooks robinson, and others getting elected in the late ’70s/early ’80s, i can see santo not getting in at the time but now he gets elected by the hall of fame veterans committee after not getting much support decades ago.
anyway, at what point do we get a selection committee that puts people in based on merit and ability and not by a group of writers who make a decision on who knows what. it is prestigious and an honor to get into the hall of fame and i hope they would all vote that way. on a side note, according to wikipedia, the sports writers at the baltimore sun aren’t permitted to be in the group by their employers.
i won’t say that the BBWAA is a joke, i just think there has to be a better way to select future HOF members. and who knows, maybe one day roger maris will get inducted. or jack morris.
with the ravens season over, it’s time to focus on baseball season. being born and raised in the baltimore area, i was raised as an orioles fan. growing up with the oriole way was great but not being old enough to remember the ’83 world series and not seeing one since has been a tough way to be a fan. as we all know, the last 14 years have been tough for any orioles fan; however, i can’t give up on them now.
“What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”
having grown up as a baseball fan and playing and umpiring baseball for the vast majority of my life, i always watch the game with a critical eye. i sometimes joke that i’ve forgotten more about the rules of baseball them some people know. we all know this year is going to be a another rough year. there was promise when andy mcphail came in and things went okay and now that he is gone, dan duquette is attempting to put his stamp on this organizations. he’s stirred up things in the front office, but has he done enough? we’ve had a problem developing talent for years now and some of those people that were in charge for the last several years are still around. as far as the talent on the field, i haven’t been blown away. seems like more of the same but on a bigger scale. he’s brought in a lot of decent talent and some older talent as well as a mix of foreign born players. many of these guys are expected to strengthen the organization overall but how many of them will make a splash with the big league club? on the surface, i like some of the deals that they have made.
i would have hoped they showed up and made a splash with a #1 pitcher, especially now that Guthrie has been traded, but there’s two sides to everything and one of those guys would have to want to come here as well. now we have a chance with the guys like wada, ayala, hammel, eveland, and a cast of others who we have signed to bolster up a rotation with guys who hopefully have bright futures like britton, matusz, arrieta, and tillman.
they’ve also worked to bolster up the other position players. when i say worked, we don’t know if they will work or if anyone of the trades/signings are any good. right now, none of them remind me of the hardy trade last year but hopefully they will turn into a nugget as showalter would say. i’ll leave all the advance stats and sabremetrics up to the experts like camden crazies and camden depot, but on my gut feel, and i know many of the others feel the same way, it’s going to be a tough season. last year, i had great hope for the team. at the start of the season , i had them at .500 or better, but this year, i think its going to a struggle to even get there.
this year as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of oriole park at camden yards, i am going to continue to enjoy the team and the stadium. for the second year, bee has gotten us a partial game plan for my birthday. it’s been different the last couple years enjoying the game through the eyes of someone who is new to the game. when we get to the stadium, i enjoy watching the game through her eyes and explaining many of the different aspects of the game to her. having been to at least 150 games, from memorial stadium to camden yards, it’s neat to see someone who is new to the sport. i’ve seen great games, terrible games, games in final week of the streak, the orioles vs. cuba game, fireworks games, and many more. this year, again, we will cheer on her favorite player, nick markakis and many others, and give it the old college try. just like the orioles.
what’s next? who knows what will happen. maybe, for a lost generation of orioles fans who haven’t seen a winning team, we will see a billy beane like season and make a run to better than .500 and make a run at the postseason.
see you at the yard! i’ve met lots of great people there over the years so stop by!
as you might have noticed if you follow my twitter feed, i attended orioles fanfest today with other loyal fans of this great franchise. since the last 14 years haven’t been the greatest, this annual event is one where friends turn out to see what the team has done in the offseason and where the brass thinks the team is going this year.
i arrived at the convention center right around 10 am when event opened for season ticket holders. unfortunately my buddy jason couldn’t attend this year since his wife gave birth to their first child a little over a week ago so i ventured downtown alone this year. fanfest is a nice combination of orioles player and personnel Q&A, autographs, giveaways, and other activities for kids. after arriving, i heading to the merchandise section. this is an area they have every year for new and game used items as well as a silent auction. i picked a up banner, shirt, hat, a couple programs and some flanny patches. they also have a lot of game worn jerseys out and if you aren’t the first person through the door or pick the lucky pile, you won’t get any of the stars. showalter and many of the other tops players are first to go. there were tons of jerseys from players in the minor league system or who were on the team. one guy was very excited about getting a justin duchscherer jersey although he never played an inning here. there were also game worn pants, helmets, hats, and used bats. i considered getting an autographed luke scott back but figured since he was gone, maybe not or $100.
from there i swung into the giveaways area. this was alot better run this year than last. last year the line wound through the middle of fanfest. early on they had brian matusz bobbleheads and orioles magazines featuring matt wieters. later i saw some camo floppy hats. i already had a few from the season. after that i wondered through the main area and listened to some of the panel sessions. after that and wondering around, i got in line for my autograph sessions. last year, when they signed JJ Hardy, i became a big fan of his. he’s my style of player and definitely one this team needs so i wanted to get his autograph. at that station was reimold, hardy, larry sheets, and rick dempsey. i asked rick when he was putting out his next CD. he wasn’t sure yet, LOL.
at the same time slot, i got another ticket to what was supposed to be kevin gregg, jim palmer, and adam jones. gregg had to back out last minute according to @birlandinsider. i asked palmer why he had written his name on the table and he explained to me that one was his signature in 1965 and the other was current. apparently the new one is better for the wrist. it wasn’t as crisp and easy to read so i guess that’s why. darren o’day, who i am not 100% sure who he is yet told me he liked my party hardy t-shirt. he was a recent addition to the team. jones was my final autograph. i had actually gotten his autograph a few years ago at a wendy’s when they were taking players out into the community so it was good to see him again. even talked to him about @baltimoretom per his request. haha.
after taking a spin around the event again, i headed out. i passed on the clubhouse tour this time since my foot was bothering me. it hurts if i stand on it for too long and has for a couple years now but the day was worth it. probably should get it looked at sometime soon. maybe before the next fanfest. hope everyone else that went had a great time too!
in no particular order…
1. visit more national parks.
2. get a passport.
3. take more photos.
4. visit a minor league ballpark.
5. visit at least 1 away baseball park.
6. visit another zoo.
7. fly in a plane.
8. visit a different country.
9. spend bee’s birthday in the same place as bee.
10. visit 10 states.
11. ride on a ferry.
12. watch the rest of star wars.
13. laugh and love everyday.
14. learn something new.
15. get on tv.
16. start a foundation.
17. visit a cheese monger.
18. be a better encourager.
21 Orioles Games
1 Shorebirds Game
1 Ironbirds Game
2 Baysox Games
2 Nationals Games
1 Nebraska Football Game
2 Ravens Games
2 Elon BBall Games (at MD and at Navy)
1 Baltimore Grand Prix
From starting about this time last year, it’s been a fun year of attending sporting events. As a big baseball fan, I’ve always enjoyed going to numerous games a year at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but the variety increased this year. Last October, I attended my first professional football game. Sat on the 50 yard line about 30 rows from the field. Fantastic time and nothing like corporate seats. Shortly after that, we made our way to Nebraska to see my wife’s dad. There we had the opportunity to attend the Nebraska vs. Missouri game, a great rivalry and exciting game. It was their 306th or 309th consecutive sell out. I have a separate blog post on here all about our trip if you are interested.
As the fall turned into winter, Elon’s basketball team travelled for the season to play teams locally and we saw them at Maryland and Navy around the holidays. We had a great alumni attendance at both games and certainly gave Maryland a run for their money. (Should I mention we also went to 1 or 2 Elon football games? They play 1-AA in football in the SoCon.)
At the end of the year, I found out for my birthday, Bee got me/us a partial game season ticket plan for the Orioles. Section 15 if you want to see us out there next year! Between FanFest and the season starting, I laid low with getting some autographs and collectibles. As spring started, I made it to my first opening day, with my buddy Dan, since I was in high school. We had a blast and were ready for what we thought would be a great season. Between season tickets, random Friday or Saturday games, giveaway nights or alumni games, I made it to at least 21 games. In between, we went to the Shorebirds and Baysox games for bobblehead giveaways. I also finally made it out to the Ironbirds stadium after 10 years for a work night at the the game. Hadn’t been to a minor league game in years. I also finally made it to Nationals stadium, once to see the Orioles and once with Bee’s family when they were in town. Nice place but I still enjoy OPaCY! Even wrangled in a batting practice ball at a Orioles game and a foul ball at a Baysox game. The ball hawks weren’t around at the time. Haha.
Once the season wound down, we got to the much anticipated Grand Prix. I made my way down to practice and had a good time. Lots going on and lots of energy. Neat experience but couldn’t go the rest of the weekend since we were going to the beach for the holiday.
And as we end up in October again, I got to go to another Ravens game for the weekend. Another corporate section and hospitality tent event. What a way to tailgate! This time it was Bee’s first professional football game and we won to boot. Talk about a loud, rowdy environment at M&T Bank these days.
I’m not really a fan of professional basketball and only a semi casual fan of hockey so who knows if I attend something like that soon but we shall see what the next year of sports brings. I know it will include lots of Orioles games though!