June 3, 2008

A Saturday night in Charm City

So this is late and slightly less timely, but it's not like we have people beating down our doors telling us to get off our asses and write. You can file your complaint with our complaints department, located conveniently in Nate's office.

My wife and I spent Saturday night up at Camden Yards to catch the O's/Red Sox game. This was lucky happenstance that we had the tickets to the game. A friend of Sharon's had landed a block, and I discovered I had tickets to a Sox game.

I had two big reactions to the game, which was very exciting and I was much more into that I thought I would be. I texted both Nate and Watson that I was cheering on the O's that night. Mostly because...

Red Sox fans may officially be more annoying that Phillies fans. There are plenty of articles about annoying Boston fans (that second one is a personal favorite).

I really felt for Orioles fans on Saturday night. Sitting there in my curly W cap, surrounded by a sea of annoying Red, that Boston humility really is gone. When a Boston fan yelled out "How many World Series does Baltimore have?", I saw the humility disappear in a cloud of smoke. Let's quickly do the math, shall we? Since 1954 when the Orioles came to Charm City, they have three World Series wins. Since 1954, Boston has.... two. Ah, your mighty dynasty. And to add a little salt to your wound, your hated New York Yankees? 10 World Series since the O's came to Bal'more, hon.

(Yes, so I've answered it crazy Boston Fans... How many to the Nats have? We have zero in that time frame. Considering we didn't have a team from 1972 until 2005, excuse me if I don't give a cr@p about that comparison.)

This added to with several moments that told me these were annoying, fair weather fans of baseball. Now, Nate and Watson will quickly say I'm the last person who should call someone else not paying close enough attention to the game, as I'm easily distracted by shiny things, beer and ice cream at the ballpark, so when I'm annoyed, it must be bad. Even my wife, for whom radio broadcasts of baseball assure her of a good nap, was annoyed.

Every damn pop fly -- EVERY FLY BALL BY EVERY BOSTON PLAYER -- was a cheer like it was a home run. It's one thing to be on your feet for Manny -- I was too, as that was genuinely exciting -- but to cheer a simple infield fly like it's a dinger... you're not engaged. Even I don't pull that crap.

To top that, they stopped and stood in the damn aisles! I'm sorry, your "Big Popi" T-Shirt does not make a very good viewing angle when I'm trying to watch the game! I didn't even have any skin in the game, and I was paying attention.

Sharon and I have also decided that Nationals Park kicks the $hit out of Camden Yards. Yes, Nationals Park has the benefit of being new, but it has made an impression, and some of the items that bothered me the Orioles could fix.

First off, Nationals Park's sight-lines are truly amazing. It sank in for me when I went to get a beer in the 3rd and suddenly couldn't see the game... at all (except for TV). The decision to put the vendors on the outside was genius, and while not a first, it clearly makes Nationals Park a better place to watch baseball than the Yard. Add to that the fact that the seats are angled correctly at Nationals Park -- my head on view of the outfield and scoreboard allowed me to watch Manny fumble two catches but not to easily watch the pitch, particularly through the giant ass of a Boston fan standing in the aisle.

Leaving the bowl left me feeling completely disconnected to the game, and I realized this had shifted for me since Nationals Park. RFK long had this problem, as the moment you left the bowl you were in the dingy concourse, and so the airy outside of Camden was a blessing. With our new park, I never feel this way, as when I wander around the concourse for another beer or a Five Guys burger, I just turn and see the game. I love it, and it's connected me to the field in a new way.

Sharon wanted me to mention the food, as that's even more a priority for her. Our O's seats were up in section 370, putting us in the upper deck of Orioles Park, which is a wasteland for food. I checked, at National Park put premium vendors up there, including Foggy Bottom Diner and a Micro Brew stand, "Base Line Brews". No such luxury is in the upper deck, as Sharon will attest to on her quests for the $1 cheaper beer. (She's always willing to walk down five more stands to find the one that serves beer for $1 cheaper. When we first toured Nationals Park, I made note of these stands for her so as to ease the pain of her quest for beer.) O's, you could fix this one.

Before Watson calls me out for being venomous and just hating, I had a really good time and was into the game. Boog's BBQ is delicious, the ushers in Baltimore were great at working to shoo people out of the way and make sure everyone was having a good time, and the Orioles played some good baseball, despite the loss. I had a great time and am glad I went. Manny's 500th dinger was something to see, and kudos to him for it. Some Orioles fans behind us were just being bad sports as they claimed "Oh, is something important happening?" when everyone stood for Manny. It's something to see. I felt the same way when Bonds hit his record breaker against the Nats, and that's a more controversial moment. Sure, you don't want it to be against your team, but that doesn't take away from the historical significance of it, and I cheered for him. The guy hit 500 dingers. That's 500 more than I've hit in the majors.

I've just come to the conclusion that for all the hype about Camden Yards... Washington out did it. Nationals Park is really something.

And Beantown fans... god I'm glad we only play you here in Washington every three years. You're horribly annoying. Phillies fans may be assholes, but you're another dimension of annoying.


Harper said...

Really? Outdid Camden? I have a feeling you are setting me up for some...well minor disappointment.

In my baseball watching trips Camden was my personal favorite, and I've been to the PacBell, PNC, and Metrodome!

Nate said...

Keep it mind Harper, Dave hates you. Camden Yards is a more aesthetically pleasing stadium. But Nationals Park is a better ballpark.

Dave said...

Nate, you make it sound like I hate Harper specifically. I just hate everyone equally.

Nate's right -- Camden "looks" better, but Nationals Park is a better ballpark. Much more engaging to the baseball game itself, and I will say, a more entertaining experience in general.