20 Stadiums in 20 Days – Camden Yards
There is not much new going on right now in Phillies-land, as yesterday was an off day in the Phils’ exhibition schedule. Cole Hamels will get his first start of the spring later today, when the Phillies take on Team Canada in Clearwater.
I’m really wishing I was there right now – I’m trying to type with frozen hands, as our propane is on its last molecules. We have the heat turned waaay down to try to conserve, and the propane people better get here NOW! They were supposed to come Monday, but the weather did not cooperate. They were then supposed to come Tuesday, but their truck was down for repair.
“What kind of rinky-dink operation are we using, that they only have ONE truck??”, I semi-yelled at my husband this morning.
He was not in the mood to hear it.
What to write about?
I’ve mentioned previously that we have an ongoing quest to visit every major-league ballpark. So far we are two-thirds of the way there, having been to 20 of the 30 parks. It’s only taken 14 years J. Well, there were a few time-outs for having children.
So in the spirit of the MLB Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days”, I offer up “20 Stadiums in 20 Days.” Okay, actually 19, as I’ve already written about my first visit to Veteran’s Stadium in a prior post. But hey, I can add Citizen’s Bank Park to the list, so that bumps it back up to 20!
Obviously, the Vet was first on the list, being the Phillies home. Close proximity to Baltimore led to Camden Yards being number two on the stadium countdown. It’s full name is Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but I think most people just refer to it as Camden Yards, so I will too. Camden Yards opened in 1992, and pretty much started the whole “retro” ballpark trend. It’s very easy to get to; a quick exit from I-95 takes you almost directly to the stadium parking lots.
Since it is so close, we’ve actually been to Camden Yards a number of times. Our first visit occurred July 9, 1993. The Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox, 15-6. My main memory of that day is the fact that it was so stinking hot and humid, I thought I was going to throw up, pass out, or maybe both. There wasn’t the slightest hint of a breeze, and the air felt thick enough to cut through. You can see how hazy it was in the pictures I took that night:
Bo Jackson was the DH for the White Sox in that game, shown here at bat:
You may remember Bo from his “Bo Knows” ad campaign for Nike, or from winning the Heisman trophy in 1985. He was the first athlete to be an all-star in two sports: he was an All-Star in 1989 for the Kansas City Royals, and appeared in the Pro Bowl in 1990 for the Raiders.
I’ll also mention a couple other memorable games we’ve seen at Camden Yards.
May 17, 1996 – Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners: this nine-inning game lasted 4 hours and 20 minutes! Several times during the course of the evening I suffered severe head bobs and missed an at-bat or two. But thankfully I was awake for what has to be one of the most dramatic finishes I’ve ever witnessed. In the bottom of the ninth, the O’s were down 13-10. The bases were loaded with two outs. At bat was Chris Hoiles, the only Orioles’ starter that night without a hit. Hoiles ran the count full, and then hit a walk-off grand slam to win the game, 14-13.
May 30, 1997 – Orioles vs. Cleveland Indians: Mike Mussina took a perfect game into the ninth inning. Then Sandy Alomar, Jr. singled with one out to break it up. Mussina retired the next two batters to get the 3-0 victory. The entire stadium let out one huge collective sigh when Alomar got that hit.
Mussina has flirted with perfection several times since then as well. Hopefully one of these days before he retires, he’ll finally achieve it.
Check back tomorrow for the next ballpark on the countdown, Fenway Park.
Update: Husband has just advised me that Mussina has already retired. Not sure how I forgot about that, seeing that he announced it last November. Oops!