April 2011

Orioles vs. Tigers 4/6/11 and 4/7/11

So I usually do single game by game entries, but between
midterms this week and long days at the park (get there around 3:30, leave at
11:30), I have been squeezed for time. 
So, I did the Opening Day entry
earlier in the week, followed by last night the quick post on the Jose Valverde spitting incident.  Here are my game entries for the 2nd
and 3rd home games of the season to finish up the Tigers series.



So Wednesday was a relaxed night at the ballpark.  Attendance went from sold out on Monday to
12,451 that night, so after BP, we just chilled in the outfield seats.


I got there around 3:30, still don’t know why.




Adam Jones tweeted at
offering to come in early, but he never got back at me, so that didn’t
happen.  Ballhawks and fans gathered with
me at the gate, and the day had begun. 
For a pic of the group, check out Zack Hample’s blog entry of the game (and the 2nd game) here.


So running around to BP, the first ball I snagged on the day
was a Mark Reynolds shot.  He hit it to a
section to the right of where I was standing, and Tim and I both ran towards it
as it hit the seats and rolled awkwardly through a row.  He was 2 rows down, I was right above it, so
I was able to reach over and grab it.  On
the board.  My goal on the day was 4 (to
even out with the 2 from the opener, since I want to average 3 this year), so
this was a quick start.


After that, I made two of my best snags ever.  The first was a Casper Wells home run that I
got only about 15 feet to my left, and with no fans fighting for it.  The reason it was special was because I
spaced it horribly, and had to leap and throw my arm back just to barely grab
it on the tip of my glove.  Got high
fives for that one.


The 3rd ball of the day was a Brandon Inge home
run that was a section over to my right. 
I ran a bit over, but saw it was landing in a group of people about 6
rows down, so I didn’t really make a move. 
The ball ended up missing everybody and hitting off a chair, flying high
in the air into another group of people to the right and a row in front of me.  I reached above them with my bare right hand,
tipped it up into the air above them all, and then jumped and grabbed it.  This one got me the most congratulatory
remarks I’ve ever gotten, and trust me, I don’t make that many nice catches, so
I was proud of this one.


That was it on the day for baseballs.  But 3 is good for me.  I honestly feel good as long as I don’t get
shut out, which hasn’t happened since the 2009 season.


And I like this one shot I took of Tillman, Matusz, and
Britton during BP:




After BP, I ran over to where Max Scherzer was signing by
the dugout, and after he ignored me multiple times for wearing an O’s shirt, I
made a “we both hate the Yankees” comment, he smiled, and signed my ticket.


I ran over to the Orioles dugout hoping for a warm up
ball.  First, I stopped by where Vlad was
signing for a minute:




And got him to sign an extra ball I had brought with me (I
usually bring a clean ball or two for this kind of situation):




I didn’t get a 4th ball, but whatever.  I’m satisfied with 3 still.


Tim and Ben and I stayed out in left field for the entire
game.  Low attendance and lineups full of
right handed power (besides the O’s with Reynolds and Vlad, the Tigers have
Miguel Cabrera), we will be out there all season.  It was a chill night sitting out in the
middle of the LF seats.  Felt like
baseball season again.


Anyways, 4 HRs were hit to right or center field.  Awesome. 
Whatever.  And Zack Hample snagged
Alex Avila’s shot, so check out info on that on his blog post (linked at the


I left in the 8th to go sit with Brittany and
Donna at Donna’s seats (Brittany has season tix next to the bullpen) that were…
well… beautiful.  To show, here are a few
pics from that view:







So that was cool.


Though the Orioles lost their first
game of the season that night, it was still very relaxing to attend the
game.  Afterward, I went with Donna and
Britney out to the players’ lot.  I had
never gone there after games (mainly because I live in the city now, so I don’t
have to worry about rides or missing the subway or anything), but they
introduced me to it.  We waved to
players, talked, and got yelled at.  And
Jake Fox stopped his giant SUV to sign for everybody, though I didn’t get
that.  I got 2 pictures of him signing
from his car, but both are dark and blurry.


I then left, went home, and
crashed.  Class in the AM.






Season stats (after this game):


Baseballs: 5 (4 hit, 1 on fly, 1
toss up, 0 found)

Autographs: 2 (Scherzer, Guerrero)

Orioles home games attended: 2

Orioles total games attended: 2

Total MLB games attended: 2

Total baseball games attended
(MLB+MiLB): 2



Then Thursday hit.  I left class at 2, went back to my place to
do some things, and left around 3:15 for the game.  Got there by 3:45, and chilled outside the
gates again.  Zack Hample never showed
up, but that was because he was at the other gates (Ha!).  Ben and Tim came around 4.  Matt never showed up (turned out he was sick).


I said ha before because Zack went
to the other side since the run in is slightly shorter, but his gate opened a
full 30 seconds or so after ours, so we ran past him before he could even come
in.  It was funny.


Running in, I got one ball in foul
territory down the 1B line, and then Tom (security guard) pointed out another
in the seats down the 3B line, so I had 2 already before even reaching the LF


BP brought more photos of our young
pitchers.  This one of Matusz and Britton
talking with new pitching coach Mark Connor (I think that’s him):




BP was empty for the first 25
minutes or so for us, which was nice:


Zack Hample and Tim Oriole Park 4711


In that picture, the people are:


1. Tim (going up the stairs to look
for easter eggs

2. Zack (recording notes and such
after Orioles BP ended)


I got some pictures of Justin
Verlander throwing some:





Jeremy Guthrie was back from the
hospital (he had pneumonia), pictured here talking with Verlander:




I scooped up an Adam Jones home run
hit into an empty section, then caught a Brandon Inge home run on the fly in an
empty row later in BP.  Though it was
busier, nobody else made a play on that one.


And that was that.  I didn’t go for any autographs or extra
balls.  Just the 4 on the day.  Talked with my favorite ushers a bit and
wandered the concourse.  Oh, and got some
of the old Orioles to sign cards.  They
do that every Monday and Thursday home game. 
Got Tippy Martinez, Fred Valentine, and Bill Swaggerty.  Woot.


The game was cold.  Tim, Ben, and I again sat out in left field,
but this time next to the bullpen.  Ben
hit 12 balls on the day, including multiple at the pen, so we just chilled
there.  Though on most righty batters, we
got up and moved to ends of rows to prepare for HR balls.  Was quite funny actually how much we never
settled into actual spots, though we got no balls, the seats were so empty that
moving around was easy.  Finally, though,
a HR was hit to LF (Adam Jones’ shot), but it was a line drive smash down the
line, and way out of reach for where we were.


Tim and Ben danced like white kids,
Ronnie said hey, and we just had another chill night at the game.


Brad Penny pitched for the Tigers:




And Chris Tillman for the Orioles:




The end of the game brought an
Orioles come from behind W, but it also brought us Jose Valverde spitting on a fan in the 8th inning.  Click on that for more info.


Here’s my loot (space in the
baseballs is the Jones home run that I tossed to a kid after BP ended):




Season stats:


Baseballs: 9 (6 hit, 2 on fly, 1
toss up, 2 found)

Autographs: 2 (Scherzer, Guerrero)

Orioles home games attended: 3

Orioles total games attended: 3

Total MLB games attended: 3

Total baseball games attended
(MLB+MiLB): 3


And I am leaving in just a couple
of minutes for the park.  The O’s take on
the undefeated Rangers this weekend, and I plan to be at all 3 games, win or
lose.  The weather is crummy out, so
probably no BP, but these games can bring some good fortune and fun at times,
so I’m there.

Jose Valverde Spits on Fan

So aside from the regular game posts, I had to get up a bit
about this.  I posted it on Twitter, and
tons of people seemed intrigued, so I figured I’d shoot up this story quick.



Here is what I witnessed. 
All is fact, and anything that I cannot confirm will be noted as
something I’m guessing (or of the sort).


During the bottom of the 8th inning at Oriole
Park earlier tonight (April 7), Jose Valverde approached two fans and spit at
one of them, shooting his wad of gum at the pair.


It started in the middle of that frame when the two fans
walked up to the break in the bullpen walls at Camden Yards during the
Tigers/Orioles game and started shouting at the Tigers sitting on the bullpen
bench.  My friend Tim heard one of them
(in an orange shirt, and though I can’t confirm it was an Orioles shirt, I saw
it as Orioles orange opposed to Tigers orange) shouting something about Joel
Zumaya.  As we walked away to grab seats
at the end of the rows (hoping for a HR ball), we looked over from about 20
feet away, and Valverde approached the fans at the edge of the pen.  Of course, my camera was in my bag a section
away.  But, here is the vantage point of
the fans.  I took this as the game ended
afterward, as you can see the Tigers pitchers walking away.  But it shows where they were and where Jose
came to that front corner to stand close to them:



What we saw was Jose walking over to these shouting fans,
looking quite intimidating and a bit PO’d in my opinion.  As he got there, said a few words, then
signaled with two fingers for the fan (or both) to come closer.  Within 10 seconds, he followed that by
spitting at the fan (or both (again, I don’t know what they really said that
ticked him off or if it was just one of them or what)).  It was a legit spitting motion at them, in
which he spit a huge wad of gum at them. 
Here are two pictures I took of the gum on the ground of the bullpen
below (the space between the Tigers pen area and the seats, as in the ground of
the Orioles pen area).  The first is a
close up of the wad.  It was huge.  Second is zoomed out but quite blurry.






Valverde, after the spit, turned around and walked back to
his seat.  Fans around were shocked.  The two guys saw the cop in the bullpen
coming into the Tigers pen, so they ran out of the row, up the stairs, and out
of the section (not sure why, unless they said something horrible, since Jose
spit at them, and just to note, nobody saw the guys spit at Jose or make any
physical motions towards him, so it seemed to be words that provoked him).  The cop came all the way over to the same
spot Jose was standing during the incident, saw that they were gone, called
someone on his radio, and left.  So who
knows what happened there.


Witnesses:  I was with
my friends Tim and Ben for most of
the game, both of whom saw this.  Another
friend, Matt (and his friend) were
nearby and talking with us when we saw Valverde approach them, and they both
saw it.  The fans in the section who were
actually closest to the event all saw it, but had no new info as to what
happened when I asked besides what we saw.



So yeah.  Who knows
what will come of this.  If anything (Does
MLB suspend for such a thing? I mean, if it was at a player, there would be
suspension, so I don’t know why at a fan is any better or excusable. But again,
I do not know what was said, so I am just coming from the position of seeing
them what looked like heckling him and he did this. That’s it.).  Just wanted to share.


Valverde had a stomach bug earlier in the week.  Maybe about that?


And I got a few pics of him talking with Orioles pitcher
Mike Gonzalez during BP:




And I hope to get game posts for Wednesday and Thursday’s
games up tomorrow, as I will be at all 3 games this weekend against the
undefeated Rangers.



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Orioles Home Opener vs. Tigers

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The Orioles home opener was all you could ask for it to
be.  Huge crowd, celebration, and most
importantly, a W.


I got to the park around 11:30 (gates opened at noon) after
taking a midterm exam in the morning and rushing down.




A bunch of friends were already there, waiting first in line
(as expected).  Romeo had been there
since who knows when, and with him at this point was (I hope I don’t forget
anybody) Zevi, Brittany, Nick, Amanda, Tim, Ben, Stan, and Stan’s wife.  I think that’s it.  (Romeo, Zevi, and Brittany got interviewed by
WBAL before I got there, check that out here. 
58 second mark.  Three quotes,
then you see the initial group of them). 
So, I joined them, and the crowd started forming by quarter of noon or




Batting practice was not set to start until 12:25 or so, but
we still ran in at 12 to go see the Orioles stretching down on the field.  My first view entering the seating area
(though a bit blurry, taken as I was running):




During this time, I took about 50 photos of the Orioles
stretching and talking.  Here are some


Brittany took a picture of me and Zevi talking to Ronnie
when he first came out.  He asked me
about my college experiences and some random stuff, then we yelled at him for
not having high socks on, in which he told us that in ST, Mark Hendrickson also
yelled at him for it (and said: “Who ARE you, man?!”).  Then Ronnie went off to throw.




Zach Britton sighting (1-blurry first shot of him, 2-talking
with Mike Gonzalez, 3-talking with bullpen coach Rick Adair, 4-talking with
athletic trainer Richie Bancells):




More guys (1-Matt Wieters throwing, 2-Pie, Guerrero,
Izturis, 3-pitchers stretching circle, 4-Adair talking with Matusz and Tillman
with Ronnie on the side (minus high socks)):




And more (1-guys throwing, 2-media by/in the dugout, 3-Mark
Reynolds and DLee throwing, 4-Pie and Jonesy):




Then guys started hitting, so I made my way around the seating
bowl to the left field seats:




As I settled into my usual spot in the aisle for snagging,
Luke Scott tossed a ball towards 3 kids begging (more like shrieking profusely)
for one (arrow pointing at ball in midair):




Guys started off with their bunts and oppo hitting, so I
snapped this quick shot of Buck talking with Tillman and Matusz:




Then guys hit for real. 
And I have no more photos from Orioles BP.  They were hitting scarcely to the LF seats,
and all of them were landing in clusters of people in 86 and 80.  Asking the other guys around I knew, we think
only about 5-10 came in the mid-sections of 82 and 84 during all of this
session.  And the 5 or so of us were
spread out, but nobody ended with more than 3 on the day.  I got one ball during O’s BP, my first of the
season and it was Vlad’s first home run into the LF seats (he hit 2 into the
bullpen before it).  It was a real blast,
hitting off of the signs on club level and bouncing back down (easily 420+
ft).  With guys all running up the
stairs, I watched from mid level, and got it off the rebound.


Then the Orioles went in, and Tigers pitchers came out to
warm up.  I headed over there, and lost
out on one ball to Tim who had a Tigers shirt on, so I moved aside and let him
go for it, knowing that the shirt would get him it anyways.




Later, as Brad Thomas was heading in, he responded to my
request for a ball, chucking it in my general direction.  (Picture of him throwing before this moment,
#36) Turn your head sideways for this one:




As I gloved the ball, I felt my back being hit at, and a kid
(probably about 12) had hopped on my back, throwing us both into the wall in
front of us.  No physical damage done,
and I was more just really confused than annoyed.  But when I got back out to left field, I
noticed one thing:




The hit into the wall broke my camera screen.  Wonderful. 
Whatever.  The right side of the
screen sort of still works, so I’ll live (at least until I find the money to
buy a new camera).  So for the rest of
the day, I had to take pictures mostly guessing that I was getting the picture
taken.  They came out pretty well for
having to use this tactic.


I got annoyed when I walked away and saw the kid going back
to his dad.  Why did this annoy me?  Check out what he was wearing:




Seriously?!  God damn.




I left halfway through Tigers BP to wander the concourse and
Eutaw St. to see the festivities and new stuff around, knowing that with the
rush and all, I wanted to be back at the seats by 2:30 for the ceremonies.


New at the ballpark (1-Natty-Boh stand, 2-Natty-Boh Bar,
3-Polock Johnny’s, 4-Grille 54):




Oh, and a funny looking band:




So I got back to the seats (in section 86 next to the
bullpen, yes, we actually bought seats there for once) just as Jim Hunter
started the pre-game ceremonies.  I took
over 100 pictures of the happenings, so here are just a few to show what it
looked like:




So yeah.  Taking the
pictures with a broken camera the rest of the day was difficult.  But all is well on the western front.


Otherwise, we stayed in our seats on the bullpen wall for
the rest of the day.  With so many
people, it would have been hell to get up to go around, so we stayed put.  Don’t worry, all season we will be doing all
kinds of random interesting stuff, but today was about chilling at Opening Day.


Here are some shots from the seats I got of both bullpens
and the field (1-Arrieta warming up, 2-Porcello warming up, 3-players on field
for the anthem, 4-Jose Valverde getting annoyed by the hecklers in front of




And more (1-Romeo and some of the crowd, 2-guy on the field,
3-Ronnie and bullpen guys during God Bless America, 4-the outfielders jumping
together when the game ended):




My ticket from the day with my 2 baseballs (left is toss
from Thomas, right is the hit from Vlad):




Oh, and by the way, the Orioles kinda messed up during
pre-game ceremonies on the jumbotron. 
See for yourself:






The Orioles won the game 5-1.  Jake Arrieta got the W.  Brian Roberts hit another home run.  Yada yada. 
I’m not here to discuss the on field stuff.



A few other videos to check out:


During the game, a guy hopped over the CF wall and onto the
field.  He rand around then dropped down
to the ground, got cuffed, and finally taken out.  See it here
on Youtube.


And this video
which randomly includes Zevi, Tim, and Ben entering the park at noon.


And I am back at the ballpark for this entire home
stand.  Should be interesting.


Season stats:


Baseballs: 2 (1 hit, 0 on fly, 1 toss up, 0 found)

Autographs: 0

Orioles home games attended: 1

Orioles total games attended: 1

Total MLB games attended: 1

Total baseball games attended (MLB+MiLB): 1





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