Welcome to WallyWorld
For many years, I have been thirsting to go to Camden Yards. But something always came up. I have been to some great new parks — Safeco Field, Jacobs Field, Comerica Park — but I had never been to the Holy Grail of "retro" stadiums.
I finally got my opportunity on Friday night. But it was quite an adventure.
My wife, Emily, and I were attending a wedding just north of Washington, D.C. on Saturday. At last, Camden Yards was calling.
I love my wife. She’s an amazing, passionate person who shares my love for baseball. But she does have two knocks against her.
1. She’s a Mets fan, and a bona-fide Yankee Hater.
2. She’s late for everything, and never ready on time.
So instead of leaving early Friday afternoon for the three-hour trip to Baltimore, we didn’t leave our apartment in Jersey City, NJ, until 4:30 p.m.
By the way, game time: 7:30 p.m.
The traffic was a nightmare — which is typical of New Jersey on a Friday during rush hour. I felt like Chevy Chase in "Vacation" — I was never going to get to "my" WallyWorld.
I think we finally got of Jersey at around 7:30 p.m. or so, and arrived in Baltimore at 9 p.m. I got a sweet parking spot right next to the old warehouse that houses the Orioles’ offices. Since we got their so late, we parked for free.
The ballpark was everything I imagined. We sat down the left-field line, near the foul pole. As we took our seats, the Blue Jays erupted and ran away with the game. Despite the blowout, it was worth the traffic. The game went quickly despite the lopsided score, and there was even a fireworks show afterwards.
While taking in the scenery, I couldn’t help but think about the stadiums back in New York. Yankee Stadium is a special place. But let’s be honest, it is past its prime. You can drive two Hummers side-by-side through the concourse at Oriole Park.
You’d be lucky to get a Vespa through a Yankee Stadium concourse.
The bathrooms at Camden Yards are bigger than some city apartments.
The bathrooms at Yankee Stadium? Ugh.
I know it’s comparing apples and oranges. And I can’t wait for the new Yankee Stadium. Camden Yards definitely made me envious.
I do have a knock though: After the game, I wanted some Maryland crabs. We walked over to the Inner Harbor, where there are a ton of restaurants and bars. The bars were open, but all the kitchens were closed. It was only 11 p.m. on a Friday night. I guess I am too used to New York City, where you can get anything at any hour.
But these establishments in the Inner Harbor should think about keeping their kitchens open. There were a ton of hungry fans walking around the Harbor, looking for grub.
We did have another "Vacation" mishap on the way home from the wedding on Saturday night. A tire blew out on our car at around 3 a.m. on 1-95, just south of the Delaware border — and more than 150 miles from home. We got the donut put on the car, and had to drive 50 mph all the way home to Jersey.
The flat tire, and the long car rides, were worth it.