Welcome back Raffy (you cheating son-of-a-bitch)

I was able to get tickets to last night's O's-Rays game in Baltimore, and I was all ready to boo Rafael Palmeiro and his drug-taking ass when I found out yesterday he would not be playing. Apparently the O's want to ease him back into the game after his 10 game suspension.

Which makes sense as the O's have a three game home series against the Blue Jays. Cause here's the thing, despite what you here in the media the Baltimore fans are ready to cheer for Raffy. Sure there will be a few scattered boos when he comes back, but Raffy has become synonymous with the Baltimore area, and the fans are far more loyal than any in New York or Philly.

Anyway on the actual game.

If Camden Yards was a three course steak dinner at Bern's Steak House, then the Trop would be a Happy Mean at McDonalds. Off the bat, Camden Yards feels more intimate than the Trop when you are walking up to it from the parking lot. The small structure combined with an open air feel makes for an enjoyable night at the ballpark.

Camden Yards

One of the best things about a baseball park is that for many of the teams there is so much history on that one field. For example, Babe Ruth worked in his father's bar which used to be where the center field is now. The Orioles have done an excellant job of incorporating that history into the park, they have an O's Hall of Fame wall which includes such greats as Eddie Griffin and Cal Ripken Jr. (among others). They also have small circular tiles in the walkway path beyond right field marking the longest home runs hit at Camden Yards (Aubrey Huff has a tile for the Rays).

Camden Yards was built in 1992 and became the trend-setter for baseball parks built after it. It was the first of the retro ball parks that incorporated brick and wide walking avenues to make the fans feel at home it the ball park. And the best decision the O's made was to keep the brick warehouse next to the stadium and turn it into part of the park by building restaurants and team store in it.

When you go to Camden Yards, you have to get a BBQ sandwich from Boogs. They have a tent set up along the main walking avenue, and the pork sandwich is prob the best meal I've ever bought at a sporting event.

I showed up an hour early just to walk around the ballpark, so when the game started it was almost a let down. The Rays look like a minor league team, while the O's lineup looked weak without Sosa and Palmeiro. The Rays were lucky to score two runs on a home run that was originally ruled a double, but then overturned because it bounced off a fan and back onto the field of play. At least that was what I was told by the drunk guy sitting behind us, since they didn't show the replay on the jumbo-tron. The O's went on to win 4-2, and it seemed like Baltimore could have won by a lot more if they had been trying.

I haven't been to Wrigley Field and I haven't seen a game at Yankee Stadium, but Camden Yards has to be my favorite ball park. It's a shame that it has to be associated with Rafael Palmeiro.

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