It was the Best of Times; It was the Worst of times (My apologies to Charles Dickens). In other words, my trip to Baltimore to see the NATS play the Orioles at Camden Yards. Sit back, relax, this may take a while to read.
My friend Kathe and I see the Nats and Orioles play each other every year; one at Nats Park and one at Camden Yards. For the game at Camden Yards, we got tickets from a season ticket holder. This came with certain privileges:
• Early entry into Camden Yards.
• Getting to see Batting Practice, not just from the outfield but from the seats closest to the dugouts. They kind of restrict where you go after you get in. You can’t walk around the concourse until the rest of the gates open. However, you can walk around the lower bowl. So we parked ourselves behind the visitor’s dug out. That’s where the “Best of Times” starts.
I have to digress with a little background before telling about a thrilling moment. Awhile back, I was on Twitter. I’m not on there a lot. Being a Nats fan I “follow” many of the Nats players who tweet there. Well I saw a comment by Ian Desmond that he was trying to give up Chewing Tobacco. This was before Tony Gwynn’s death. He said he was taking it day by day. Being a huge fan of his, I went to Amazon.com and sent him a 12 pack of Big League Chew. I told him to share it with his teammates to have instead of tobacco. For those not familiar with the product; it’s shredded bubblegum in pouch. Simulates a pouch of tobacco but it’s gum. After I sent it to him, I tweeted him to make sure he got it. He sent me a picture of the package with his appreciation and thanks. Later when Stras said he was quitting, I sent him some too. I told Ian I had sent some to Stras.
Ok, background over. So I was taking pics of various Nats and reporters. Yelling out their names. Saying hello (Jayson, Bryce, Lobaton, Ramos, Adam, Detwiler, Boswell, FP, Charlie and Dave). Taking pics with my cell. Having a great time! Ian came by. Ian talks to his fans before going into the dugout. I yelled, “Hey Ian, Need any more Big League Chew?!” He said “No, we got a good stock of it now. Was that you?” “Yes” I replied. He looked me in the eye and yelled “HEY”. I said yes? He threw me his batting gloves and said “I really appreciate it, Thanks!” I’m in shock and cloud infinity! They are new too. You can still smell the leather!
Ok, my day is made. No matter what happens over the next few hours, my DAY IS MADE!
Got some dinner and went to our seats. I was at the end of row 8! Could I have a better number for a row in Camden Yards? Those who don’t understand that statement; well I feel sorry for you. Anyhow, I was in seat 1 of section 342. I was yelling for the NATS. Those who know me know I am loud! I look to my right, and the usher has a small spray bottle with water in it. He grins and says he’ll squirt me with it. I grin back and say, go right ahead, it’s hot out here. Both of us laughed. Later he asked if it was my first time in the park. I said no. He handed me a baseball card and asked me to pass it to the kid in our row, which I did. All game long I’m yelling for O’s to strike out. He says “smile when you say that”. I said, “I always smile”. Next thing I know he hands me a Ryan Zimmerman Card. Such a nice man. I told him that was the best treatment I’ve received by an usher in an opposing team’s park. I got his card. I will give him a good review to his superiors.
Worst of times were not scoring with the bases loaded and a close loss.
As for me, the best far outweighed the Worst.