The latest installment of my somewhat intermittent postcards from various places where the Halos have dropped by comes to you from Camden – no, not the slightly pox-ridden corner of North London that those of you who have visited my fair home city will remember as crawling with students, pot-dealers and general ne’er-do-wells, but the slightly more tranquil surroundings of Camden Yards on the edge of Chesapeake bay.
1. First of all some Camden Yards mythbusting – it ain’t all that. Granted, it’s a pretty setting and the way they’ve incorporated that wonderful old building into the right-field area for bars and places to eat is both interesting and effective, but a stadium is 1st and foremost the product of the people that go there to worship, and this place is half-empty. I don’t mean that as a slight on the fans of Baltimore – those that were at the game were passionate and knowledgeable – but they deserve better* than the team currently on the field in order to bring back the fans and the passion to that place. The Kiwi rated it a clear 3rd amongst the 3 ball parks she’s visited on the East Coast after the Phillies’ gaff and Old Yankee stadium. She's not been to Anaheim yet, which gets my vote (unsurprisingly).
* - as an aside, we saw three fans leaving the stadium arm in arm patting each other disconsolately on the back. They can see the potential, but for now they’re just helping each other grind through it – reminded me of being an England Cricket fan in the early 90s.
2. Also, Boog’s BBQ is rubbish – after all I’d heard about that place I was expecting more than a meat bun and about 6 baked beans. The beer wasn't great at the stadium either.
3. The Expos summer tour began yesterday with a pilgrimage to see their last great hero… and look how their faith has been rewarded with Big Daddy Vladdy doing what they saw so often. Twice. Our hotel was overrun with Quebecois – the genuine we’re-relying-on-your-French-cos-I’ll-be-damned-if-I’m-speaking-English variety. They’re off to see the Nationals play tomorrow so that should bring them back down to earth with a bump.
4. On that particular topic, it was awesome to see the Big Fella putting on a show and bringing to an end the Izturis and Izturis show that had dominated the night up to that point.
5. Good also to see plenty of red on display last night amidst the sea of orange (even if the clash of colours did hurt the eyes somewhat).
6. Where I come from, if you are going to invade the field of play and disrupt the game, you should at least have the common courtesy to take your clothes off first in order to entertain the crowd. Last night’s numbskull failed on this and one other significant count: at the end of your jaunt around the outfield don’t run into the loving arms of the biggest, angriest waiting copper – he may wish to do you harm. The guy got absolutely levelled and was still recovering his wits as they led him off to his cosy state-appointed accommodation for the evening.
7. This is as close as I will probably ever get to claiming a baseball at a stadium, however there is at least one Orioles fan* who will grow up with a fondness for Chone Figgins and his ability to pop a foul ball into the cheap seats.
* - that autograph on top of her cap is Boog the BBQ crook, so it’s not all good news
8. They had a screened vote among the Baltimore players on screen between innings as to who was better, James Bond or Austin Powers. Whilst the result was ultimately the right one, 6 of those morons voted Austin Powers. No wonder they’re bottom of their division.
9. I know that as a heterosexual man, I’m not meant to get a warm, fuzzy feeling about the way other men are dressed, in particular men I’ve never met before. Nevertheless, it is something I felt twice last night:
Laugh, I nearly shat... Just goes to show, that when you’re picking your named team jersey / t-shirt you do far better picking a fan-adored legend than picking an over-rated national league half-wit who will be traded after 4 months further confirming the decline of your overrated GM into premature senescence.
10. There is nothing in baseball under greater and more consistent pressure than the 5th button on Mike Scoscia’s game jersey.
11. Mickey Hatcher knows what we’ve been saying about him over the years, and he’s angry. He didn’t like it the last couple of years when it wasn’t working out so well, he especially doesn’t like it now that Abreu’s getting all the credit, so stop it, or he’s coming to get you, and he’ll put you straight, goddamit.
Don't fuck with Mickey
12. For some major league players, the fans baying at you for attention at the end of the game are a minor irritation that can be easily ignored. For others, those still delighted to be getting time in the show after years of minor league grinding, having someone shout your name (even when you didn’t play) is still a delight. I salute you Mr Loux – the force is strong with you.
The force is strong with this one
Just another Halo victory
Your overseas correspondent & Kiwi
Looking forward to the next update sometime in 2010?