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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The End of the Road: DC and Baltimore, or, Eric Sweats! On Ice!

Did you all hear? The A's swept the Orioles at home and returned to .500 on the season. Though they lost to the Yankees and Bartolo Colón yesterday, one can again proudly say: "We're In This Thing!"

The A's are one bat away from making that surge. And even now at 27-28, they're only 2 games out of first place in the tight AL West. If you don't like their chances, then you aren't a fan.

Anyway, once more, the disclaimer, I was unable to watch these games, so be sure to check out the recaps offered by your favorite media outlet.

I did, however, make one last ballpark stop on my mid-Atlantic tour. These last four days of my trip could be described as: Eric attempts to seduce a nice young lady in Baltimore, or, Eric tries to distract Gordon from important studying, or, Eric tries to sweat through as many shirts in one day as possible, or, Eric mingles at a house party where he knows no one. It was some good times in the capital all right.

Nationals' Ballpark in our country's capital is once again, a gem to behold. I got to see a brilliant pitching matchup between the Nationals John Lannan and the Padres Clayton Richardson. Or maybe both lineups were so bad that the pitchers just came out looking like studs. Maybe, but who am I to judge? There were a combined 7 hits in the ballgame, and 3 went over the fence. Michael Morse was the hero as he took the first pitch he saw from Heath Bell in the bottom of the ninth over the left center field wall to win the game. This means that, of the three games I went to in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, all of them were decided in walk-off fashion. I have chosen wisely, apparently.

The Presidents Race in Washington is freaking awesome. The one I saw paid tribute to "Macho Man" Randy Savage, as Abe Lincoln donned his signature hat and sunglasses, and eventually won the race. After his hat fell down in front of his neck, preventing the poor soul inside from being able to see, I thought it was gonna be a win for Washington, but Honest Abe was able to recover to seal the victory.

Using guile and ingenuity, as well as the cover from a 45 minute thunderstorm delay, I was once again able to sneak down to the lower levels from my awesome $10 seat out in left field. An aside: this thunderstorm was nuts. It hit so suddenly I couldn't believe it, and in the words of Ollie Williams, in less than 20 seconds one might declare:

By the end of the game, I sat here:

Near me was an awful Red Sox fan, who decided he needed to vehemently root for the Padres. When Bartlett tied it up with his own home run off Storen in the ninth, he went ballistic, and the poor high school kid in front of me looked like he was going to cry. Fortunately he was able to run his mouth off at that obnoxious bum when Morse hit his no-doubter.

The Nationals made a beautiful park trying to revitalize the Navy Yard area southeast of the Capitol Building, but they made some odd decisions. One: You must tailgate in a controlled area where you must purchase the beer. There's not a lot you can park in, or bars around the area, you just have to go to this outdoor area outside the park. I'm not sure I liked it. The bigger deal, two: they totally screwed up the orientation of the park. I think they did this for shadow reasons. But, behind the big beautiful scoreboard walk and restaurant in centerfield, there was nothing but a few apartment buildings. Had they angled it 20 degrees more southward, it would have been a beautiful view of the Anacostia River. Had they gone 25 degrees northward, they would have had the Capitol and Washington Monument in their skyline behind the left field fence. But no, a visitor gets to gaze on a parking garage and some apartments. Nice.

I'm really glad I got to experience these other facilities on this trip. It makes me wish more for the facilities of the new ballparks for Oakland. It made me realize how electric baseball can really be when you have a winning team with a lot of tradition playing for you. Yeah, I get that latter thing in San Francisco, but it was interesting to see it on the other coast. I got to eat some delicious hot dogs, and I got to talk to some interesting people, like the retired soldier who kept me company during the rain delay in DC.

Before I sign off, huge shoutouts to Gordon and Tracey for hosting me in DC, as well as Liz and Ben who kept me company and invited me to that party I mentioned earlier. Finally a big thank you to Courtney, Julia, and the rest of the ladies who let me crash in their apartment after said party. On all these trips I take, I'm always taken aback by the hospitality of strangers, and it always tends to
help me renew my faith in humanity.

And oh yeah, the A's are playing the Yankees again tonight. Keep the faith. Beat the bombers, and look out Yay Area, I'm back.

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