Day two in Baltimore saw us checking out of the marvelous Hilton Hotel after one of the best buffet breakfasts I’ve ever seen (I don’t think I have ever had a better croissant in my life!) Oh, how I didn’t want to leave the air conditioning for the 100 + degrees of heat, but we did and headed to Camden yards for a tour. For a mere $9 per person, we and approximately 10 other people were lead through the bowels of the stadium, stopping to ooh and ahh over the press box, the party rooms, and the private boxes.
The boys got to sit in the dugout. We learned all the ins and outs of the stadium design. We heard how delicate the turf is and how water will seep right through it, thus keeping the need to cover the field during rain showers to a minimum. We saw the double decker warm up areas (I know there is a more technical name for this, but I forget what it is), and saw the turf farm area, a place where replacement grass grows to fix divots in the field.
We learned that ALL the seats in the stadium are power washed TWICE after each game. Do you know why? Because of all the peanut shells. Peanut shells, we were told, are the hardest things to clean up. It made me a little guilty about eating peanuts at the game later that day.
We saw the television studios and the miles and miles of HD cables. We learned that only special mud from a secret place in Georgia is used to rough up the baseballs, and we saw the World Series trophies that the Orioles had won.
The list just goes on and on, and now you may understand why $9 per person seems like a great deal, at least to people who are baseball-obsessed like my family.
After the tour, we had a few hours to kill, and did so by going to the Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. Rooms full of very old comic books – toys from the early 1900’s – TV shows like I Love Lucy and Howdy Doody – and of course, the newer things like Iron Man, Superman, and other super heroes. I love the museum – we had been there the year before also – but I always leave feeling a tad bit older because I recognize, and in some instances, even played with things similar to what is displayed in the their ‘old’ toy room.
After the museum, we stood in line waiting for the gates to Camden yard to open – just us and 40,000 of our closest friends. By the time we finally got to our seats, I think at least 15% of my body mass had melted from the heat. But not to worry, we quickly replenished with hots dogs, fries, ice cream, and lots and lots of beverages. We were also quite blessed to have our seats in the shade, even though shade when the temperature is 102 and the humidity is 98% doesn’t make a huge difference.
One really positive thing about Camden Yards is that they do not isolate people with disabilities. Our local baseball stadium, for example, has a disabled section. It is the only place wheelchairs can go. At Camden yards, the wheelchair seats are fully integrated with the regular seats. Kudos to the stadium designers for that!
The game was long but very good. The Nationals led for a while and then the Orioles made a comeback. There was enough action for fans of both teams. After the game, we made our way to the car and through the traffic and headed back to the Virginia side of the beltway battle.
Just as dark settled in, we checked into the Alexandria Homewood Suites, into a room that was the size of a small apartment, and just took it easy until bedtime. Day three had us heading home, but with a quick stop at Ikea first. More on that tomorrow….