Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Just like the Green Monstah"

The season was almost two months old before the annual migration of Red Sox Nation descended on Baltimore.  Eager to record their reactions to the new amenties at Oriole Park, I ventured to Eutaw Street as soon as the gates opened.

Naturally, the Beaners got there first.  You can count on them to get the jump if they aren't warming up across Russell Street.

The above two lost no time in securing rail seats on the rooftop deck overlooking centerfield.  When I asked what they thought of this new perch, the one on the right remarked.  "This is great!!  Just like the Green Monstah."

The two on the right preferred being out of the direct sun but still at the bar with a big flat screen.  They were still there when I left some time later. "Yastremski" suggested the stools be sold as season tickets because he could spend a whole summer there.

These fellows were celebrating an annual rite of summer.  Every year, without fail, they catch at least one Bosox game at Oriole Park.  Part of the ritual is stopping in at Boog's place as soon as they arrive.  From there, they check into flag court for batting practice and a few brewskis.  They were particularly impressed with how lowering the rail in Flag Court improved the sight lines on the field.  They considered this a great improvement to both the visual and gastronomical experiences.

Not everyone rushed the gate when it opened, of course.  There were still some standing around outside waiting for the crowds to thin.

This philosophical soul, with his "Still Believe" Sox shirt, is spending some quality time with Babe.  I had to giggle at the irony.

Usually when you see Sox fans assembling at Babe's pedestal, you hear references to "The Curse" or another perceived slight that this Baltimore boy became a huge star only after leaving Boston.

Not this fellow.  He was content to sit there and reflect on what a great pitcher Babe was and how well he performed on the mound for the Red Sox while he was there.

And yes, he does believe the Sox will rise again, just as his shirt says.

As annoyed as many true Oriole fans get with this invasion, (and yes, we've seen those "Fenway South" t-shirts, too) there are a number of our neighbors who see it in a very positive light.

After taking pictures in the stadium, I wandered across Russell Street.  It looked like Opening Day.   You couldn't wedge into any of the establishments, the sidewalks were filled, and the folks from Boston (as well as the locals you can see in this picture) were having a splendid time pre-gaming.

I've been told by several of the folks on the other side of the bar that this has been one of the best springs ever.  Crowds are up, people are coming earlier before the games and staying later afterwards.  There is a positive energy in the air, and the regulars seem to be taking in more games than in previous years. 

While this might not be the most reliable economic indicator, (just as the observations from the rooftop bar are hardly architecturally astute,) the vibes from this first visit of Red Sox Nation are gratifying.  They were generous in their praise of our stadium enhancements, they genuinely enjoy visiting here, and they revel in the whole downtown scene.

We may not agree on much, (unless the Yankees come up in the conversation,) but we do share a great appreciation for the magical experience of Camden Yards.

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