Monday, June 25, 2012

The Parkway Payday

Isn't that a beautiful sight?  A packed house three days in a row.  Not certain if there is more orange or red, but you certainly can't miss the green.

Our neighbors from the other side of the B-W Parkway have been visiting, and their very excited fans made the trek with them.  For many loyalists, (as during the Civil War, Maryland has supporters on both sides) Camden Yards is just as close or closer.  And it's part of the cause to support the home team on the road.

Although you might see a few empty seats in the stands, it's because many fans are enjoying the game from our recently renovated viewing areas.

Part of the pre-season sculpture garden project included lowering barriers in the bullpen picnic area.  This offers a much better view of the field (not to mention those warming up below.)  Some fans now linger here for half the game.

A similar modification took place on Flag Court, above the out-of-town scoreboard.  Previously, the shoulder high wall made the diamond difficult to see.  Now, with an unobstructed view of the action from right field, Flag Court has become a wander-around zone as well.

(If you're wondering about the weird angle, it's because I'm hanging out of our Board Room window for this shot.)

But the real crowd-pleaser (particularly among those out of town guests) is the rooftop dining/drinking patio over the batter's eye wall.

This lounge, with barstools, tables, drink rails and flat screen TVs, is like a reality version of your favorite sports bar.  It offers a wonderful view of the field -- particularly home plate, where the batters are watching you as watch them.

But the rivalry on the field is not the only thing that brought these Washingtonians north.

"A Taste of Two Cities," a food truck rally involving nearly 40 mobile restaurants, was staged at the nearby Westport Waterfront on Saturday.

If you are unfamiliar with food trucks, it is a gastronomical phenominum popular with urban hipsters who need their gourmet cuisine available at convenient curbsides. 

Baltimore was a little later to the food truck game than Washington, but the uneasy relationship between tax-paying establishments and their traffic dodging competitors has been formalized through the intervention of the Mayor, herself a food truck advocate.

So about 20 of the finest federal city foodmobiles rumbled north to the shores of the Middle Branch near the Camden Yards complex, for a showdown against their Patapsco counterparts. 
The interesting thing is how cleverly this meeting of the rival cities on a Saturday afternoon was incorporated into the one taking place on the nearby diamond that evening.  Food fans from both sides used the waterfront feast as part of the game day experience.  In fact, the light rail made the doubleheader even more appealling because Westport is just one stop short of the complex.  A lot of folks chose to park their cars early and shuttle between the two locations.

We can't help but wonder if among those Nats fans there may have lurked some nervous DC United boosters as well.  It's no secret that MSA was asked to do a second study of the Westport waterfront location for a soccer-specific stadium if the Red and Black relocate.  If they wanted to check it out, this was a good time to do so.

On Sunday afternoon, the O's came from behind in the 8th inning on Matt Weiter's two run homer and hung on for a 2-1 win.  The O's took two of three from the Nats for the weekend, but if you're really keeping score Baltimore took three out of four from Washington, because . . .

Baltimore won the food truck competition behind the steller performances of the Gypsy Queen Cafe and Miss Shirley's, AND the estimated 12,000 in attendance found one more waterfront location in Baltimore to enjoy a good time before a game at Camden Yards.

As for the Nats and the Federal City Foodies . . . . there's always next year !!!!

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