A day at the ballpark: a live blog recap from Camden Yards

April 06, 2009 | Drew Forrester

8:00 — This one is in the books. I’ll be back on the air at 6 a.m. tomorrow with Glenn and we’ll discuss the “undefeated” 1-0 Orioles on what was a memorable 10-5 win here today. It was fun spending the day with you here on WNST.net. And most of the people at the ballpark were even nice to me.

7:45 — “One run will score. Two runs will score.” Aubrey Huff just broke the game open (again) here in the bottom of the eighth with a double to the wall with the bases loaded. It’s now 10-5 and the Orioles are three outs away from a 1-0 start to the 2009 season.

7:28 — The ghost of Jeffrey Maier appears in leftfield at Camden Yards. With Gregg Zaun aboard and Cesar Izturis at the plate, the O’s least-likely guy to hit a home run belted one to the wall and Johnny Damon and a local O’s fan went toe-to-toe for the ball. Replays show a disputable call but Izturis is in the dugout and the Orioles are now up 8-5 on a wild and memorable Opening Day at Camden Yards.

7:21 — True drama at Camden Yards on Opening Day. Two on. Two out. Eighth inning. Game on the line and a run down for Teixeira as the fans piled on. The hometowner in pinstripes softly grounded to Brian Roberts to end the threat. Score one for Baltimore on that free agent deal! The Birds are holding on and they’ll deliver a lead to George Sherrill in the ninth inning on Opening Day against the Yankees. They’re holding on…a run here in the bottom of the eigth would help.

7:18 — The twists and turns continue. Jim Johnson came on in the 8th and allowed Nick Swisher his first hit as a Yankee, a leadoff double. Gardner did his job, getting the pinchrunner Pena over to third base, but Derek Jeter grounded to Brian Roberts with the infield in (a rare situation as the home team).  Johnson then gave up an ugly walk to Damon and the trouble continues here in the 8th. Zaun just blocked a near wild pitch that would’ve tied the game. Teixeira is headed up and the crowd is bonkers with boos.

7:00 — Sarfate has now come on to face Xavier Nady with two on and one out in the 7th inning. He went deep into the count with Nady and induced a doubleplay ball to Melvin Mora, who ended the inning. Six more outs and a one-run lead. It’s 6-5 and the O’s are trying to hold on.

6:54 — Trembley has seen enough of Chris Ray. Ray’s line will do his ERA no favors:

1/3 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk and 1 home run. His ERA is 54.00.

On cometh Jamie Walker to face Cano…

Dennis Sarfate is next…

6:50 –Hideki Matsui must know this one is getting beamed back to Tokyo as well as Wednesday’s start by Koji Uehara will be. Matsui just launched a two-run bomb to right center off of Ray with Damon aboard. It’s not 6-5 and the Yankees fans — certainly less than 10,000 of them — have come to life.

6:48 — The Orioles have had a nice recipe today for success. They beat up Sabathia, Guthrie got them to the 7th inning with a nice lead and here comes Chris Ray to lead the vaunted bullpen in a potential “save” situation over the next three innings. Teixeira has been no factor in the game and just got lustily booed yet again after popping out to third base in foul territory.

6:38 — Bad baserunning is in the water today as Brian Roberts has now been pinched on the basepath, getting hung up trying to steal in the bottom of the sixth.

6:30 –Xavier Nady just ran the Yankees out of the inning with a major blunder rounding third base on a bleeder up the middle by Derek Jeter. Izturis caught Nady way beyond the third base bag and had hit dead to rights. Guthrie survives a rough 6th inning. Orioles 6, Yankees 3.

6:23 –The Yankees don’t mess around. It’s almost like the previous half-inning angered up the blood. A homer, a walk to Cano and a fan-interference double down the left field line on a streaking shot by Xavier Nady, and all of a sudden Guthrie is on the ropes. Brian Bass is up in the bullpen.

It’s 6-3 Yankees and Guthrie hasn’t registered an out here in the 6th.

6:20 — Jorge Posada just hit one to deep centerfield that still hasn’t landed. Adam Jones looked like a statue on that one. He didn’t even turn. A prodigious shot! The Yankees still have 12 outs. But Guthrie has been rolling and the lead is still 6-2.

6:13 — C.C. Sabathia has come unraveled. A series of hits and long at-bats has resulted in a 3-2 borderline walk to Luke Scott with the bases loaded and it’s an early shower for the Yankees great lefthanded hope of 2009. (So much for all of that money they spent).

Sabathia leaves the game and here comes Jonathan Albaladejo, a righthander who came from the Washington Nationals.

Sabathia’s day?

4.1 IP, 8 hits, 6 runs, all earned, 5 walks and zero strikeouts.

It’s 6-1 Birds and the bases are still loaded.

6pm –

The O’s have just went up 4-1 on a Nick Markakis infield single, his 2nd RBI of the game.

I told you Sabathia wouldn’t make it out of the 5th inning.

5:55 pm –

Mark Teixeira took what appeared to be strike 3 on a 3-2 breaking ball with 2 outs and a runner on 3rd in the top of the 5th.

Instead, it was called ball 4.

Every head in the press box turned to the TV sets to see the replay.

Unfortunately, the MASN broadcast team (Thorne/Palmer) was busy talking to Joe Biden.

It turned out to be no big deal when Hideki Matsui popped up to end the inning.

However, Tex’s walk could have been a major part of the game…and we didn’t see a replay.

3-1 (O’s) going to the bottom of the 5th.

5:40 pm –

$23 million a year for THIS guy?

You know that’s what Derek Jeter is thinking to himself as he watches C.C. Sabathia put runners on base left and right in the first 4 innings of today’s opener.

Right now, the O’s are threatening in the bottom half of the 4th as Ty Wigginton and Luke Scott are on 1st and 2nd respectively.

Gregg Zaun just hit one about 350 feet to deep left for an out, but Wigginton advanced to third with only one out.

Now, Cesar Izturis is up with a chance to make up for his fielding blunder in the 3rd.

I’m telling you…Sabathia will never see the 6th inning of this game.  Not from the mound, at least.

Make book on it.

Wait — Izturis just grounded into an inning ending double play and Teixeira made a nice half-diving grab at first on the throw.

Not so fast.

3-1 in favor of the good guys after 4 here at the ballpark.

5:25pm –

Maybe the Yankees should take a page from the O’s book on how to treat their #1 pitcher and cut C.C. Sabathia’s pay by $120,000.  He deserves it after his first three innings of work in pinstripes.

Adam Jones cracked a 2-run triple that nearly left the ballpark and Nick Markakis followed with a sac fly to left as the O’s scored three times in the 3rd to pull ahead, 3-1.

Cesar Izturis started the inning with a slicing single to right and then stole second, followed by a Brian Roberts walk.

The New Yorkers gathered here (less than I thought would be here…maybe 10,000?) have gotten awfully quiet.

What a shame, eh?

Hee hee…

5:10pm –

New York goes ahead 1-0 on a Johnny Damon sac fly to left, scoring Brett Gardner from 3rd.

Gardner advanced to 3rd after Derek Jeter slow-hopped one into the hole at short.  Gardner was in the process of trying to steal 2nd on the play and easily scampered into 3rd when Jeter’s bouncer rolled into left field.

The shortstop-hole was open because Cesar Izturis was moving to his left to cover 2nd on the steal attempt.

Why wouldn’t Roberts have been covering 2nd with the right handed hitting Jeter at the plate?

Not sure if Dave Trembley will point that out to Izturis when he comes to the dugout, but I think, unless things have changed, that’s something we were taught in little league.

Anyway, it’s 1-0 going to the bottom of the 3rd.

Mark Teixeira sent a slow dribbler to Jeremy Guthrie for his second out of the season.

He’s getting heckled big time behind the Yanks dugout.

Big time.

4:55 pm –

The first inning lasted longer than all of Jeremy Guthrie’s spring training stints…combined.

It took nearly 25 minutes to play the first inning but no one scored.  C.C. Sabathia uncorked two wild pitches in that first inning as he and catcher Jorge Posada are still trying to “find their groove”…but Brian Roberts got thrown out at home on a sharp grounder to 3rd and Aubrey Huff smashed one right to Derek Jeter to end the inning on a force out at second.

Both teams have one hit (Jeter, NY and Roberts, BAL) and have left two on base.

Mark Teixeira popped out in his first at bat.

He was booed.

Loudly.

There are scattered rows of empty seats in the left field bleachers.  I don’t get it.

Sabathia looks better in the second inning.

Much, in fact.

Gregg Zaun just waved at a change-up.  Literally.

4:25 pm –

There are at least 1500 empty seats here right now.  Maybe closer to 2,000.

A veteran local “broadcaster” agrees with me.  I won’t mention his name in case the team accuses him of consorting with the known enemy.

What happened?

Bad weather scare people off?

The temperature has dropped at least 10 degrees since that last rain downpour just after 3pm.

We’re a few minutes away from the first pitch.

Vice President Joe Biden thew out the ceremonial opening pitch and tossed it 54 mph (and high…out of the strike zone).

The O’s just announced Biden will start Saturday’s game against the Rays.

Back with more in a while.

Baseball is minutes away.

4:00 pm –

They’re introducing the O’s support staff now and the background music is Rush’s “YYZ” from Moving Pictures.

Nice touch.

Mark Teixeira was booed, booed and booed some more when he was introduced 5 minutes ago.

He ran through the Yankees lined up between 3rd base and 2nd base and everyone seemed to be getting a big kick out of the fact he was getting laced with boos from the crowd.

What the hell does he care, really?

He has $180 million.

I get booed everyday at WNST.net and I don’t make half that much.

First pitch is on the way.

By the way, for the record, I say “Tex” does not homer today.

That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing it.

As long as the O’s win.

3:55 pm –

The orange carpet is out, stretching from the centerfield wall all the way to the pitcher’s mound.

Jim Hunter is doing the emcee work, saying something about the new grass at the ballpark.  No one is listening.

Let’s just play baseball, huh?

It’s 3:55 pm and I see the following:

a. A lot of orange

b. A lot of empty seats

I hope they fill in soon.

C.C. Sabathia has just strolled out of the Yankees dugout and is heading to the bullpen.  He’s doing some light jogging.  It looks like C.C. isn’t in the best shape of his life.

I’m going with the reverse-lock theory today.

Guthrie, horrible in spring training, will be decent today.  O’s win 5-4.

3:30 pm –

This game has been more on again, off again than Brett Favre.

The grounds crew has returned and they’re removing the tarp from the field.

You know what they say about the weather in Baltimore:  ”If you don’t like it, hang around and it’ll change in an hour.”

Well, that took about 20 minutes.

POURED for 6 minutes and now the sun is peeking through again.

Not sure if this will start at 4:05 pm.  Gonna guess “NO” on that one.  But it won’t be long until we’re playing ball here at OPACY.

3:20 pm –

The rain has returned to Baltimore.

Rumor on the street (here, in the press box) is it’s going to hang around like this for about 45 minutes.

Let’s hope the O’s hang around with the Yankees for more than 45 minutes later on today.

The tarp is down, the umbrellas are out and the New York faithful scattered (heavily) behind the Yankees’ dugout have retreated to the safe cover of the concourse.

Because the Yankees used the indoor batting cages over by the O’s locker room, they all trotted out of the NY dugout and made the 30-yard trip across the back of home plate to the dugout entrance of the O’s.

Every New York player that hit the field was serenaded by the New York fans.

“Der-ek Je-ter,-  clap, clap, clap, clap, clap  - Der-ek Je-ter, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap”

Sickening.

It’s absolutely POURING here right now.

POUR-ING.

Holy cow.

Meanwhile, the Japanese media are taking pictures of the storm.

Not sure what to make of that.

3:05 pm –

The grounds crew just raced onto the field and quickly put the tarp back over the infield.

It’s sunny here right now.

Is rain on the way?

There is no batting practice (on the field) today.

Instead, the players are using the indoor batting cages underneath the stadium.

By the way, candy and snacks are 50 cents and 75 cents in the press box.

I’ve never been much for chocolate and such, but 75 cents for a Snickers bar doesn’t seem that outlandish to me.  Probably costs at least .89 at CVS, right?

Rumor on the street is the press lounge pre-game meal has gone up to $10.00 ($9 last year) and it’s no longer free on opening day.  Hey, it’s a tough economy out there.  No more freebies for anyone.

I haven’t confirmed that — Brent Harris of Comcast SportsNet just informed me…

I’ll go on a recon mission in a while.  I’d like a cup of coffee.  But I won’t pay $10 for it.

No word on the rain situation, but the tarp IS down here.

In case you’re counting, ZERO sour-puss looks from the O’s PR staff so far.

That said — I haven’t made eye contact with any of them yet, though.

Probably better that way.

2:40 pm –

Blue skies have arrived in Baltimore and opening day is on schedule.

Sadly, right now, anyway…there are more Yankees fans behind the NY dugout than O’s fans behind the Baltimore dugout.

Then again, Baltimore folks put in a half-day of work today.  Those New Yorkers piled into town yesterday, presumably.

Ventured downstairs earlier.

Saw Derek Jeter eating an apple.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m gonna buy some apples on the way home.

If Jeter eats ‘em, they must be good for you.

So far, it’s been fun.

I haven’t been harrassed or been subjected to an evil-eye from one O’s employee yet.

Then again, I haven’t seen any of them.

The over-under on how many “Oh, it’s you…” looks I get today from PR staffers has been set:  3.5

Lastly, feel free to throw any questions my way while I’m here in the press box “reporting” on the game.  Jerry in Timonium already sent a comment and made me do some work…he used the expression “ad hominem” earlier, which, I figured, is some kind of fancy-schmancy lawyer term.  I was right — here’s what it means.

Back in a while with more.

Over/under on sour-puss looks from the O’s PR staff is 3.5.  As Al Czervik said in “Caddyshack” — “place your bets, place your bets…”

1:55 pm update –

So, I walked in through the media entrance and pulled my hat down real low over my eyes and worked my way into the building.

I’m here…in Seat #106 of the press box at Camden Yards.

I have a bad feeling 106 might be a number O’s fans become familiar with in September.

If you know what I mean.

The rain is letting up and barring some kind of weird weather transition in the next 90 minutes, baseball will be played here at just after 4pm today.  The sun is breaking through, in fact.  Play ball!

Starting lineups for those of you who want to gamble on the game.  And, frankly, why else would you care what the starting lineups are 2 hours and 10 minutes before the first pitch unless you are looking to make a wager, right?

Yankees –

1. Derek Jeter (SS)

2. Johnny Damon (LF)

3. Mark Teixeira (1B) — and my pick to win the AL MVP this year

4. Hideki Matsui (DH)

5. Jorge Posada (CA)

6. Robinson Cano (2B)

7. Xavier Nady (RF)

8. Cody Ransom (3B)

9. Brett Gardner (CF)

Pitching: C.C. Sabathia

Orioles –

1. Brian Roberts (2B)

2. Adam Jones (CF)

3. Nick Markakis (RF)

4. Melvin Mora (3B)

5. Aubrey Huff (1B)

6. Ty Wigginton (DH)

7. Luke Scott (LF)

8. Gregg Zaun (CA)

9. Cesar Izturis (SS)

Pitching: Jeremy Guthrie

NOTES:  Interesting to see Luke Scott in the lineup facing a left-handed pitcher.  I guess his hot start, coupled with Felix Pie’s miserable spring, left Dave Trembley with little choice but to use Scott today.  Actually, Scott SHOULD be the left-fielder…so this is a just result.  Melvin Mora as the clean-up hitter?  OK, if you say so.

Back with more in a little while.

“Reporting live from the baseball stadium, Drew Forrester, WNST.net”

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