So I went to the Orioles game tonight…

April 18, 2008 | Nestor Aparicio

And right now I’m sitting on my couch watching the Birds and the Caps play in extended action.

And I went to Oriole Park and actually gave them $9 tonight…

Have ANY of you been to a game this year? And if not, why NOT tonight?

The team was still above .500. The weather was postcard perfect. And it only cost me $9!

I looked high and low for scalpers while my son stood in the L-O-N-G and S-L-O-W lines to get tickets. The Orioles are so bad the scalpers don’t really stock the tickets (or unload them way ahead of time) and they don’t have any “cheap” seats, just the pricier season tickets that come their way.

So I bought from “the man” tonight.

Of course, I only stayed seven innings. (I left after the back to back home runs came when I was peeing in the restroom behind Sect. 384…I wasn’t in the bathroom 90 seconds and I missed them BOTH!)

I left because the third period of the Caps game was starting and I wanted to get home to watch the chase for the goblet. I figured if the Caps were going down in flames (again) in Philly, I wanted to witness it.

And honestly, with the Stanley Cup finals, you know it’s going to be pretty good.

And it has been…

BUT…I did get to the ballgame tonight and for the fourth consecutive time this season, I’ve been underwhelmed by the fact that NO ONE wants to come out and have some fun at a game. I really thought I’d find some relatively pissed off people like myself who just wanted to go and have some fun.

Maybe it’s worse than I thought it was. But it’s not going to stop me from going and having fun, but it’s really kinda sad and depressing, seeing the stadium so empty and lifeless.

I felt that way last April and May and I still feel that way. Last year I just gave up because it wasn’t any fun. I’m trying to not let that happen again this year.

But, here’s my “report” as a fan from the stands:

Lots of young people. A really long line of walk ups, which was kind of embarrassing since it was 70 degrees at game time and they knew for four days that it would be nice. Don’t you think they can find a more expeditious way to get people into the stadium? We stood in line a good 20 minutes and missed the first inning. It sucked.

Their organization is pretty inept at even serving people who WANT to be their customers. Don’t they WANT people to get into the ballpark for the anthem and first pitch? We were in line from 6:50 til 7:10.

By the time we got inside, it was 1-0. We did see the sac fly second run score for the White Sox, and did it from that gorgeous picnic area beyond the bullpens in left center field.

Man, is that a great view inside the ballpark and it was perfectly EMPTY!

Our seats were in Sect. 384 and the view from the fourth row is fabulous. Especially for $9!

For those of you who think I’m “bitching,” fair enough. But I did take my time to pay and actually GO to the game and I did have a good seat and it was for the most part “a good value for my money.”

But it could be so much better, and it wouldn’t be hard.

The best part, honestly, is just being at a game with my wife and my son and having some fun conversations and cheering and jeering at the game.

I consider the $9 a donation to Aubrey Huff’s porno habit and more of a “cover charge” than anything.

The park was very quiet and the game’s fast early pace and the Orioles lack of offensive production didn’t make it “an exciting experience.” There were probably 11 to 12,000 people there.

Matt Bender’s blog speaks to the obvious “official scoring” issues on the first hit (or non-hit) of the game.

You know something that REALLY sucks about going to an Orioles game? (No jokes here, please?)

The fact that they spent a zillion dollars – public or otherwise? — on that scoreboard and video screen and then REFUSE to show replays on ANYTHING you’d really want to see.

When Melvin Mora’s play at first base was close, there was NO REPLAY.

Geez, combine that with the fact that I’m already paying a few bucks a month to have the Mister Angelos & Sons Network, why bother going to the game when you have a better seat in the living room?

Even if it’s NOT in high definition…

One more “bitch” while I’m ranting: That “Ole, Ole” song they play when the team scores runs almost makes you want to see them get shut out. It’s the lamest version of that world-famous “football” chant I’ve ever heard. It’s pathetic and sad.

When Nick Markakis hits a bomb onto the right field porch to tie the game – as he did tonight and we heartily celebrated in Sect. 384 – there ought to be better music being played.

I’m home watching hockey now and it figures that the Caps game is in overtime as the Orioles have tied the game. The O’s got hot in the 9th inning and I got to watch it, too!

Now, at home, I’m getting the best of both worlds.

My remote control is burning it up as the Caps and Flyers play “free hockey.”

Hearing Craig Laughlin talking about the “old time hockey” that he used to play against the Philadelphia Flyers is sweet.

The arena is rocking…

The game is tied and we’re going to overtime. They MIGHT play all night. They really might!

But the sudden death ending to hockey is all-encompassing and overwhelming. With every rush, every shot, every block – and in the Caps case – every bad penalty call including Victor Kozlov’s goaltender interference call that almost did them in at the end of the third period.

Laughlin went insane. “He’s 6-5, 220. How’s he getting out of the way? That’s a bad call,” Laughlin screamed. Bruce Boudreau was about to see his season go down the tubes on a call that was dubious, if not, just putrid.

The Orioles are in the 10th inning after coming back from a two-run deficit twice.

The Caps are playing overtime hockey in Philly for their playoff lives.

It’s a good night to watch the games on TV.

And, again, I only spent $9!

 

*******

UPDATED AT 10:45 P.M.

Heroes all around for the Orioles. Big win, keeping them above .500 for a few more days with the Yankees coming to town.

Jamie Walker does his job.

Guillermo Quiroz started a rally.

Brian Roberts scored the winning run.

Melvin Mora got a huge hit in the ninth.

Kevin Millar and Luke Scott had great at bats in the tenth inning.

And young Adam Jones gets the big game-winner!

And everyone at MASN is delighted tonight!

Meantime, the Caps and Flyers have played 20 more relentless minutes and they literally might play until 6 a.m. when Drew comes on the air.

(I hope he’s asleep and not watching the game. But knowing his deep, intense hatred of the Flyers, I doubt it!)

Smokin’ Al Koken just said it: “Now, we go to the FIFTH period!”

Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin are ripping it up tonight.

GREAT stuff!

I’m sorry I left the Orioles game early, but if I’d stayed, I have missed the third AND fourth periods!

********

UPDATED AT 10:52

It STILL sucks to be a Caps fan, even 20 years later.

The Flyers won again.

I’m sitting on tickets for Game 7. Like I said, it sucks.

At least my Predators appear to be hanging in against Detroit. I watched the game last night. I’ll be watching tomorrow night as the series shifts to Motown.

The Stanley Cup playoffs are ALWAYS fun.

But it’s more fun when your team is winning…

Bruce Boudreau’s postgame press conference is going to be brutal.

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