Thanks to MASN, especially the PR team of Todd Webster and Kristen Hudak, for including me among several Oriole bloggers invited up the Camden Yards on Tuesday for Oriole Blogger Night. Coming up from Atlanta, I am pretty sure I took the long distance award but I wouldn't have missed this for anything. Drove up to my Dad's place in southern Virginia Monday night, drove to Baltimore Tuesday morning, back to southern Virginia after the game and all the way home yesterday. It was my own personal version of The Cannonball Run. (I even brought beer back...the boys are thirsty in Atlanta...(OK, I'm mixing my Burt Reynolds movies a bit)...but that's a story for another blog...) Thank God it wasn't rained out!
We assembled outside the stadium with Todd before the game and then headed up to the booth to see Gary Thorne and Buck Martinez. Below are three soundless, "Blair Witch Project" quality video snippets of the booth. Try not to get nauseous.
First, the Oriole Blogosphere pours into the booth. You'll see Amber Theoharis off to the right and Gary Thorne as we enter:
Second, Amber comes in to say a quick hello.
Here comes Buck Martinez! Since there's no sound, I'll just tell you that Gary Thorne's voice is not the product of a bunch of perfectly aligned settings on a studio soundboard; the guy has some serious pipes and delivered his answers to our questions in those same dulcet tones you hear on TV. Buck and Gary fielded questions and, as it turns out, they read none of the collective bloggers work. I could have sworn that Gary said he only has time to read "reputable sources". Ouch! That's OK Gary, we like you anyway. Thanks to those guys for taking a few minutes out of their work day to speak with us.
Anyway, after that is was outside to watch a bit of the O's Xtra Pregame Show:
And then back upstairs to enjoy the game from the MASN suite. I have been to the luxury suites at Turner Field a couple of times before. These suites were nicer. Good crab cakes too.
Many people showed up in the suite during the game. Rick Dempsey came up for nearly the whole game, keeping very detailed score throughout the game. I chatted with Rick for a second, shook his hand, thanked him for being nice to my son at Spring Training a few years back. Class act, this Dempsey. Glad I named the blog for him!
Rick hard at work...
...on his painstakingly detailed, color coded score cards.
Al Bumbry made a brief appearance although I did not talk to him. Jim Hunter was rather personable and talked with some of us for awhile. I met MASN's Steve Melewski, again really nice guy. Roch Kubatko came down to chat. I inadvertently caught this mildly uncomfortable exchange between Roch and Duck from Camden Chat...more on that over here. (Roch was actually really cool to everybody...that comment is tongue-in-cheek... ;-) )
Andy MacPhail announced the impending arrival of Matt Wieters which sent the MASN reporters scrambling out of the suite...
Todd took a few of us down to the bowels of Camden Yards to see the MASN production truck. Very impressive.
Did I mention it was Jason Berken's major league debut and the Orioles won 7-2? Really, it could not have gotten much better.
It was really great meeting so many in the Oriole blogosphere whom I have merely e-mailed in the past. There were three people from Camden Chat (Stacey, Duck, Jonny Pops) , Anthony Amobi from Oriole Post and Oriole Magic, James Baker from Oriole Magic, Matt from Roar from 34, Neal Schafer from The Loss Column, The Wayward O (Pete Brush), Zach Wilt from Baltimore Sports Report and Chris Stoner from Baltimore Sports and Life. I'm sure I missed somebody but those are the people I remember meeting.
All in all, well worth the combined 24 hours on the road over the course of three days.
I'll post some more snapshots and such over the weekend. But there's more! Wayward O recounts his experiences, Stacey from Camden Chat details the event and Anthony Amobi will have a recap up (with expected great photography) soon. Ken recaps the event at Oriole Card "O" the day, Neal has a write up over at The Loss Column and James Baker has his take over at Oriole Magic.
Thanks again to the MASN team for making this happen and for everyone involved with MASN to take time out of their work day (that point was not lost on me) to make a bunch of uber-fans feel at home.