Friday, August 12, 2022

Live From Camden Yards

Timely is not one of the words to describe my writing. I mean, would now be a good time to share my thoughts on the Steelers drafting Kenny Pickett? Maybe I can write about the Tokyo Olympics. While this isn’t quite as old, this post is about attending the Pittsburgh Pirates game at Camden Yards in Baltimore last week.
Welcome to Baltimore!

Here are some tips for anyone looking for the least expensive way to attend a baseball game (at least in Baltimore).
1. Find a night where there is a thunderstorm but with rain expected to end within an hour of the scheduled first pitch.
2. See that the game is delayed and arrive at the stadium parking lot 30 minutes after the scheduled first pitch. Discover that there is no one working the lots which means free parking.
3. Bring kids. The Baltimore Orioles have a promotion where for every paid upper deck ticket, you get two free tickets for kids 9 and under. Thanks to arriving at the ticket office about 45 minutes after the scheduled first pitch and in some rain, the person at the box office declared my niece to be 9 even though she’s 10. Therefore, 6 tickets (for me, Pedro Tulo, Luigi, my brother, my niece, and my nephew) cost $26. That’s less than $4.50 per ticket!
* The game ended up starting around 8:50 after a 109-minute delay. You’re killing me…

* I ran into a good friend from high school at the game. It was great catching up as it was the first time I’ve seen him in probably 15 years.
* As I’m typing this, Orioles’ OF Brett Phillips is hitting .149 this season and is 2 for 11 (.182) since joining the team from the Tampa Bay Rays. In his 6-year career with 4 separate teams and 894 plate appearances, Phillips is hitting .190 with a .275 on-base percentage, a .350 slugging percentage, and a career WAR of -0.1. While he’s a good defensive outfielder, he’s not a very good hitter. I write all this because between innings he seems to engage with fans in left field. He’s smiling and always throws a ball into the stands. Seems like a good dude.
* In the 7th inning, Oneil Cruz attempted to check his swing on a 1-2 count. The home plate umpire signaled to the third base umpire to make a determination if it should be a strike or a ball. It was at this exact moment that I (and many others) noticed that there were only 3 umpires on the field. One umpire was sick and that was the first time I realized an umpire was missing. The umpire located near second base ruled that Cruz swung and called him out. While I think it was the right call, the Pirates bench was obviously upset based on the position of the umpire.
I bring this up because the same situation happened in the 8th inning. With Phillips at the plate, the same umpire in the same position ruled that he did not swing on a play. Pirates manager Derek Shelton was rightfully angry and got ejected. In my opinion, the home plate umpire should have made the decision himself. With that written, I think it was the right call again. You can watch it all here:

* Hot take alert! I want Kevin Newman on my team.  He’s really solid at shortstop and 2nd base and is great as a defensive replacement or an occasional starter. The problem is that he seems to have lost any power he had when he hit 12 home runs in 2019 as he only has 6 home runs in 891 plate appearances over the last 3 years including 0 home runs in 2022. He shouldn’t be an everyday starter.
* Mitch Keller didn’t seem to have his best stuff and only had 1 strikeout, but he only had 1 walk and allowed just 1 run in 6 innings. He’s pitched well lately, and I really hope he’s a solid starter for the Pirates for years to come.
* I really don’t have much else to write about the game itself. The Orioles won 1-0 as the Pirates managed just 6 hits. I saw the Orioles play in Toronto in June, and based on my large sample size of seeing the team twice in person this season, the bullpen (and in particular Felix Bautista) is legit!
This is the AP game recap.

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