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The Boys are Back in Town

Aug 08, 2011 10:31PM ● Published by Anonymous

I spent my early years in Baltimore, so nothing quite says summer to me like an Orioles game. Some of my most vivid memories are of riding the light rail with my dad to the stadium, getting off, and walking through the Eutaw street entrance. Then, we'd sit in the upper stands. He'd eat peanuts, and I'd dig into my cup of cream served in a mini Orioles' helmet.

Certainly, the team's changed since then, but I'm still a fan. So, on Friday, I stopped by Camden Yards to watch the O's take on the Toronto Blue Jays.

You probably won't be surprised to hear that they lost. But, they almost worked it into extra innings. Nick Markakis doubled to right in the bottom of the ninth, allowing Robert Andino to get across home. Adam Jones just couldn't quite make it happen when he stepped up to the plate. The Jays got the win 5-4.

There's more to a game at Camden Yards than baseball, though. I know that sounds like a silly thing to say. I mean, it is a baseball park, after all. But, it's true. It's the atmosphere too.The vendors, the yelling, the way a breeze breaks the stifling summer heat--they all make a baseball game what it is. And, of course there's the peanuts and ice cream. Getting another souvenir helmet cup is on my list of things to do. Don't think they have mint chocolate chip ice cream anymore, though. Bummer.

So, the O's may not have be the shining stars of this season. They might not even look too good for next year. But, I'll keep going. I keep telling my friends that things will change. And, until then, just enjoy the season.

Once that season's over, though, football fever seeps through Baltimore. There's no antidote. Nor does anyone seem to want one.

And, with the NFL lockout securely ended, the Ravens capitalized. On Saturday morning, they hosted a free, open practice at M&T Bank Stadium. And man, did people turn out. Nearly 25,000 Ravens fans made their way down, and sat through the hot sun and sweaty neighbors to watch their boys play.

Now, I'm going to be completely honest with you. I'm not a football fan. I don't dislike the sport--it was just never something that came across my radar. My family's always been a hockey one. (C-A-P-S! CAPS! CAPS! CAPS!)

However, due to some recent acquisitions to that family, football's been thrown into the mix. And, being the eager beaver that I am, I decided that heading to the Purple Palace would be a good way to start my education.

From what I could tell, Saturday's stadium practice had a dual purpose. For one, it helped soothe the wounds of the lockout, which kept training camp out of Westminster. And, as the friend who I went with puts it, it also, "served as the fans' first real opportunity to see the Ravens' 2011 draft class, up close and personal, along with new off-season acquisitions—i.e. new fullback, Vonta Leach."

To me, the Ravens looked pretty good. I mean, they mostly caught things, and ran around a lot. Those are good signs, right? But, being the football know-nothing that I am, this might not satisfy your curiosities about the team. I'll let my friend tell you his opinion. Trust me, he's an expert.

"Some of the rookies looked a little rough around the edges, but they definitely displayed potential," he says, adding, "Despite the few passes that sailed, Tyrod Taylor looks like he could develop into a quality NFL player. Torrey smith made some nice grabs. and most importantly, Vonta Leach looked like he's ready to butt some heads in the offensive backfield—Ray Rice must be lovin' life right now."

See? Better than "they mostly caught things, and ran around a lot," eh?

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