Images of Game One of the ALDS

Baltimore was miserable on Sunday: it was cold, the sky was dark, and then it rained. And rained. And rained. And then, finally, Game One of the American League Division Series, which was eight innings of exhilaration and one of the loudest crowds I’ve ever been in followed by another inning where Camden Yards became a morgue. And my camera’s batteries were rather finicky, totally ruining many other opportunities for photos.

So, here we go (after the jump):

The crowds had gathered early, on both sides of Eutaw Street. Those who hadn’t come to the stadium had gone to local bars (the more of a dive, it appeared, the better). The talk in the lines were all over the place: the going-ons in the Tigers-Athletics game (the Tigers won shortly before gates opened), the start of the Nationals-Cardinals game, Fantasy Football updates, and the like. Camera were being set up, red-white-and-blue bunting had been hanged on the B&O Warehouse. Everybody was ready to go, it appeared.

As we entered (there were no programs being sold, just scorecards), the Orioles were finishing up batting practice and the Yankees had begun stretching:

The photo above was taken from behind the bullpens in the outfield, and if you click on it you’ll see that the zoom on my camera blurred out most of the faces of the players and personnel. However, if you look closely, you can make out somebody who looks like broadcaster Michael Kay (back left, in the suit and tie), outfielder Nick Swisher (in the black warmup at the end of the first group of players), and the instantly-recognizable skinny frame of Ichiro Suzuki (back turned to the left of the cage, no doubt standing in front of several Japanese media members).

Orioles taking batting practice, like the Yankee photo, it’s basically impossible to make anything out when it’s big, so I’ve put a thumbnail here.

Anyway, it was over two hours before the (scheduled) game time, and although the sky looked kind of ugly, it wasn’t raining when I got to my seat:

But it rained not too long after that:

And so it rained. And rained. And rained. Until, finally, it stopped raining, and the game got going. Truly, to see a MLB grounds crew at work is a sight to behold: all working in unison, pulling the gigantic tarp in unison as the crowd roars.

So, it was finally game time. Well, first there was the pre-game. The Oriole Bird rallied the crowd, the crowd booed C.C. Sabathia lustily as he walked to the bullpen to prepare.

And then, the announcer told everybody that they were about to be on television, so it was time for them to go nuts. The instrumental from “Seven Nation Army” began to play, and the crowd began to chant with it, replacing the wordless beats with a cry of “OOOOO-O-O-O-OH, OOOOO-O-O-O-OHHHHHH”. And all the while, everybody was waving the orange rally towels, emblazoned with the Orioles’ marketing slogan for the postseason: “BUCKle Up!”

And let me tell you, this and other parts of the game where the crowd got into it: it was loud. Very, very, very loud. During game 2 the TBS broadcast said the crowd was hitting up to 121 decibels, That means the stadium was slightly louder than a chainsaw. And those readings were taken from a dugout, I was seated near the back of the bottom deck, where there were plenty of surfaces for the sound to bounce around before it defused itself. In other words, it was very, very, loud.

And then, my camera died after I took two more photos of future Hall of Famers.

One of Derek Jeter:

And another of Ichiro:

The lesson learned? Well, for one thing, don’t use your closer in a non-save situation, and second off, make sure you have lithium batteries at all times, because if you forget them at home, they are useless to you.


More on the series later.

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