Monday, October 01, 2007

Camden Yards... without Cal

I always wanted to visit Orioles Park at Camden Yards... but wanted to do so while now-Hall of Famer Cal Ripken was still actively playing. That never happened, but yesterday I had the chance to go to Baltimore to watch the Orioles play the playoff-bound NY Yankees at Camden. The O's lost 10-4 and it was a very warm day, but Todd (my co-worker friend) and I had a lot of fun making the bus trip there and are already looking forward to a return visit in '08.

While there, I did as much scoreboard-watching as I did game-watching, hoping for what actually happened -- a NY Mets loss and a Philadelphia Phillies win!!!! The combination gave the Phillies the NL East division title and their first post-season appearance since 1993!! (note the scoreboard at Camden photo capturing a video of the celebration) They'll play the Wildcard team on Wednesday!!! Go fightin' Phils. Hope you can catch Phillies Fever!!!
Here's the wrap from (as luck would have it, the 4th inning is when Todd and I went to the concessions to get some food ... we saw some of the feats on video but didn't get to fully take it in... oh well, neither of us are Yankee fans, so its OK)...
BALTIMORE -- On the 162nd day, there was rest.

After an emotionally draining season, the Yankees took a more relaxed approach Sunday as the team's stars took their final bow in a 10-4 victory against the Orioles.

"The guys have played a lot of innings -- a lot of stressful innings -- in the second half of the year," third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. "It's good to get your mind and body rested."

It was the team's final game before Thursday's playoff opener against Cleveland. Rodriguez received the loudest ovation from the Yankees fans in Baltimore when he was removed from the game in the fourth inning, but inside the dugout the biggest cheers went to Bobby Abreu, who picked up his 100th RBI of the season in the fourth inning.

It was a milestone he had been chasing for the entire month, and Torre thought it showed.

"I was surprised he got a walk his first time up, because he was swinging at everything," the manager said with a laugh.

Abreu's quest had been picked up by the team, and the day's honorary manager, catcher Jorge Posada, was waiting with his team to congratulate Abreu in the dugout.

"When he got it, it was like a load came off for all of us," Posada said. "I can only imagine what he felt like."

Abreu hit the milestone four times with the Phillies, but he said this year was special because he battled through a rough first half of the season. At the end of May, the right fielder was hitting .228. Like the team, he went on a second-half tear to boost his numbers.

But as he approached 100 RBIs, things slowed down. He stalled at 98, picking up just one in the past 11 games before Sunday.

"I've been looking for that for a long time," he said. "I never gave up."