Saturday, August 01, 2009

On The Road: Aberdeen

Greetings from the hotel that Cal built.

It has power. You have no idea how great that is.

Yesterday was just one of those travel days that nobody will ever believe. Start with some rain, add in stupid drivers and slow traffic, and you get a trip from Carmel to Baltimore that takes nearly five hours (normal trip? No more than four).

Still, we could recover. My travel companions (my mother and Sean) were in good spirits as we boarded a "duck boat" tour of Charm City. We dined in the Inner Harbor (a chance for me to enjoy a Seafood Sampler from Phillips), enjoyed our amphibious vehicle ride, and hoped the weather would hold out.

Yes the minute we stepped off the duck boat, it began to change. Heavy rains pelted us as we did our best to hurry to shelter. That rain would subside long enough for us to get back to our car (parking = $18) and begin the drive to Aberdeen. That should have taken about a half-hour. No dice.

I guided us out of Balmer (Baltimore) on Interstate 83, going past a nasty flipped car on the southbound side, not too far from Loyola College in Maryland (I think that's the official name).

Traffic on the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) stunk but we dealt with it, using White Marsh Blvd. to get to I-95. Eventually, that slowed up and I bailed at Exit 77 to get to a Wawa for gas and drinks.

Then I saw the Wicked Witch of the West fly by. And Auntie Em.

It was a few raindrops at first, then a wall of water crashed into me as I tried to pump gas. I was soaked. No matter - just get me to the hotel so I can change and onto the ballpark.


I used back roads from the Wawa to Ripken Stadium, despite the best efforts of Sean the GPS (that's what we've named it for now). "She" (the British voice in the GPS) wanted me to get back to I-95 by hook or whatever. No way.

As we approached Long Drive (get it? That's where Ripken Stadium is located), I noticed a really bad thing. No lights. Anywhere. Power was gone and wouldn't return until 12:30 this morning.

But the game, you say?

Oh it happened. Without power. It took until 9:15 to get generators to the ballpark, fire up the lights, have the players stretch and warm up, and throw first pitch. Oh, and there had been a wedding in the ballpark earlier in the day. With no power. Didn't seem to bother anyone.

Geoff and I were able to get on the air just in time, by borrowing power from the PA booth (via the generator). The radio booths otherwise did not have power, so Aberdeen's broadcast didn't happen. Thus the world (I'm kidding) was listening to me as Brian Ward hit an eighth inning two-run homer to lead the Birds to a 4-1 victory. It was actually one of the most fun broadcasts I've been a part of. That's good, considering the mood of the ballpark was awful when we arrived, facilitated by and over-officious twit with a bad attitude over a free hat picked up by a seven year-old.

That seven year-old never saw a pitch of the game. We'll hope for better tonight.

At least we have power.

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