Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cal Ripken Jr. Statue Unveiled at the Yard

The hubs was the happiest guy in the world last Thursday night.  A beautiful day at Camden Yards on a Thursday night, plus a win against the Yankees always brings a smile to his face. 

This post is a few days late, but it still warrants a post (in my opinion).  Last Thursday night the hubs and I joined over 46k people at Camden Yards to watch the fifth of six Orioles Legends have their statue unveiled.  You could say the night belonged to Cal Ripken Jr., but Cal's a gracious host and he said over and over again that he was so thankful to the fans and excited about the current Orioles team.  You know, the team that is currently tied with my beloved Yankees in first place. 

I've been to a lot of games at Camden Yards and I've never seen so many people there.  Clarification, I've been to multiple opening days and I've never seen so many O's fans at Camden Yards.  The hubs and I weren't sure what to expect from the crowd because it was a game against the Yankees and Yankees fans travel extremely well.  Heck, Camden Yards even has the nickname, "the Yankee Stadium of the South" because when the Yanks are in town so are their fans.  However, on last Thursday night the O's fans were in the clear majority.

I'm pretty sure the hubs wore the #31 in college because of 2131, which is the number of games Cal Ripken Jr. started consecutively 17 years ago and broke Lou Gehrig's streak to become "The Ironman." I'm also certain that the hubs thought that I wore #8 in college for Cal and it was a pretty sad day when I had to explain to him that I didn't wear it for Cal.  No offense Cal.

I don't know if there's a prettier sight in Baltimore than a packed Camden Yards and the Warehouse at sunset.  The stadium is just magical when it's full of people.  It's loud, energetic, and such a fun place to be. Yes, even a Yankees fan has fun at the Yard.

Seriously, I've never seen so much Orange in my life! 

Random sidebar: but is it just me or are the beer cans getting bigger at stadiums these days?  I asked the hubs to get me a beer and he came back with that behemoth. 

Later in the game the hubs and I ducked out for half an inning to visit the statutes.  I need to go back because my pictures of Eddie Murray didn't come out as sharp as I would have liked them to.  The great O's manager Earl Weaver is above. 

It wouldn't be a statue of Jim Palmer if it didn't incorporate his leg kick!  The detail in these bronze sculptures was absolutely amazing.  I know I don't have a picture to share, but Eddie Murray played when the players shared batting helmets and therefore they wore their caps underneath their helmets.  That level of detail was included in the statue.  Eddie even had to approve the amount of facial hair that was included on his statue.  

Of course, snagging a few pictures of the newest statue was a bit difficult.  Everyone wanted a picture with Cal's statue.  I was able to snag pictures as the statue was temporarily empty in between groups assembling in their positions with the statue. 

It was only fitting that Cal's statue showed him going back in the hole to field a ball.  The man was an exceptional shortstop and third basemen over his career.  Both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have credited Cal with revolutionizing the shortstop position and ushering in a new era of shortstops.  Neither Jeter nor Rodriguez would have been considered shortstops based on their body types if it wasn't for Cal.  

The current O's team made sure to attract their own share of attention in the game.  After jumping out to a 6-1 lead and then letting the game get all tied up in the 8th inning the O's came crashing back on a home run charge led by Adam Jones.  Matt Reynolds hit two home runs during the game and there is his above rounding the bases on his second home run.  The O's won the game 10-6. 

But, let's not forget the real reason everyone was there.  It was actually perfect that the Yankees were in town for this game.  Cal's consecutive streak ended at 2,632 games when he voluntarily sat for a game against the Yankees.  I know that because I'm a Yankees fan and I was watching the game on tv.  It all made sense for the statue to be unveiled 17 years to the day of 2131 and having the Yankees in town was just poetic justice.

Well done Baltimore, well done.

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