This year our trip is to see the Nats v. Mets at Nationals Park and Orioles v. Red Sox at Camden Yards.

A couple of years ago I don't think I would have been too excited to see the Orioles or Nationals but if they are as good as last year, this should be a good trip. I have already been to Camden Yards and got to see Eddie Murray hit his 501st home run. I can't wait to get back and show my kids - I absolutely loved the ballpark experience there.  I think the boys will love the Babe Ruth birthplace museum, too.

Nationals Park will be new for me so I am jacked to add a new park to the list this year. With Washington and Baltimore being so close, it will be nice to have such a short drive and will give us more time in Washington to see the sights.

Of course, although we made plans with our congressman's office starting in February to secure a spot on a White House tour, we were later informed that all tours were cancelled due to the Sequestration budget cuts.  Boo.

We are also planning a separate trip to Indianapolis in June to see the Durham Bulls take on the Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field.  We were in Indy in January for a swim meet and took a walk around the park – it looks like a nice place to see a game with the Indy skyline in the background.

And as I write this, the Cubs are in first place.  I don’t image that I will be able to say that much longer as this looks like it will be a long year for Northside baseball fans.

Cheers!

 

 

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Comment by John (20 current MLB/11 old MLB) on September 18, 2013 at 7:13am

Our 2013 baseball trip took us to Washington to see the Nationals and Baltimore to see the Orioles.

We enjoyed a couple of beautiful days in Washington and on our first morning did a walking tour to see the White House, National Mall and to visit the Air and Space Museum on the Smithsonian campus. Unfortunately, some idiots had thrown paint all over the Lincoln Memorial and it was closed for cleaning the morning we visited so we were not able to get very close to Lincoln’s statue. We then walked past the Washington Monument, which is being repaired following damage it sustained in the August, 2011 earthquake. The custom scaffolding was mighty impressive. We walked to the Air and Space Museum, saw the airplanes, rockets and all the other items on display there and headed back to the hotel. We figured that our walking tour was nearly 8 miles and we were stoked to find a Potbelly around the corner from our hotel so we could sit and enjoy lunch.

We stayed at the Embassy Suites Convention Center on 10th Street. The room was nice but it took several calls to get the air conditioning to work correctly. The room was very stuffy on our first night but the manager comped our parking so that made up for the hassles.

We took the Metro to the game from the Chinatown station and got off at the Navy Yard stop, just blocks from Nationals Park. As you walk towards the park from the train station, you’ll find the Half Street Fairgrounds. This is an open-air beer garden complete with multiple food booths and a stage for live music. Admission is free and the Fairgrounds are open for 2 hours before and after the Nationals games. It looked like a cool place to hang out but the old man in the group really wanted the giveaway t-shirt, so we did not spend much time there.

As you enter the park from centerfield, you’ll find a large plaza with a team store to your right and a number of statutes.

Here is Josh Gibson.

I thought Nationals Park was beautiful and a great place to see a game. We witnessed a low scoring affair but were treated to a walk-off home run by Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the ninth that sent the crowd home happy. When you go, you have to try the Half Smoke All the Way. It was the best thing I have ever eaten at a ballgame.

We toured the National History Museum the next morning and were off to Baltimore, less than an hour’s drive.

We stopped for lunch at Frank’s Diner in Jessup, Maryland. It had a great old school feel and even jukeboxes at every booth but we were all very disappointed with the food. I would avoid this place.

For our visit to Baltimore, we arrived at the Holiday Inn Express on Gay Street and checked in just before a massive thunderstorm rolled through. This hotel was in a rundown part of the city and had a criminally tiny parking lot. It was close to the ballpark but I would not recommend walking through that part of town at night.

The rain let up and we made our way to Camden Yards. The game started a little late but we were able to explore Eutaw Street before sitting down for first pitch.

This game featured a match up between two former Cubs starters, Ryan Dempster and Scott Feldman. We got to see Big Papi ejected for arguing balls and strikes and a home run granted on a video replay. The Orioles lost but it what an awesome ballpark and experience.



Comment by John (20 current MLB/11 old MLB) on June 17, 2013 at 2:52pm

Here are some photos from our mini-trip to Indianapolis.

Victory Field was a beautiful park with a great view of the city skyline beyond the outfield. Our ticket agent for the day of game sales set us up with some seats in the shade on the third base side of home plate.



Former Cubs can't miss prospect Felix Pie, now playing in the Pirates system:

The game we saw was a pitcher's duel with the home Indians winning 1-0. Too bad we missed the only run being scored as we walked around the park.

One interesting feature was a small section down the first base line with red seats that was sponsored by the Indiana Lottery. There was a small target (maybe a foot in diameter) on the right field foul pole. If an Indians player hit that target on a homerun, everyone in the special section would win a million dollars. I can't imagine it has ever happened but even though the park was less than half full at the game - there was a surprisingly large crowd in those seats.

A cool tradition they have is that a lucky fan gets to ring the giagantic "Victory Bell" after a win.

We had a beautiful day for a game and Victory Field did not disappoint. This is two AAA parks down for me with many, many more to go.

Comment by John (20 current MLB/11 old MLB) on June 17, 2013 at 1:37pm

Tim-

We will have all day Friday before the night game and most of the morning on Saturday before we have to head to Baltimore to check in to our hotel.

I think our hotel in DC is walking distance from the White House, National Mall, Capital Hill, etc. so we were certainly going to walk around and see the sights and spend some time at the various Smithsonian buildings.

Any suggestions you might have for off the beaten path stuff in DC would be appreciated as I feel like we will be looking for one last thing to do on Saturday morning before shoving off to Baltimore.

Comment by Tim Choiniere on April 17, 2013 at 7:28am

How much time are you going to spend in DC? You really are not missing that much with WH Tours being cancelled. Lots of other sites to see in DC. Let me know if you need any suggestions. I really like Nationals Park and will be going again this year.

Make sure to buy tickets ahead of time for the Orioles game - tend to sell out quicker since its the Red Sox.

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