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Road Trip to Baltimore

August 1-3, 2003

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

We made the eight hour drive to Baltimore during the day Friday and timed it perfectly so that we could check into our hotel, change into our Red Sox gear, and get to the ballpark just before the gates opened. Gates open two hours before the start of the game, but they don't let people into the seating areas for another half-hour after that. Normally that would annoy me, but it had been raining so the tarp was on the field and there was no batting practice, so I wasn't missing anything. We walked along Eutaw Street, where small markers indicate each spot where a home run has landed on the street. I made sure to find all the Red Sox players, including Mo Vaughn in 1996, Troy O'Leary in 1999, and Carl Everett in 2000. We grabbed dinner while we had the chance. My parents liked the fact that the food court areas inside the warehouse were air-conditioned.

Lyon, Lowe, and Burkett We went and found our seats as soon as we were allowed in. We had decided to sit in different areas for each of the three games. The first night we were in the lower boxes behind first base, but back far enough to be under the overhang and out of the rain. There was no batting practice because of the rain, but several Sox players came out and signed autographs or just sat in the dugout. Everyone else was wearing their batting practice uniforms, but John Burkett, who was pitching that night, was wearing a T-shirt, shorts, his red socks pulled way up to his knees, and flip-flops. He sat for a while in the dugout next to Derek Lowe and Brandon Lyon. I was surprised to see Lyon back so soon, since he had only been officially traded back the day before. (After he had been traded to Pittsburgh for Scott Sauerbeck a couple of weeks earlier, the Pirates thought he had an arm injury and wanted to send him back. He officially became a member of the Red Sox again as part of their subsequent deal for Jeff Suppan.) I knew Suppan wouldn't be there yet, but his spot in the rotation (he'd be taking over for Ramiro Mendoza) wouldn't be up till the following Tuesday back in Fenway. I did wonder if we'd get to see Scott Williamson this weekend. The Red Sox had also just traded for him, but he was given permission to take an extra few days, since his wife had just given birth, and she and the newborn were both ill.

When the game started, Burkett did really well. Actually, ever since the game I had been to in Chicago in June, he had become much more dependable. Tonight, he gave up only one run in the fourth and another in the seventh. What was frustrating was that the Red Sox offense wasn't doing much of anything. Johnny Damon's solo home run in the ninth inning was all they would get. I was really annoyed that Damian Jackson had started at third base instead of Bill Mueller. The Sox were averaging six runs per game, and Mueller was among the league leaders in batting average. Given that just three runs would have done the trick tonight, I didn't think that was too much to ask. We found out after we got back to the hotel that Mueller was out with a wisdom tooth infection and it wasn't just a case of poor managing.

Burkett pitched well for seven innings, and then Scott Williamson came in for the eighth. He was wearing number 36 that night, but he switched to 48 a week or two later. He got two groundouts and a strikeout, allowing only a harmless single along the way. Unfortunately, the Red Sox bats never got going, and they lost, 2-1.

Scott Williamson Camden Yards

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This page and all photos copyright © 2003-2004 by Kristen D. Cornette.