If you’ve known or followed me for more than two weeks, you know that I am likely the biggest Orioles fan that is a Shohei Ohtani fan. I also will argue that Mike Trout is one of the greatest of all time. With those two things in mind, I’ve had the Angels series circled on my calendar since the day the schedule was announced.
I spent more time at Camden Yards last week than I did at home. I took days off from work for this. It might as well have been a holiday. Needless to say, the excitement only grew tenfold when I found out the first matchup was Shohei vs. Grayson.
Monday night was by far the most anticipated. Not only was it the marquee pitching matchup of the series, but I had my grandma with me. She doesn’t get to see the Orioles live outside of spring training action, so this was a special one long before the first pitch was thrown.
As soon as we got to The Yard, I headed for the bullpen. Knowing I could get a close view of Shohei and Grayson’s bullpen sessions was not something I was going to miss. By nothing short of a miracle, I got a front row spot, directly over the pitcher’s mound of the visiting team bullpen. Shohei Ohtani was going to be throwing five feet from me.
As Shohei and Grayson came out to start warming up in center field, the crowd filled in around and behind me. Apparently, I was not alone in wanting to see this upon close. As they both made their way up the ramp to the bullpen, the number grew even further.
I won’t spend the rest of the article on this, but to see greatness that close, and I’m talking close enough to see the numbers on the radar Ippei, Shohei’s interpreter, holds and the images captured on the bullpen iPad, is something special. But it was time for a game.
We all know the results by now, but I will say this; seeing the crowd understand that Shohei makes history every time he steps on the field and jokingly boo when he didn’t take it a step further, was giving everyone a window into the world I live in almost nightly. Going seven innings on the mound and being a double shy of a cycle at the plate, including the furthest home run I’ve ever seen in person, is something I’ll never forget.
Tuesday was another special day, as my friend Peter and I got to catch Angels’ batting practice from the field. If you saw the photo the Orioles posted of Adley, Grayson and Gunnar with the Ravens, I was right there. I also got to have a conversation with Orioles legend, Brett Phillips, who is as nice as everyone says.
A moment that will be etched in my brain forever was watching Mike Trout take batting practice 20 feet away. If you ever get the chance to see this in person, it is truly a masterclass of not only hitting a baseball, but you will see how easy the game looks for him. I’m not saying it is, but it sure does look like it.
The other two games had their special moments, each of their own. An electric bullpen shut down on Wednesday. A down to the wire game on Thursday that included the 25th time in history Trout and Ohtani have homered in the same game. There was not a moment of action I did not enjoy.
Even though the Orioles split the four-game series, this was a turning point for me. Up until now, I had not been to as many games as I usually go, so I could finally see with my own eyes and feel with my own emotions that until the game is actually over, the 2023 Orioles are not out of it. The O’s had to face an Angels team with two of the greatest of all time, and they were the better team, split aside.
Another major anchor for the fun these four days brought was you. I am pretty hard to miss. With that, I’m glad people are coming up to me and saying hi at games.
I’m not famous, and I don’t bite. We all love Orioles baseball, so if you ever see me or are near section 22, say hello. For those of you who did, it was great to meet you and talk O’s baseball with you, even if it was for a minute.
As those four days went as quickly as they came, I got to wrap it up with a nice metaphorical bow. After Thursday’s afternoon game, I hung around for a while and caught the team head to the buses. They were heading to Canada and made this their hockey themed trip. It was fun to see who was rocking what NHL team and to see some of the guys stop and sign for the kids up on the fence.
For four days in May, I got to live out everything and everyone I love about baseball. I will always be able to tell people I watched Shohei Ohtani pitch and that I saw Mike Trout hit multiple home runs. I will also be able to tell them that these likely Hall of Famers were outmatched by the 2023 Orioles.
As we move on and into this weekend, I hope you have some excitement about City Connect. Whether you love or don’t love the jersey, uniform or concept, it will be pretty cool to see the O’s jog out onto the field in something we’ve never seen before. More on that next week.
What was your favorite moment of the O’s and Angels series? What’s been your favorite series thus far? Let us know in the comments below! Make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
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