Tuesday, September 27, 2011

O's go down, but not without a fight

The O's end up in the Loss column tonight, but can you real consider what the Red Sox did, winning? Sure at the end of the game they had 1 more run than the Orioles, but they nearly squandered a 4-run lead, were kept ahead solely on the long ball by 3 players, and they showed just how tired their pitching staff is. The Red Sox bullpen gave up four late game run, and did not put the Orioles away easily.  

Unfortunately for the Orioles, Zack Britton in September is not the same as in April. Only going 4.1 innings he gave up almost all the runs the Red Sox needed to win. Jason Berken, another disappointment this season gave up 2 runs off 2 hits and he was done. The Sox capitalized much on the weakness of the early Orioles pitching, but after the 6th inning were only able to add two more hits in the game. Four of the runs came off of third string catcher Ryan Lavarnway. Not to say that hitting your first two home runs isn't huge after being called up in September, but the only reason he was playing tonight was because Saltalamaccia physically couldn't be behind the plate after getting a foul ball off the collarbone on Monday. And let's be serious for a minute, rookie pitcher vs. rookie hitter, any veteran pitcher would have sent Lavarnway straight back to the bench the way he hacked at the ball (he flew out twice tonight).

The good news is the Tampa Bay Rays won. The Rays have everything to win and nothing to lose, after going on a tear in September they remain tied with the Red Sox. On the other hand the Red Sox are in the midst of an epic fall. The Rays have beat the best team in the AL East twice this week while the Red Sox got embarrassed last night and barely won tonight against the worst team in the AL East. The Rays have been playing their hearts out while the Sox have been rearranging deck chairs on the sinking Titanic.

And so, it brings us to tomorrow's game. The Orioles have one last chance to end the season on a high note. As fans, we would love nothing more than to see the O's ruin the Red Sox season. It's not that we have this massive rivalry, we just like to see them lose. It's hard to be a fan when the Sox come into town like the Massachusetts Militia rallying to Concord. We can't even give our home team an advantage in our own ballpark, so sure we love it when you come down and we send you shipping back to Boston.

The Sox played with their backs against the wall the entire game, and will be playing the same way  tomorrow. But they look exhausted after a 3:37 hour slugfest, and have to go back for one more game. The Orioles are looking forward to finishing game 162 and calling it a season, the Red Sox have at least one more game to fight it out, but if you ask me I'd say they look like Custer and the 7th Cavalry on Last Stand Hill.

Pack The Yard!

The Orioles rallied to beat the Red Sox last night 6-3 after a spectacular inside-the-park homerun by Robert Andino, who is by far the most improved Oriole this season. The win drops the Red Sox to a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League Wild Card with two left to play. The announced crowd last night was 21,786, but from watching on tv and listening on the radio it sounded like there were WAY too many Red Sox fans in our Camden Yards.

Sure the Orioles have been eliminated from the postseason, and our record is less than stellar (68-90), but they've won 6 out of the last 9 games, and finish up the season at home against the Sox.

So start spreading the word in the Baltimore blosphere, go down to Camden Yards and get tickets for tonight and/or tomorrow. Let's pack Camden Yards with as much orange and black, so we can give our O's a real home field advantage these last two games. We can still remind the Red Sox that we're still a dangerous team, because right now their postseason fate is in the Orioles hands! This is Birdland, let's fill it. You know I'll be there!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday Baltimore Pennsylvania Station

Baltimore Penn Station in 1926, from Maryland Historical Society
On September 14, 1911, the first visitors were allowed into the brand new Baltimore Pennsylvania Station after a year-and-a-half long construction period. At 1:35am on September 15th the first trained pulled into the station.

The current Pennsylvania Station is actually the third to sit on the sight. The first, wooden structure, having served Baltimore between 1873 and 1886 and the second until 1910. The third station had many improvements over the previous two. The new station had an elevated concourse above the train tracks with stairways that went down to the platforms between the tracks. Previously, passengers had to cross the tracks at ground level, which could be dangerous. There were waiting rooms, lounges, baggage checking areas, a lunch counter, plus offices for the Pennsylvania Railroad on the upper floors.

At one point trains stopped at Penn Station that were travelling along the Pennsy's main line between Boston and Washington, D.C. as well as those that ran along the Northern Central Railway to Harrisburg. The Western Maryland Railway also served Penn Station until the late 1950s.

Today, Baltimore is still a busy passenger station for both Amtrak and MARC. Over 925,000 passengers went through Baltimore on Amtrak in 2010, making it the 8th busiest train station in the US. Roughly 2,600 MARC passengers board at Penn Station every weekday. Together about 150 trains pass through Penn Station every day in both directions.

Penn Station also serves as a major hub with the Midtown-Belvedere neighborhood to the south and Station North to its north. With MICA and the University of Baltimore adjacent to the west and south, there is a lot of activity during here. BoltBus makes its runs to and from New York and Newark, NJ at a stop on St. Paul Street while the Purple Route of the Charm City Circulator makes its northern loop around the station picking up visitors and residents on its way back downtown and into Federal Hill. The MTA runs its Penn-Camden shuttle from Penn Station as well, although this is an underutilized service with 30-minute headways, and could be drastically improved if light rail trains could service directly BWI (or made to serve the northern end of the line).

Although not as large, or famous as some of the other landmarks of the old Pennsylvania Railroad, our Penn Station still makes a large mark on Baltimore and is daily utilized by thousands of riders. There will be an exhibition of the station history through the next couple of weeks.

Baltimore Sun article

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Primary Election Day

Today is the Primary Election for the Mayoral and City Council races across the city of Baltimore. Since Democrats hold a nearly 9-to-1 advantage over Republicans in the city, the primary effectively is the general election.

Campaign fliers, posters, and TV ads have been out in force for the five Democratic candidates for Mayor. By far Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has shelled out the most for her campaign and is the perceived front-runner, but who knows.

Make sure you take the time today to go out and vote because who ever wins today will help to shape the future of Baltimore.