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Watching the Dodgers on the road in New York & Baltimore

A field report from New York, Baltimore, and Washington D.C.

Max Muncy homers. Oriole Park at Camden Yards. July 18, 2023.
Max Muncy homers. Oriole Park at Camden Yards. July 18, 2023.
Michael Elizondo / True Blue LA

As always, the following article is not a Guide, because I am still sifting through my notes on how one should fully experience Citi Field in Queens, NY, Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD, and Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

Weather follies

Adric at Citi Field. July 16, 2023.
Adric does not mind the weather. Citi Field. July 16, 2023.
Michael Elizondo / True Blue LA

This stretch of games has been on my radar since the schedule dropped in early August last year. If anything I have actually been to all three cities previously. I had not attended games in New York and Washington since 2015 and had not been to Baltimore since 2013.

Personally, one either loves going to New York or not, and I did enjoy my prior time in New York even if I happened to see the Dodgers get shellacked in the Zach Lee game or watch Zack Greinke’s scoreless streak get snapped.

Weather played a factor in these games as per usual. In the three years of travel that I have shared with the site, rain and/or snow has affected all of the following games away from Dodger Stadium:

  • May 3, 2021 (Cubs, postponed until May 4 — the only doubleheader of 2021)
  • June 8 through 10, 2021 (Pirates, all three games started late, June 10 was called in the eighth inning due to the storm)
  • July 5, 2021 (Marlins, game itself was unaffected (dome), but did technically dodge a tropical storm to get to and from the area)
  • April 12, 2022 (Twins, freezing rain, the game started late and delayed in-game)
  • April 13, 2022 (Twins, game played as normal, Kershaw did alright, technically snowed a bit)
  • September 9, 2022 (Padres, rain delay, only three rainouts ever here), and
  • July 15 and 16, 2023 (Mets)
  • July 19 (Orioles, /cough Bull Durham /cough)

Rain affecting the Mets games was not that unexpected as the pain from my arthritis spiked during batting practice on the 15th, causing me to leave BP early to find a place to sit. Then the madness happened in that game.

Afterward, I set my alarm for the following day for the early start only to be mercifully reminded that the game was postponed until later that afternoon. I used that extra time not to explore the neighborhood by Queens, as there really is not any yet, but instead to sleep and conserve my strength. Luckily, I had previously planned my seat accordingly for shade, so I was well covered except for actual rain.

The Bull Durham delay in Baltimore was actually pretty funny. All three games there were incredibly muggy and quite uncomfortable provided that one was moving or actively not drinking a sports drink to replenish lost salts. But much like one forgets to lock the door or one’s computer when leaving work, the grounds crew at Camden forgot to put out the tarp when they left Saturday night.

We all tend to goof up at work, but there is truly nothing funnier than a whiny sportswriter who is delayed from leaving the ballpark.

As if on cue, the rain came Sunday morning, leading to the following scene:

The fans were grumpy. The writers were livid. I was weak from eating something that laid me out the night before (I refuse to blame the pit beef, which was superb and wonderfully horseradish-y). The game ultimately started 90 minutes late and the Dodgers ultimately lost, but I did get to take care of multiple errands before being able to settle in before actual rain came, which did not affect me as I was under total cover for the entirety of the game.


Normally, I write up my experiences in these essays, but the bulk of that information would be best imparted in the upcoming Guide entries for each of these parks. I came to the realization that the Guide’s recommendations have a gap in them, which I will fix going forward. Some have asked why I do not provide an objective measure for each ballpark.

I personally feel that such an exercise is meaningless when trying to provide an evaluation of a subjective experience. You might like things that I do not and vice versa. But I realized that Citi Field and Nationals Park fall into a previously unknown gap of stadiums: they are fine to visit, but you need to be doing something else while you are out there.

Traveling to the East Coast from California is a bit of an ordeal and requires a bit more recovery time than saying spending a few days in Milwaukee or St. Louis would. As such, if you are visiting Citi Field, you would be well-served to stay in Manhattan and do every touristy thing you can think of as well as go to a couple of Dodgers/Mets games. If you are visiting Nationals Park, you would be well-served to stay in D.C. proper and do as much stuff around the Capitol and D.C. as humanly possible, while going to a couple of Dodgers/Nationals games.

I will expand on these thoughts where appropriate at a later date, but it felt important to acknowledge the weather before discussing the dumbest play I have ever seen in person.

“You’re a monster!”

The Dodgers have only won once in four tries in games that I have seen at Citi Field. Truthfully though, that one victory does not entirely make up for the other three defeats but it comes pretty close. On July 15, the Dodgers prevailed, in part, because the Mets' Brett Baty forgot how to field a pop-up.

When I showed this play to my sister, who does not follow baseball apart from my adventures, she asked how does something like this play happen? I told her that question was an excellent one and explained the following diagram, which looks like a roller coaster ride from hell, rather than the trajectory of a batted ball.

We all know that this play happened and that Baty singled in his next at-bat on the following day. Immediately after the game, I had a thought, a particularly evil thought as I was about to leave the stadium:

“Hmm. Do you know what would be cool? I want to own this baseball.”

Much like when I bought that ball that Mike Clevinger used to hit Mookie Betts last year, I made a beeline to the Mets’ Authentics Game Store to try and buy the ball. The immediate response from the cashiers was one of revulsion, confusion, and someone muttering that I was a monster. I simply replied that I was merely ahead of the curve.

Unfortunately, none of the available items from that game included anything from that ninth inning. Much like I could not buy the ball that Kershaw balked with in Tampa and I missed out on Chris Taylor’s grand slam in Baltimore (I was not going to pay $1000 for a ball), getting odd totems from games is a challenge in and of itself.

Whether the ball was sold or destroyed is an open question, but one thing remains: LOLMets is as constant as the Northern Star.

If you walk through the garden

Oriole Park at Camden Yards. July 18, 2023.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards. July 18, 2023.
Michael Elizondo / True Blue LA

My life of adventure began in earnest a decade ago when I obtained tickets to Mr. Obama’s second inaugural. One of the few perks to living in a staunchly conservative Congressional district is that inauguration tickets were super easy to come by.

I had more hair, I was in better shape, and I had no idea what I was doing. To save money, I stayed in Baltimore as I had recently finished The Wire and it was significantly cheaper to travel to than Washington, D.C.

This decision turned out disastrously on a logistical basis.

Imagine if you were trying to do things daily in downtown Los Angeles and you were staying in Anaheim or if you were trying to do things in San Francisco and you were staying in San Jose...and in both instances, you did not have a car.

In hindsight, the error was fairly obvious. At the time, I muddled through via the commuter train, Amtrak, and ultimately crashed with a friend for a bit.

I learned my lesson which I applied on subsequent visits to Washington D.C. in the winter of 2014 and the summer of 2015. But Baltimore proper remained unknown to me until I took the train south on the morning of July 17th.

I stayed at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, which was allegedly haunted. I heard the sounds of a Geiger counter at one point, but honestly, I was not spooked in the least.

I never had the chance to visit Oriole Park at Camden Yards (“Oriole Park”) before. It is not a perfect park by any means, but it is one worthy of your time. The highlight of my three days in Baltimore was the grand slam by Taylor, which earned him the enmity of the town and the Orioles Foundation $1,000 for the grand slam ball.

Chris Taylor’s grand slam. Oriole Park at Camden Yards. July 17, 2023.
Chris Taylor’s grand slam. Oriole Park at Camden Yards. July 17, 2023.
Michael Elizondo / True Blue LA

My old benchmark for a good ballpark

Adric on the Nationals logo. Nationals Park. July 20, 2023.
Adric on the Nationals logo. Nationals Park. July 20, 2023.
Michael Elizondo / True Blue LA

The third ballpark I ever attended was Nationals Park (“Nats Park”) in Washington D.C. With the recent change of job, I knew that my opportunity for visiting this venerable institution would be limited over the next couple of years. I figured if I could take the extended off-day Governor’s Tour, I could gather information for the Guide if any of you wished to visit in early September when the Dodgers finally visit.

The night that the lights went out in Washington D.C. Nationals Park. July 17, 2015.
The night that the lights went out in Washington D.C. Nationals Park. July 17, 2015.
Michael Elizondo / True Blue LA

I had not been to Nats Park since the summer of 2015. I remember all four games I went to, the suspended game that took two days to finish that the Dodgers lost, which was the day that Walker Buehler and Edwin Rios were signed but no Kyle Funkhowser, Kershaw being Kershaw, and Zack Greinke’s dominance on Star Wars day.

The Nationals gave everyone a voucher for an additional game due to the power going out in Game 1. I remember using it on a Nats-Mets game where I fell asleep during a date, which is a sitcom in and of itself.

It broke my heart last year when I was unable to return to this ballpark, which set a lot of benchmarks for how I viewed a proper ballpark experience should go. My views about Nats Park remained the same, whereas my views of Citi Field have improved upon a second visit as I remember being quite annoyed.

The highlight of the tour, a photo gallery which is below, is the fact we were allowed to warm up and throw in the Nationals bullpen. That act was a treat as my best pitch would have worked best on a cricket field, went 85 feet, and bounced up at the knees at the center of the plate.

If it sounds like this trip was nostalgic it truly was, and I am hopeful that you enjoy this missive covering it. Next up in three weeks will be my sojourn to Cleveland and Boston, which I have been looking forward to all year.