By Joe Christensen
My flight to Baltimore leaves shortly, and I’m looking forward to catching up with old friends while covering this weekend’s series.
When I worked at the Baltimore Sun, I lived near Johns Hopkins University, not far from old Memorial Stadium. It’s different going back for work, staying on the Inner Harbor, with all the modern shops and restaurants and tourists.
Camden Yards is magnificent, of course. Lots of the new parks have impressive bells and whistles, but Baltimore pioneered the modern-retro baseball concept and got it right, building a ballpark that feels like it’s been there as long as the adjacent B & O Warehouse, which was built in 1899.
My years covering the Orioles, 2002-2004, were the beginning of the Post-Ripken era, and attendance kept dropping. That was depressing because there are great baseball fans in Baltimore, and it had only been a couple years since the O’s sold out every game.
Anyway, lots of memories stirring as I head back there. I covered a lot of meaningless September games for The Sun. (In ’02, the O’s finished on a 4-32 free fall.) After times like that, it’s easy to enjoy every minute while covering a pennant race.
I’ll have the lineups for you this afternoon. The Twins will face Daniel Cabrera, who continues to struggle with his control and has showed diminished velocity in recent starts.
Consider this: Cabrera has issued 85 walks this season. You can combine three Twins starters — Kevin Slowey (19), Nick Blackburn (31) and either Scott Baker (36) or Glen Perkins (36) — and only get 86.