BDBL Weekend IV:
BALTIMORE, MD - The fourth annual BDBL Weekend took place
in Baltimore, Maryland on the 16th of August. A record turnout of eight BDBL owners
participated in this year's event: myself, Jeff Paulson, John Bochicchio, Mike Stein, Phil
Geisel, Tom DiStefano, Tony Chamra and Paul Marazita.
The adventure began on August 14th when Paulson's trip to
the East Coast was delayed for four hours due to a major blackout that affected several
major cities including Detroit (which just so happened to be the location of his
connecting flight.) Originally due to arrive in New Hampshire at 7:00pm, he didn't
arrive until around 11:00.
After a few hours of rest, it was back on the road, where
Paulson and Glander ran into several major traffic jams for no apparent reason, all the
way through to Geisel's apartment in Greenwich, Connecticut. What should have been a
three hour trip turned into a four hour trek instead. It would be a major recurring
theme throughout the weekend.
Another recurring theme would be Glander's Cowtippers
losing BDBL games throughout the weekend. That trend began when Geisel and Glander
squeezed in a two game series. Salem lost the first game of the series to the only
worthwhile player on the Litchfield Lightning roster, Bartolo Colon. It then took an
excruciating eleven innings for the 'Tippers to eke out a Game Two victory and avoid a
The stress of that series was merely compounded, however,
when it took three hours to get to Marazita's home in Basking Ridge, New Jersey - a trip
that was supposed to take half as long. Once again, the journey was met with nothing
but break lights the entire way.
After a pleasant dinner, Glander, Geisel, Paulson,
Marazita and Geisel's friend, Mike Roberts, returned to Marazita's house, where Glander
was then swept in two games by the Zoots. Throughout the series, Glander correctly
predicted several implausible events. With the bases loaded and no outs in the very
first inning of the first game, with his #4 and #5 hitters due to bat, Glander predicted
his team would not score a run. A strikeout and a double play later, Glander's
prediction proved eerily prescient.
Just after that series ended, Glander finally had an
opportunity to see his young phenom Rich Harden pitch for the first time all season.
In five Major League starts (none of which were televised on the East Coast),
Harden was phenomenal, posting a 1.69 ERA. But before the game began, Kreskin
Glander predicted Harden would get rocked, giving up no less than five earned runs.
In four innings that night, Harden allowed six earned runs on eight hits, including
his first two home runs surrendered all season.
If only Glander had predicted fair weather for the rest
of the weekend, the trip down to Baltimore the next morning might not have been so brutal.
Instead of leaving at 8:00am that morning as planned, the rental van could not be
picked up until 9:30. By the time Geisel and Marazita returned with the van, it was
close to 10:30. To top it off, the "BDBL Party Van" was neither a van nor
Nevertheless, after Bochicchio met up with the gang at
Marazita's, they finally hit the road at around 10:30. About two hours later, the
gang arrived at Emperor DiStefano's (a trip that should have taken an hour) in Allentown,
New Jersey. The journey from there to Baltimore then consisted of nothing but
torrential rain and brake lights. Instead of arriving at 2:30 as planned, the gang
didn't arrive at the hotel until 3:30. There, the eight owners were united for the
first time in the hotel lobby.
Finally, after countless delays and endless traffic, the
gang arrived at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Mercifully, the Baseball Gods felt so
sorry for the weary travelers, they opened up a gap in the dark clouds that ended almost
exactly as soon as the game did.
The BDBL Weekend IV crew:
Top row (l-r): Stein, Geisel
Middle row (l-r): Glander, Marazita, Bocchichio, DiStefano
Bottom row (l-r): Chamra, Paulson
Camden Yards is an absolutely stunning
ballpark in terms of beauty, architecture and comfort. The first stop, of course,
was Boog's barbeque pit, where everyone chowed down on an $8 barbeque sandwich while
swigging beer from local brewers. Luckily, a couple of empty tables were discovered
in the Bambino's Bar. There, the eight owners relaxed, unwound and talked some
baseball (mostly of the BDBL variety.)
Their seats were directly behind home plate in
the upper deck, in the very last row of the ballpark, giving them a breathtaking view of
the entire field. Soon enough, it became clear that Glander, Geisel and Bocchichio
weren't the only Yankee fans in attendance. Of the 49,000 fans in attendance that
night, there must have been at least 25,000 Yankee fans. Given the Yankees' record
in Camden Yards, it has become a home away from home for the Yanks in more ways than one.
Though the game featured a dull pitching match-up of
Sterling Hitchcock against Pat Hentgen, it was a very exciting contest, filled with the
type of drama and quirkiness one normally only finds in a Diamond Mind game.
Baltimore broke a 1-1 tie in the third on a solo homer by #9 hitter Jose Morban (a
.167 hitter coming into the game.) Brooke Fordyce then connected for only his 5th
homer of the year in the fourth to give the O's a 3-1 lead.
The next inning, the Yankees' #9 hitter, John Flaherty
(who came into the game with just two homers on the season and just 10 in the last three
years) cut Baltimore's lead to one run with a solo homer to lead off the inning.
Then, with the Yankees still trailing by a run in the seventh, Flaherty connected
for the second time, to tie the score at three apiece.
In the eighth, Hideki Matsui singled home Jason Giambi
with two outs (making Bochicchio very happy in the pants.) After Baltimore failed to
score in the bottom of the inning, and Mariano Rivera jogged through the gates to start
the ninth, the game seemed to be all but done. Instead, Luis Matos homered to lead
off the inning, forcing extra innings.
After a scoreless tenth, the Yankees put runners on
second and third with one out in the eleventh, but failed to score when pinch hitter Jorge
Posada whiffed against Hector Carrasco, and Alfonso Soriano grounded out to end the
The last play of the game.
(Click the picture to see the video.)
In the bottom of the inning, Baltimore mounted a threat
of their own, putting a runner at third with two outs. Jay Gibbons then lofted a
ball into the gap in right-center, where Cowtipper David Dellucci made a spectacular
diving catch to rob Gibbons of the game-winning hit.
In the 12th inning, Nick Johnson led off with a walk,
then was picked off of first (a true Diamond Mind play if there ever was one.) With
two outs, Jason Giambi then strode to the plate and whacked a Carrasco fastball over the
fence in right for the go-ahead run. Once again, the game would have seemed to be a
lock for the Yankees, and once again, the win proved to be a bit elusive.
After Jeff Nelson recorded two quick outs to start the
12th, Jack Cust pinch hit and drew a walk. Larry Bigbie then stepped to the plate
and whacked a looping fly ball to the gap in right. Baltimore's third base coach
frantically waved Cust around, but changed his mind mid-stream. Cust responded by
flopping onto his backside, about halfway between third and home. The cutoff man on
the play, Alfonso Soriano, then tried to pick off Cust at third, but his feet also went
out from under him, causing his throw to skip in the dirt. Luckily, Aaron Boone made
a nice pick-up and got Cust into a rundown between third and home. Unfortunately,
both Nelson and Johnson forgot to cover home plate, and Boone found himself running Cust
back to an empty home plate. With the tying run of the game on the line, Cust
stumbled toward home and eventually fell just a few feet away from the bag, where he was
tagged out for the final out of the game.
One highlight during the
game included an appearance by legendary Yankee fan "Freddy Sez."
Unfortunately, Freddy wasn't as appreciated by the group of Orioles fans in front
of us, but Bochicchio gave his best effort to smooth it over (as you can see from the
picture.) Another highlight was Glander paying off his many debts of dogs and beers
to Paulson and Stein.
By the time the game ended, it was around midnight.
The gang then headed to the Inner Harbor for a little post-game celebration, where
it was soon discovered that Baltimore shuts down much, much earlier than any other city
north of the Mason-Dixon line. "Last call" at the ESPN Sportszone bar was
12:30, and the only other bar the group checked out was on the verge of closing as well
(though they were still demanding a $5.00 cover charge.)
With rain pelting down upon them, the group called it an
early night. The next morning, it was time to begin the long road trip ahead (but
only after Marazita was good and ready to do so.) While most of the group were
relaxing at home with their families, Glander was still on the road throughout that
afternoon and evening. He finally arrived home at 11:00, determined that next year,
he will be flying to wherever BDBL Weekend is held.
Links to past BDBL Weekends:
2000: Yankee Stadium