In a slightly more rational moment on Friday, I realized that if I was going to drive to Baltimore to go to a ball game, I could also do a few other things in Baltimore. I also checked the weather forecast, which was frightening (scattered strong storms) but I figured that I usualy have good weather karma when it comes to baseball. And, indeed it was so.
The weather driving to Baltimore was scary with very heavy rain along a significant stretch of I-95. It let up when I got onto the Baltimore Beltway, which I took around to Charles Street. That's not actually the most direct way to get to The Book Thing but it has the significant advantage getting me there without getting lost. I dropped off my donation (25 books and several magazines) and managed to keep myself to taking only 4 books. Part of that was because I'd gotten a later start on the day than I'd planned to and I wanted to make sure I had enough time for my other daytime endeavor.
It was pouring again as I drove over to The Walters Art Museum. I'd been meaning to get over to their special exhibit on maps for some time and this was a good opportunity, especially as it is closing next week. The exhibit is definitely worth seeing, with an astonishing array of maps from around the world, including ones made by Leonardo da Vinci, Mercator, Thomas Jefferson, and Ambrose Bierce. I had not actually known that Bierce worked as a cartographer for the Union Army during the Civil War, so I found the comments on that one particularly interesting. The exhibits ranged from carved wooden maps used by Inuit in Greenland to a map of the Arpanet in 1982 to a video showing the progress of the Civil War in 4 minutes. Two other areas in the museum had related exhibits (not requiring the special exhibit fee). One showed images from the Hubble Space Telescope, while the other focused on maps of Baltimore neighborhoods produced by local residents. All in all, it was worth a couple of hours. (By the way, the museum's permanent collection is also well worth a look. But I've been there a couple of times before.)
The weather had improved considerably by the time I left and drove to the Inner Harbor. I parked the car and headed over to Camden Yards. My seat was on the first base line, in the club level (i.e. one tier up from the field). It would have been perfect had there not been a tall person sitting in front of me. Anyway, the game was one of the most exciting ones I've ever been to. The score was up and down, but what really made things explode was Manny Ramirez hitting his 500th home run in the top of the 7th. It's a real accomplishment, as he is only the 24th person in Major League Baseball to reach 500 homers (and only the third to do so wearing a Red Sox uniform, the other two being Jimmy Foxx and Ted Williams). Everyone was on their feet, shouting and clapping for ages, through the rest of the top of the inning and all of the 7th inning stretch. The Orioles never play "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" but, even if they had, it would have been drowned out by the screaming. They did play a bit of "Sweet Caroline" and flashed "a special treat for our Red Sox fans" on the jumbotron, but cut it off and displayed a big "NOT."
And, oh, yes, the Sox did win (6-3).
The drive back wasn't too terrible. It was, as usual, slow getting over to I-95, but there were no issues once I was on the highway. Just before getting on the highway, I passed Old Otterbein Methodist Church, where the message board read, "G-d bless the O's and maybe even the Sox, but not the Yanks. Lord, forgive us our thoughts." That's paraphrased as I didn't have a camera with me, I can't write while driving, and my memory is imperfect, but I can't be off by more than a few words. It was an appropriate sentiment to end an excellent evening.