Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Going Deep, Times Four

TigerBlog stayed in the Baltimore Hilton this past weekend.

Room 447, to be specific. It was a basic hotel room, with a few minor oddities tossed in.

First, the shower in the room was pretty good, except that when it was turned on, it was immediately scalding. Usually a shower is cold until the hot water kicks in, which takes different amounts of time in different showers. The common denominator is that they all start off cold.

Not the one in Room 447. Nope. This one started out at about a million degrees, even when the shower was turned to cold. Then it cooled off.

There was also the matter of the view.

The shades were closed when TigerBlog entered the room. When he opened them, he saw about the last thing he ever expected to see from a fourth-floor window: a sidewalk that went right up next to it.

It seems like the building next to the hotel has a garden or something on its roof, and this happens to be on the exact same level as the fourth floor of the Hilton. Either that, or it's part of the Hilton.

Anyway, it was a bit freaky for TigerBlog, who wasn't expecting to be able to walk out of his fourth-floor room and be in a courtyard. Of course, his window didn't really open or anything, but it was still an odd view.

Lastly, Room 447 is right next to the elevator, and the fourth floor is the floor that the pool is on. As a result, the hallway between the pool and the elevator featured a constant flow of foot traffic - or wet foot traffic, more accurately.

There was a front door and a side door to the hotel. If you walked out of the side door and made a right turn, you'd be in the alley that goes between the rightfield wall and the famous warehouse at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

TigerBlog didn't need a parking pass for M&T Bank Stadium, which is beyond the baseball stadium, because it was a short walk from the Hilton. He left his car in the hotel lot until Monday's championship game (he's talking men's lacrosse here), when he finally drove over to the M&T.

The Orioles were home Saturday and Sunday afternoon, at the same time as NCAA lacrosse at M&T Bank Stadium. As a result, TigerBlog couldn't walk through the alley on the way to the football stadium, and so he had to walk around the baseball stadium, which made it an eight-minute walk instead of a six-minute one.

TB did walk through the alley Monday morning, since apparently it's left wide open on non-game days. As a result, it made for a pretty good place to go for a walk on a really nice morning in Baltimore.

The entry point to the alley features a small monument park, with big concrete numbers of the retired numbers for the Orioles. TB has always liked the Orioles, because they can be a thorn in the Yankees side, and he was proud of his ability to match the concrete number with the corresponding all-time great for the franchise. The only one he struggled a little bit with was 33, until he realized that it was Eddie Murray obviously.

Somewhere in the middle of his big lacrosse weekend, TigerBlog read a tweet that mentioned that Mike Ford, the 2013 Ivy League Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year in baseball, had hit four home runs in a Minor League game.

And it turned out to be true.

TigerBlog isn't sure how in the case of a player like Ford he decides his future is as a hitter rather than a pitcher or the other way around. He assumes that this comes up a lot, since the best athletes in baseball tend to be great pitchers and hitters.

In Ford's case, the four home run day suggests that he may have made a good decision, so far at least.

Ford left Princeton as an undrafted free agent and signed with the Yankees. He is currently playing for the Charleston RiverDogs, and his four home runs came against the Hickory Crawdads.

Ford is hitting .318 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 44 games this year. His line is .318/.416/.522, which sounds pretty good.

It's probably a long way from that game to playing in places like Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but it's hardly undoable. Chris Young, for instance, began his professional career with the Crawdads.

In other Princeton baseball news, Ben Badua arrived yesterday. And who is Ben Badua? He's the newest addition to the Office of Athletic Communications, and he replaces Diana Chamorro, who left to go home to California.

Ben comes to Princeton from Amherst, where he was the head SID for one of the top athletic programs in Division III. He's a Rutgers grad.

With Princeton he'll be covering baseball, women's basketball, field hockey, sprint football and men's and women's water polo. Yesterday was Day 1 for him, hopefully of a very successful stay here.

So welcome Ben. TB is glad you're here.

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