Day 5 -- Tuesday, May 5

Miserable weather today and the timing couldn't have been much worse. I'm going to try, during this lengthy excursion, to take in a game at many major league ballparks and today was to be a double-header: Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers coming in to take on the Orioles in their new stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, at 12:15, then back up I-95 to see the Phillies against the Dodgers in a 7:35 start. It was chilly and damp at game time in Baltimore and, by the end of the second inning, it had begun to rain steadily. I wasn't prepared, having brought neither rainwear nor an umbrella, and it didn't take long before I was well nigh soaked. There was an exhibit at the Walters Gallery that I had just about given up on seeing, but it suddenly began to sound like a pretty good alternative to soggy baseball, so off I went. It was the Pfeil Collection (I didn't really catch who the Pfeils were exactly, some rich art lovers, I think) featuring 80 or so works of American Impressionists, including John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt and Hassam Childe. I was really glad I went; there were some beautiful pieces in the exhibit. The three or four innings I spent at Oriole Park were well spent, too; it's a great looking ballpark, with the feeling of intimacy you find in old parks but the conveniences of a new one. I'm sure it will serve the Orioles well for many years to come.

Now, it was time to bid adieu to Baltimore and retrace my steps back to Philadelphia. On the way out of town, I stopped by Bengies Drive-in (featuring The Largest Screen in Maryland ). The man who runs it, D. Edward Vogel, is a drive-in buff himself and is in it for love and money. They were not yet on a seven-nights-a-week schedule while I was in town ; they were open only Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so I didn't get to see a show there. I did get a tour of the facilities, though; it's a great place. If I make it to southeastern PA again in late August, as I hope to, I may have to run down here to catch a movie before I head for home. Besides, D. graciously presented me with a couple of free passes to Bengies; it'd be a shame to let them go to waste.

I rolled into Philadelphia just a few minutes before game time but I had to stop by the hostel first to stash my valuables, as I didn't want to leave them in the car while I was at the game. So, it was the third inning before I arrived at my seat. I didn't mind, though. I just want to check out the atmosphere at the different stadiums (stadii?). On this trip, the game's not the thing; it's just being out at the ballpark. Veterans Stadium is not a bad place, either. It's a different kind of park, with a sort of all-purpose feel to it but not a bad place for all that. But it was a cold night in Philly, really nippy, and the chill began to set in deeply after a couple of innings. After vacillating between Baltimore and Philadelphia the last couple of days, I'm ready to head south tomorrow evening and seek the warmth of the sun.

Continue on the American Odyssey.
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