NEW IS OLD AGAIN
Sorry, Baltimore, we got Tex & we ain't givin' him back. Even if he got jussssst a little bit spooked by the "welcome" booooos he got on opening day at Camden.
Now usually when the Yanks meet up with the O's in Maryland, there's about 65% Yankee fans in the stands
(I suspect most from New Jersey because it's so easy to get to from the Garden State, and Camden is so economical and family friendly.)
But not on Opening Day. It was more like 10%. To be honest, it's the first time I've felt juuuuussst a little intimidated in the friendly confines of Camden. The hostility to our newbie Tex rivaled that of the pissed off Yankee fans chanting "Who's Your Daddy" to Pedro Martinez in 2004 postgames, the noise level so intense that the Stadium literally shook.
But anyway..... it was big fun, even tho we got clobbered. My colleague Jai Wallace and I are sending huge thanks to our guests, the delightful Mary Ellen Belusci, Yankees fan Joe Zanta, and Scott Bogash of Needles; and Yvonne Dornic of eSentio Technologies and her finace Jim Rhodes, and Red Sox fan David Horrigan of Covington & Burling. Yvonne and Jim helped me recover from the trauma with a nightcap at their amazing restaurant, Ze Mean Bean in Fells Point.
I'm hoping tonight's game has a much happier ending for the New Yorkers. Should be interesting, as my O's rep Matt Dougherty notes: It's the Far East match-up, with Taiwan's Chien Ming Wang facing the O's new addition, Koji Uehara -- former ace of the Yomiuri Giants-- in his major league debut. And Thursday I get the pleasure of spending time with Cataphora's fascinating Susannah Smith, and Kelly Klyn, litigation technology specialist for Goodwin Procter. Can't wait!
I'm also LOVING the brand new Baltimore Hilton -- Check out the view from my room! It is literally yards from Camden, and gorgeous. But I must admit has a kinda odd color palette -- but it works: tangerine, gold, cobalt blue and lime green. So much better than 2008's obsession with chocolate and aqua (Yes, yes, yes, I watch way too much HGTV.)
Tuesday was an off day so we headed down to DC to visit with Robert Erich Jr. of Select Associates. We had a terrific conversation about how the economy is affecting the time/billing/acctg vendors -- Erich noted that his company's star* collect product has seen quite a spike in sales in recent months. Select Associates, says Erich, specializes in a variety of add-on software that integrates with Elite, Aderant, and other T&B/A software that targets the top AmLaw firms, he explained, including data warehousing and business intelligence tools. One of the newest offerings star* targetCash which helps firms project cash flow.
I suspect that interest in these types of products will most definitely continue to jump as purse strings tighten throughout the legal industry.
Tuesday night, we had the pleasure of joining Sally Gonzalez (Baker Robbins & Co.) and Stan Wasylyk (Michael Farrell Group) for a boisterous dinner at the Hard Times Cafe in Alexandria. Years and years ago, when I was vice-chair of the ABA's Law Student Division, we had a ton of meetings in D.C. and made regular pilgrimages to the HTC. It's a lot of fun, and it was great to return, although I probably ate more carbs in one sitting than I normally eat in a month.
Sally and I can bore anyone to death when you get us talking about our adventures on United Airlines. Sally's in the coveted rareified air of Global Services -- so elite that they don't even publicize it or tell you what the membership requirements are -- but it pretty much boils down to flying overseas a lot. Sally was based in London for a long stint, and also frequently visits clients in Switzerland, so she has that elusive BLACK Mileage Plus card that the rest of us mere mortals drool over. I hope we didn't drive our companions toooo nuts but we sure had a good time comparing road warrior stories.
(Btw: this could be a very interesting year for road warriors because so many of us will probably drop at last one level in the elite tiers because so many firms/companies are reducing travel.)
So... two more days in the wonderful Inner Harbor before I head back to NYC. Of course I save the best for last.... thanks to a dear friend who is a Cubs season ticket holder I actually got tix for last Saturday's Cubs/Yanks Exhibition game at the New Stadium.
OMG, it totally takes your breath away. It's just magnificent. But the strangest thing about it is that once you are inside, in your seats, it's almost Twilight Zone Deja Vu -- because it FEELS like the old Stadium. Even the FTI ad is in its proper place. The new video screen is awesome, and the Batter's Eye is now a restaurant, but the subway still screams right by the Short Porch, the Bleacher Creatures still do roll call, and it just feels great. Only the courthouse is missing from the tableau, because of the slight change in real estate.
And making the day even more touching: the first pitch was thrown out by Captain Sully, and the USAir 1549 skyboat crew! (He was joined by the first officer Jeff Skiles and chief flight attendant Doreen Welsh.)
Saturday, Cano christened the Stadium with its first home run, and Tex got back-to-back homers! (Jeter got the Stadium's first hit Friday night.) Joining me at the day game was the fabulous consultant Brad Blickstein, of Chicago's The Blickstein Group (above left), who took most of the photos on this page, and two terrific marketing dudes from Deloitte: Alan Numsuwan and Michael Rachlin. (We had a great conversation about off-shoring e-discovery and the impact of the economy on outsourcing.)
Two things da Yankees gotta do: 1) Get Sweet Lou (who got a standing ovation from the crowd during the Saturday game) to give us another one of his bats to sit on top of the center field flag pole, so we can see the wind direction (Mattingly took the original from the old stadium) and 2) they HAVE to install those nylon rope bank-line things to control the concessions line from blocking traffic all the way across the huge broad concourse.
But no complaints. It's wonderful. It's awesome. Even the birds are already finding their niches. And yes, no question about it, Aura & Mystique and the other ghosts have cheerfully crossed the street. Welcome home.
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