The Scene: Opening Day at Camden Yards

Setting a record Updated 5:18 p.m.: The Orioles set a new Opening Day record for Camden Yards attendance today, bringing in 48,891.

That breaks last year's Opening Day record crowd of 48,607.

They also may have come close to a record for people arriving after the first inning, zeroing in on the mark achieved by the Los Angeles Dodgers fans every game day from April to September.

It didn't look like Camden Yards would be jammed at, say, 2:30 p.m. or even first pitch at 3:07 p.m. But by about the third, the announced sellout looked legit.

-- Dan Connolly

Brian Roberts leaves game with injury Updated 4:04 p.m.: Brian Roberts has left the game with a strained abdominal muscle. He played the first inning but was replaced in the second by Julio Lugo.

He stole second in the first inning, and came up looking uncomfortable. He scored the Orioles' first run but didn't return.

Read more from on the Orioles Insider blog.

People you meet on Opening Day Updated 3:53 p.m.: Among those spotted at Opening Day: My friend and former Sunpapers colleague Jim Henneman.

He has his own Opening Day tradition. He always wears a tuxedo with an orange dress shirt to the ballpark.

Jim is semi-retired now after many years of covering baseball, but he is one of the regular official scorers at Oriole Park.

Read more from Peter Schmuck on The Schmuck Stops Here.

Fan can't resist freebie Updated 2:36 p.m.:Over at Sliders Bar and Grille, freebies were being tossed from a truck into the crowd, and at one point, the souvenir was a tank top advertising a particular brand of malted beverage.

Now, I'm guessing the thrower's intent was for the shirt to land in the clutches of a young lady.

But a gentleman similar in stature to a medium-size tree caught the tank top ... and promptly put it on. The shirt, obviously meant for someone roughly eight inches shorter and 80 pounds lighter, was snug in all the wrong places.

Read more from The Baltimore Sun's Steve Gould on the Orioles Insider blog.

Fans from far away Updated 2:27 p.m.:Strolling down West Camden Street, something unusual caught my eye: a boy wearing a hat emblazoned with the Orioles cartoon bird -- paired with a powder-blue Toronto Blue Jays T-shirt.

Twelve-year-old Ian Ruhala and his grandmother, Anna Grooms, are visiting from Michigan. While their loyalties lie with the Tigers, they couldn't pass up the opportunity to take in Opening Day at Camden Yards.

Ian, who lives in Oxford, Mich., was invited to a youth leadership conference in Washington during his spring break, and his grandmother, who is from Flint, Mich., decided a day at the ballpark would be a nice addition to their trip.

Though Ian said he prefers players from past generations -- his favorite is Rollie Fingers, like Ian, a pitcher -- his favorite Oriole is Brian Roberts. And he's predicting a win for the O's. Why?

"Just the home crowd," he said. "It looks like everyone's here."

Read more from The Baltimore Sun's Steve Gould on the Orioles Insider blog.

Joe Orsulak sighting, sort of Updated 12:32 p.m.: Meandering through the crowd at Pickles Pub, I've obviously seen a lot of Orioles jerseys. A lot of Nick Markakises, Brooks Robinsons and Cal Ripkenses, which is to be expected.

One jersey I did not expect to see: Joe Orsulak. Yet as I made my way through the throngs, I came across a gentleman with the former Orioles outfielder's name and No. 6 proudly displayed on his back.

"The '89 Orioles were my favorite team growing up, and the guy played like his hair was on fire," Matt Kucharski, 29, said of Orsulak.

Home openers are cool Updated 12 p.m.: The temperature is supposed to top out at about 62 degrees -- that's why they call this Charm City, because we care enough to make the visiting team from the great white north feel at home.

And a fun fact: This is only the fourth time in the past 30 years that the Orioles have opened the season in Baltimore after playing the regular season opener on the road.

Read more from Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Schmuck on his blog.

Getting an early start Updated 11:30 a.m.: Despite the fairly early hour at Pickles, a sizable crowd has amassed. There are a few hundred people here already, and they don't seem shy about partaking in their beverage of choice.

According to a completely unscientific survey, Miller Lite seems to be the most popular option.

Read more on The Baltimore Sun's Orioles Insider blog.

Achieving 'perfect ball roll' Updated 10:35 a.m.: After a team of a dozen groundskeepers with blue buckets spent half an hour picking pebbles out of the Oriole Park infield this morning, head groundskeeper Nicole Sherry says she thinks the field has achieved the gold standard for Major League play -- "perfect ball roll."

Five months of winter are not kind to dirt surfaces, even the perpetually groomed and manicured playing field at Camden Yards. But Sherry, in her fourth year caring for the Orioles' home field, says the attention of some extra ground crew in the days leading up to the home opener has brought conditions back up to standards, removing debris that worked itself to the surface.

"The field's great. It's ready to play," she said.

Read more from Baltimore Sun reporter Robert Little on the Orioles Insider blog.

Trembley backs closer Gonzalez Updated 10:15 a.m.: And you thought George Sherrill made things interesting.

Two outings into his Orioles career, closer Michael Gonzalez has retired only four of the 11 hitters he has faced in going 1-for-2 in save opportunities. He escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam last night after blowing a one-run Orioles lead on Opening Day.

During that span, he has allowed four hits and three walks while striking out three.

Read more on The Baltimore Sun's Orioles Insider blog.

Traffic and weather for today's game Updated 10:03 a.m.: The following streets will have parking restrictions due to today's Orioles home opener:

• North side of Pratt Street from Greene to Paca streets;

• South side of Pratt Street from Emory to Paca streets;

• East side of Greene Street from Lombard Street to Washington Boulevard;

• West side of Greene Street from Lombard to Pratt streets;

• North side of Conway Street from Charles to Sharp streets;

• North side of Bayard Street from Warner to Russell streets.

The department also warned drivers to watch for pedestrians before and after the game. The following road closures will be in effect:

• Eutaw Street from Camden to Pratt streets;

• Camden Street from Paca to Howard streets;

• Washington Boulevard from Paca to Greene streets;

• The Hamburg Street bridge from Russell to Leadenhall streets.

Read more on traffic conditions and today's weather forecast from Baltimore Sun reporter Liz F. Kay

Home opener activities schedule Updated 7:25 a.m.: The Orioles open their 19th season at Camden Yards today. Ballpark activities include roving musical groups that will perform on Eutaw Street and the main concourses and pre-game ceremonies to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Orioles' second World Series victory.

For more information on the activities scheduled, go here.

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