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A Memorable Night

WASHINGTON, DC -- And not for the Cubs' listless 6-1 loss to the Orioles, which suffered through two hours and 42 minutes of rain delays and finally ended just after midnight.

I only know this, incidentally, from the box score and recap reports, because we left about halfway through the second delay. But wait, I'm starting at the end of the story.

First, a quick recap on yesterday's sightseeing in DC. We had gone to the Holocaust Museum with 11 am timed tickets, hoping to also get in to see the just opened Anne Frank exhibition. Unfortunately, that also took timed tickets and the earliest they had was 3 pm. So we took those and spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon at the Air & Space Museum, which the kids loved, and then went back for the other exhibitions later.

The Holocaust Museum now has a more kid-oriented display called "Daniel's Story", which is somewhat less intense than the rest of the exhibits, and oriented so that kids can understand without being frightened; and to see also the original pages from Anne Frank's diary, which are on loan from the museum in Amsterdam, is very powerful stuff. There's nothing more you can really say about visiting such a place, except to remember the words, "Never again".

So we went on to Baltimore on the train, through a couple of downpours, though it had mostly stopped by the time we got there. Not listed on the promotional schedule, they handed out very nice decorated baseballs that had "Go Birds" on them, in a display holder. Then the fun started. The ground crew at Camden Yards... well, I have to say they're pretty slow. It had stopped raining by about 6:50, but they waited. And waited. And waited. It reminded me of Aug. 25, 1999, when the Cubs had a two-hour non-rain delay at Wrigley Field, and lost the date anyway. The game didn't start till 7:58, and they managed to play for 43 minutes until it started pouring again.

Well, we figured this would go on for some time, so after about 45 minutes of waiting, we left, but not after having to walk back through the entire concourse to our seats, because Mark remembered (smart kid!) that I had left the promotional baseball sitting there.

Problem is, though we took the train to Baltimore, there is no train back. Instead, they run buses. But -- the buses will not run until after the game ends (though on Wednesday, they did run during the rain delay, probably because there were so many people leaving).

So there were about 12 of us standing around, getting a really bad attitude from the bus drivers, when six of us decided to take matters into our own hands.

The MTA light rail (which runs next to the MARC commuter trains) runs to the Baltimore-Washington Airport till about 11 pm. We decided to get there, and then take a bus to the DC Metro. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the last bus for the Metro had already left. That left one choice -- taxi. As you can imagine, at an airport at 11:30 at night, it's not easy to find a taxi for six to take you about 25-30 miles. However, we squeezed in -- luckily the sixth passenger, Mark, is 7 years old and small -- and of course, ran into a massive traffic jam on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Finally, we arrived safe in DC at about 12:30 am, at which time the bus from the game would have been just pulling away from Camden Yards.

Thanks to Arnie, Joe, Allison and Jamie, my four new DC friends (and Cub fans too!), who helped us get back from the game, entertained Mark, and wouldn't let me pay my share of the cabfare. Hope to see you guys at Wrigley Field someday!

It's off to Toronto in half an hour... where if it rains at game time tonight, I don't care. I'm not a great fan of indoor baseball, but tonight, at least, that dome will be a welcome sight.