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Camden Yards makes an appearance in the new season of “House of Cards”

Feb 24, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

House of Cards Reuters Reuters

While catching up on the second season of Netflix original series “House of Cards” this past weekend, I saw a brief scene that takes place at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. I’m not giving away any major plot points for those who haven’t seen it, but Kevin Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood, is on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before a game against the Red Sox. Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun has a good rundown today on how the scene came together:

“For us it seemed like an exciting opportunity to showcase a show that is set in Washington and filmed in Baltimore and wants to utilize Camden Yards for an appearance by a politician, or at least a fictitious politician,” Orioles vice president of communications and marketing Greg Bader said. “We thought it was a really fun opportunity for us to showcase the ballpark.”

But before the scene could be shot, it had to be approved by the Orioles, the stadium authority and Major League Baseball. There were several site meetings and scout shoots into July involving individuals from the show’s production staff and club personnel from ballpark operations and public relations.

Some of the footage is B-roll of pregame scenes from other games, but the actual scene with Spacey was filmed last July 29 during an off-day for the Orioles. After the team reached out to the players to see if any of them were willing to participate, both Jim Johnson (now with the Athletics) and Nate McLouth (now with the Nationals) volunteered.

Spacey threw out the first pitch before an actual game at Camden Yards last July 14 and it was apparently pretty impressive. As I mentioned on Twitter over the weekend, his throwing mechanics were a bit problematic in the episode, so I’d like to believe that he’s really just that skilled as an actor.

  1. cjasfenton - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    My wife got pretty annoyed at my incessant critique of his throwing mechanics. It almost made that episode unwatchable.

    • cmtill14 - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:35 AM

      I know how you feel. My wife actually told me to shut up abt it lol

    • davidly - Feb 25, 2014 at 6:44 AM

      Her annoyance made it unwatchable for you, or your incessant critique made it unwatchable for her?

      I know, I know: You mean his throwing mechanics made it unwatchable. It is kind of funny that we can tune in repeatedly to the intrigue of morally bankrupt oligarchs and how they ruin innocent people’s lives, but when one of ‘em throws like a girl, it grates.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:07 AM

      To be quite honest, his throwing mechanics didn’t bother me that much. They LOOKED like the throwing mechanics of a career politician, rather than one of a person who played a lot of sports. In fact I don’t remember him mentioning much of any sport in the character’s back-story. Rowing maybe, but not Baseball or even Football. It also looked like the throwing mechanics of a guy with a giant bulletproof vest strapped to his chest. And finally, those are the throwing mechanics of a guy who would have had the story he told in the show.

  2. pipkin42 - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:53 PM

    During the scenes from the first episode where he’s on the Metro he’s on the Baltimore Metro, not the DC version. You can tell from the fare machines.

    • NatsLady - Feb 25, 2014 at 6:59 AM

      Yes. The Metro scenes give you an odd wrong feel even before the “action” starts.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2014/02/24/whats-up-with-hollywoods-fake-metro-stations/

  3. okwhitefalcon - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:46 AM

    Here’s the vid DJ references above from July 14, 2013:

  4. cmtill14 - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    I remember my first game at Camden back in 2008, while I was working for the Air Force at Ft. Meade. A friend hooked me up with tix right on the 1B line for a game vs. the As. Absolutely beautiful ballpark and great atmosphere. As a Braves fan, I can honestly say, well done Os. Well done.

    • southpaw2k - Feb 25, 2014 at 7:47 AM

      What’s funny about OPACY is that it’s something like the 5th oldest ballpark in all of baseball now. It’s extremely well-maintained, and the updates over the last couple years to the jumbotron, concessions, and merchandise shops have kept it a great place to watch a game.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM

        If you haven’t been, I can’t more highly recommend watching a game from the rooftop bar. It provides a really amazing experience. It combines the atmosphere of a friendly sports bar with a fantastic view of the game. We were up there for a game early last year where Chris Davis hit a game winning home run and everyone started jumping up and down, giving each other high fives, hugging each other. It’s really special.

      • southpaw2k - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:19 AM

        Yes!!! The rooftop bar is excellent. I haven’t been there to watch a full game, but I have gone there for at least a drink or two prior to a game starting. I personally prefer having the jumbotron in view when I’m at the park, but those umbrella couches are extremely comfortable and would be great to have crabs while watching the game.

  5. hushbrother - Feb 25, 2014 at 4:27 AM

    There was a little bit of symbolism in an earlier scene in which he’s practicing his pitch with Meechum, his Secret Service agent – Frank being the pitcher, and Meechum the catcher, wink wink.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:10 AM

      I’m starting to wonder if Meechum has a thing for Mrs. Frank. (Still have a few episodes to go so no spoilers.)

  6. Old Gator - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    He throws out the first pitch and then, pouffff! He’s gone.

  7. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    I wasn’t too impressed with the obvious CG work done to fill the crowd out. Seeing McLouth and Johnson was really nice, but the rest of the fake players just looked…really fake. It was really nice they didn’t try to make OPACY into Nats Stadium like they did with the entire city in The Replacements, or how Major League turned OPACY into the home stadium for the Indians (To be fair the Indians did model their stadium after Camden Yards). It’s really hard to get permission to film in DC, so they often substitute Baltimore for DC and it’s rather annoying. I remember one film even went so far as to take down any Baltimore related sign and put up DC signs in it’s place. The stretch filmed in Annapolis in The Patriot was very realistic though (Even if they dragged a two mile stretch into a 20 min high speed chase).

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:09 AM

      Oh, one more interesting thing. This is not the first fake president to throw out a pitch on camera at Camden Yards.

      http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2004-04-24/sports/0404240377_1_sheen-hairston-camden-yards

    • Old Gator - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      I’m sure that Scrooge McLoria would like to check out the CG work – a crowd of idoru is preferable to no crowd at all.

  8. thebirdsareback - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    I was at that game. Good Episode, Good Show, Even better ball park and city

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:09 AM

      Usually they announce these things ahead of time and I’m very surprised I did not hear about it sooner. I would have gone just for knowing I would be part of the show.

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