Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
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No matter how obvious its style seems now, Oriole Park at Camden Yards blew conventional wisdom out of the water at the time when it came to ballpark construction.
Before 1992 ballparks weren’t designed by baseball fans, and it was obvious. All over the country baseball fans endured ballgames in stadiums designed for football. Not just the concrete Astroturf donuts in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, but even the grass stadiums—like in San Diego, Oakland (which remains), and San Francisco. Oriole Park changed all that.
Had accountants designed Camden Yards, Baltimore would have gotten a concrete donut with artificial turf, like Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, causing people to bitterly mourn the destruction of Memorial Stadium where Brooks Robinson spent his career robbing power hitters of doubles. Had simple architects designed Camden Yards, Baltimore would have gotten a sterile, symmetrical stadium built to hold as many people as possible like the new Comiskey Park in Chicago, designed by the same outfit that designed Camden Yards. Had the Maryland Stadium Authority designed Camden Yards, an economical stadium would have been built off of the highway somewhere between Baltimore and Washington.
Instead, baseball fans, namely Orioles team president Larry Lucchino and architect Janet Marie Smith pushed, cajoled, busted heads and used their “design concurrence” clause in the new ballpark contract to construct the finest baseball facility in the major leagues, a ballpark so outstanding in every way that not only did it spawn dozens of new sports facilities around the country, it still holds up as one of the best among all of them.
Camden Yards has it all. It takes up just one city block. It has quirky dimensions by the necessity of its location. There are a small amount of seats, keeping even the furthest fans close enough to the action. It has vendors in every direction hawking T-shirts, sausages and peanuts. Green seats. A solid brick façade. A former local star selling barbeque sandwiches.
Most of all, Camden Yards’ most striking feature is the gigantic B&O Warehouse in right field. When Oriole Park was in the planning stages, no one was sure what to do with the warehouse…not everyone wanted to demolish it, but no one could figure out how to make it work. Then Eric Moss, an architecture student at Syracuse, created a model that built the ballpark around the warehouse. More than anyone, Eric Moss deserves credit for the brilliant design of Camden Yards.
In 2012 Oriole Park at Camden Yards will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its opening. The ballpark itself still garners rave reviews, even as the team has endured almost habitual last place finishes. Bad for Orioles fans, but great for the ballpark visitor—tickets can be had for a game in one of baseball’s greatest parks for relatively very cheap.
Orioles Tickets: For Yankees and Red Sox games, it’s probably best to go through the team website or box office. For most other games, a third party may be cheaper. Here is my recommendation for using third party sellers.
Coming to visit Baltimore? Here is why I use Hotwire for hotels and where I like to stay.
My Tribute to Earl Weaver: He was one of the greatest managers ever, and he played a part in my becoming an Orioles fan as a kid.
My tribute to Memorial Stadium: I never had the opportunity to visit Ebbets Field, Tiger Stadium, Comiskey Park or many other old classic ballparks that fans still miss today. But I might have argued that Memorial was as great as all of them.
Why Yankees and Red Sox Fans Come to Camden Yards: Here are five reasons why you see so many visiting fans at the Yard.
My Favorite Camden Yards Story: I’ve been to many Orioles games at Camden Yards, but the memory of my first trip there is still the fondest.
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I hope you find these tips helpful—and if you’d like to know much more, pick yourself up an Oriole Park at Camden Yards E-Guide! The Oriole Park E-Guide is loaded with tips on the many ways to get tickets, all of the different seating areas, the different options for getting there, and the outstanding food options inside and outside of the ballpark…with “Tightwad Tips” throughout to help you save money on all of it. All for just $5 – click here to find out more!
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