Five Four Reasons Visiting Fans
Come to Camden Yards

Much is made of how Camden Yards turns into an entirely different atmosphere when the Yankees or Red Sox come to town. The crowds are twice as big as usual, and Orioles fans, much to their irritation, have their voices drowned out by chants of “Let’s Go Yankees!” in their own backyard. And that’s not even counting the Phillies and Nationals faithful that pour in on interleague play weekends.

Even local businesses take advantage of the situation, with higher hotel and parking prices and even opposing team T-shirts sold by hawkers who have the gall to put “Fenway South” on them.

As an Orioles fan, I get it. It’s irritating as hell. I imagine the last game of the 2011 season was pretty sweet for Orioles fans sick of Red Sox Nation invading their home. The only thing sweeter would have been to finish off the Yankees—like the O’s often did in the Weaver years, when they were the only team in baseball with a winning record against the Bronx Bombers.

But in fairness, you really can’t blame the partisan fans for hopping on a car or train to visit our beautiful home of baseball. I can think of four reasons why opposing fans would choose Camden Yards as a prime spot for their team-following treks.

1) Affordability. Since Orioles fans endured 14 losing seasons, the team pretty much lost any leverage to charge the kind of prices for tickets that the Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies charge and they haven't been contending long enough to jack up prices yet.

In 1992 when Camden Yards was the hottest ticket in baseball, it seemed inconceivable to think of the place with empty seats. But after the retirement of Cal Ripken Jr. and many years of futility, not even a great ballpark will bring out disenchanted fans.

The O’s (and nearby hotels and parking garages) may charge more when the Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies are in town, but even with the gas and tolls, fans are still getting a much better bang for their buck than they will at Yankee Stadium or Citizens Bank Park.

Hey, Smart Fan! Want to take a trip to one of America's greatest ballparks? Check out Kurt's complete guide to Camden Yards - click here!

2) Boog’s Barbecue. Even with all of the wonderful new food choices at the Yard (all hail the presence of a Polock Johnny’s sausage with the “works” and a Natty Boh), people still love to line up to shake Boog’s hand, and by most accounts the food cooked in the green orange tent is still go-to stuff at Camden Yards.

The Phillies have Greg Luzinski greeting people at his barbecue stand, and the Red Sox have Luis Tiant signing autographs in exchange for buying a Cuban. But Boog was the first to represent his team with food and greets at the ballpark.


3) The Neighborhood. Yankees and Red Sox fans can both visit the Babe Ruth Museum and learn about the Bambino and his impact on both franchises. There’s also a Geppi’s Entertainment Museum on the other side of the Warehouse in Camden Station.

The second best tourist attraction in Baltimore, the Inner Harbor, is just steps away from the ballpark. On the Russell Street side of Camden Yards are several great taverns like Pickles Pub and Slider’s, and outside vendors to get your grub on at a very reasonable price.

Granted, you don’t want to venture too far from the ballpark in Baltimore, but you wouldn’t want to do that in the Bronx either.

4) It’s Still The Best Ballpark in Baseball. I love Yankee Stadium, I love Fenway and I love Citizens Bank Park. But Yankee Stadium asks insane prices for any kind of decent seat. Fenway Park has tiny seats with obstructed views. The only post-game taverns at Citizens Bank Park are in the expensive Xfinity Live complex. (And given what Xfinity charges me for cable, I'm not interested in handing them more money.)

All three of those ballparks are great in their own way. But none of them have a decent crab cake sandwich outside or a Gino's Camden Giant on the inside.

5) The Likelihood of Seeing a Red Sox or Yankees Victory. Not anymore. Go O's!!!

For the best all around experience, especially for those of us priced out of the best seats, Camden Yards still tops the homes of the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies. In my humble opinion, anyway.

So it’s hard to blame fans of the enemy for making the trip.

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