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.
Five Four Reasons Visiting Fans
Come to Camden Yards
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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