Ballpark Roadtrip: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
A marquee above Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Orioles in Baltimore, Maryland on Sept. 14, 2009. (Photo: Gordon Donovan)
When Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened on April 6, 1992, a new era of Major League Baseball began. It replaced Memorial Stadium that opened in 1954 when the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and took the name of previous franchises that played in Baltimore.
The park was brand new, but still old-fashioned. State-of-the-art, yet quaint. At less than a day old, it was already a classic. Oriole Park at Camden Yards inspired a generation of ballpark construction. No longer would communities across America build multipurpose stadiums devoid of character, surrounded by vast parking lots.
Ballparks would now be created to nestle neatly into existing and historic neighborhoods and play key roles in the revitalization of urban America. Oriole Park at Camden Yards captured the nation's attention from day one and in the 20 seasons that followed, has served as the standard by which all new ballparks are measured.
Citizens of Baltimore and all of Maryland, as well as Orioles fans throughout Birdland, should take great pride in the fact that our team makes its home in the ballpark that forever changed baseball.
Ebbets Field (Brooklyn), Shibe Park (Philadelphia), Fenway Park (Boston), Crosley Field (Cincinnati), Forbes Field (Pittsburgh), Wrigley Field (Chicago), and The Polo Grounds (New York) were among the ballparks that served as powerful influences in the design of Oriole Park.
The stadium planners incorporated the B&O warehouse into the architecture of the ballpark experience rather than demolish or truncate it. The floors of the warehouse contain offices, service spaces, and a private club.
The warehouse has never been hit by a legal home run during regulation play. However, several players have reportedly struck the wall during batting practice and it was hit by Ken Griffey, Jr. during the Home Run Derby associated with the 1993 MLB All-Star Game.
Ballpark: A – The model for all Major League Stadiums. Beautiful park and best tour of any ballpark. Just a shame this team is awful. Fans showed up for Adam Jones bobblehead night and left because of damp weather. Alumni come back and sign before the game.
Fans & Atmosphere: A –The model for all Major League Stadiums. Beautiful park and best tour of any ballpark. Just a shame this team is awful. Fans showed up for Adam Jones bobblehead night and left because of damp weather. Alumni come back and sign before the game.
Food: A – Boog's Barbecue, which sells barbecue sandwiches, pit beef, and ribs on Eutaw Street at Oriole Park. You will need a nap afterwords.
Mascot: B – The Oriole Bird hatched out of a giant egg at Memorial Stadium and became the official mascot of the Baltimore Orioles on On April 6, 1979. Does a great job entertaining fans and abusing opposition.
Staff: B – Tour guides were the best. Made it fun for kids and adults asking trivia. A few ushers had a thing for New Yorkers.
Team Tradition: B – Honors the team history from St. Louis and the original Baltimore Orioles. Babe Ruth is honored with a statue outside and a path that leads to the Babe Ruth Museum. Wall of Fame on Eutaw Street.
Location: B – One wrong turn and you will end up in an episode of The Wire. The Inner Harbor is an amazing place, nice job by the city of Baltimore. Babe Ruth’s birthplace is a short walk, just follow the markers.
Photos taken June 17-18 and Sept. 14, 2009, using a Canon EOS 50D Digital SLR with a EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Standard Zoom Lens and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens.