Oriole Park at Camden Yards

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Oriole Park at Camden Yards
The Yard, Birdland, The House that Cal Built
ALE-BAL-Camden.PNG
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Location 333 West Camden Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Coordinates 39°17′2″N 76°37′18″W / 39.28389°N 76.62167°W / 39.28389; -76.62167Coordinates: 39°17′2″N 76°37′18″W / 39.28389°N 76.62167°W / 39.28389; -76.62167
Broke ground June 28, 1989
Opened April 6, 1992
Owner Maryland Stadium Authority
Operator Maryland Stadium Authority
Surface Kentucky Blue Grass
Construction cost $110 million
($185 million in 2014 dollars[1])
Architect Populous
Project manager International Facilities Group, LLC.[2]
Structural engineer Bliss and Nyitray, Inc.
Services engineer Kidde Consultants Inc.[3]
General contractor Barton Malow/Sverdrup/Danobe[4]
Capacity 48,876[5] (1992–2010)
45,971 (2011–present)[6] with standing room at least 48,187
Record attendance 49,828 (July 10, 2005)
Field dimensions Left Field Line – 333 feet (101.5 m)
Left Center – 364 feet (110.9 m)
Deep Left Center – 410 feet (125 m)
Center Field – 400 feet (121.9 m) (Not posted)
Right Center – 373 feet (113.7 m)
Right Field Line – 318 feet (96.9 m)
Public transit access Convention Center (Baltimore Light Rail station)
Tenants
Baltimore Orioles (MLB) (1992–present)

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, often referred to simply as Camden Yards, is a Major League Baseball (MLB) ballpark located in Baltimore, Maryland. Home to the Baltimore Orioles, it is the first of the "retro" major league ballparks constructed during the 1990s and early 2000s, and remains one of the most highly praised.[7] It was completed in 1992 to replace Memorial Stadium.

The park is situated in downtown Baltimore, a few blocks west of the Inner Harbor in the Camden Yards Sports Complex. The Orioles celebrated the ballpark's 20th anniversary during the 2012 season and launched the website CamdenYards20.com as part of the celebration.[8] Historically, Oriole Park at Camden Yards is one of several venues that have carried the "Oriole Park" name for various Baltimore franchises over the years.

History[edit]

Construction[edit]

Prior to Camden Yards, the predominant design trend of big league ballparks was the symmetrical "multi-purpose stadium". Memorial Stadium, the Orioles' home since they moved from St. Louis in 1954, was an early example of such a design.

In 1984, the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis, in part because Baltimore and Maryland officials refused to commit money for a replacement for Memorial Stadium. Not wanting to chance losing the Orioles—and Baltimore's status as a major-league city in its own right—city and state officials immediately set about building a new park in order to keep them in town.[9]

The master plan was designed by international design firm, RTKL. The stadium design was completed by the architectural firm Populous (formerly HOK Sport), which had pioneered retro ballparks on the minor league level four years earlier with Pilot Field in Buffalo, New York.

HOK's original design was very similar to the new Comiskey Park. However, at the urging of architectural consultant Janet Marie Smith, the Orioles turned it down, preferring a retro-style park.[10]

Construction began in 1989, and lasted 33 months. Former Orioles owner Eli Jacobs favored naming the new field Oriole Park, while then-Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer favored Camden Yards. After considerable debate a compromise was reached to use both names.[11]

1992–present[edit]

Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1996

The ballpark opened on April 6, 1992 with the Orioles hosting the Cleveland Indians. The great success of Camden Yards which followed sparked a trend in the construction of more traditional, fan-friendly ballparks in downtown locations across the U.S. [12] Indeed, by the 2012 season, all but two teams played in baseball-only parks.

Camden Yards hosted the 1993 MLB All-Star Game.

On June 18, 1994, an escalator accident injured 43 people; one of the stadium's multiple-story escalators, overcrowded with fans heading to their upper-deck seats, jerked backward, throwing passengers to the bottom landing. On September 6, 1995, Camden Yards witnessed Cal Ripken, Jr.'s record-setting 2,131st consecutive game. Exactly one year later, Eddie Murray blasted his 500th home run there.

Two orange seats stand out from the park's dark green plastic chairs. One, located at Section 96, Row 7, Seat 23 in the right-center field bleachers (officially known as the Eutaw Street Reserve sections), commemorates the spot where Murray's 500th home run landed. The other, Section 86, Row FF, Seat 10 in the left field bleachers, was the landing spot for Ripken's 278th home run as a shortstop, breaking Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks' record for the position. That home run was hit on July 15, 1993. Ripken finished his career with 345 home runs as a shortstop and 431 overall.

On Sunday October 8, 1995, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at Camden Yards as part of his visit to Baltimore,[13] one of the most prominent non-baseball events at Camden Yards.

Attendance[edit]

Between 1992–2000, the Orioles averaged more than 40,000 spectators per game, with a total attendance of 3.71 million persons in the 1997 season.[14] Since then, attendance has declined to 1.9 million in the 2009 season.[15] The current single game highest attendance record at Camden Yards is 49,828, set on July 10, 2005 against the Boston Red Sox. On April 12, 2010, the low-attendance mark was set, when just 9,129 fans watched the Orioles play the Tampa Bay Rays.

On August 19, 2008, the stadium hosted its 50 millionth fan, a milestone reached in just seventeen seasons, the fastest park in baseball history to reach such a figure. Since opening in 1992, Oriole Park has hosted the third-most number of fans in Major League Baseball, exceeded only by Dodger Stadium and the first Yankee Stadium.[16]

Notable games[edit]

The Orioles hosting the Chicago White Sox in 1999.
  • September 6, 1995: Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's record of 2,130 consecutive games played, and hit a home run during that game. Attendees included President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Joe DiMaggio, and Cal Ripken, Sr..
  • September 6, 1996: Eddie Murray hit his 500th career home run exactly one year after Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak.
  • October 15, 1997: The Cleveland Indians win Game 6 of the 1997 ALCS 1-0 in 11 innings to win the series 4-2 and advance to the 1997 World Series.
  • May 3, 1999: The Cuban national baseball team defeats the Orioles 12-6 in the second game of a two-game exhibition series
  • April 4, 2001: Hideo Nomo pitched the first no-hitter in the history of Camden Yards, walking three and striking out eleven.
  • October 4, 2001: Tim Raines, Sr. played left field and Tim Raines, Jr. played center field, in the 5-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox becoming only the second father-son duo to play in the same game. Ken Griffey, Sr. and Ken Griffey, Jr. were the only other father-son duo to do so (with the Seattle Mariners, on August 31, 1990).
  • October 6, 2001: Cal Ripken, Jr.'s final MLB game. Former President Bill Clinton and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig were in attendance.
  • August 22, 2007: The Texas Rangers beat the Orioles 30–3[17] in game one of a doubleheader, the highest scoring game in 110 years.
  • May 31, 2008: Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox hits his 500th home run in a game against the Orioles
  • June 30, 2009: The Orioles rallied to score 10 runs against the Red Sox after facing a 10–1 deficit in the 7th inning, breaking the franchise record for the largest comeback, and the Major League Baseball record for the largest comeback by a last place team over a first place team.
  • September 28, 2011: The Orioles defeat the Boston Red Sox in a walk-off 4-3 win and eliminate the Red Sox from any chance of postseason play. With the loss, the Red Sox became the first team in baseball history to miss the postseason after leading by as many as nine games for a playoff spot entering the month of September.
  • May 8, 2012: Josh Hamilton tied the Major League Baseball record for home runs in a game with 4. He went 5 for 5 with four home runs and one double.

Design and features[edit]

Susan Luery's 1996 statue of Babe Ruth, Babe's Dream

Camden Yards was built on land that once served as the rail yard for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Camden Station. The view from much of the park is dominated by the former B&O Warehouse behind the right-field wall. Many seats in the stadium have a good view of the downtown Baltimore skyline.

The bullpen area was designed after many write-in designs were submitted by the public. Its unique two-tiered design was a first in major league parks.

A picnic area is located above and behind the bullpens. Rows of picnic tables covered by orange umbrellas are available for fans to sit and eat. Many trees are located there, too. Many fans at home games view the game from behind the railing behind the bullpens. Until the 2012 season, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network's pre- and post-game shows before Orioles home games were televised in an outdoor studio behind the bullpens. Bronze sculptures of the six Orioles greats whose uniform numbers were retired by the ballclub were unveiled individually in the walking zone of the area behind the bullpens throughout the 2012 season.[18] The statues were created by Antonio Tobias Mendez and cast at the locally-based New Arts Foundry.[19]

On the street there is a statue of Babe Ruth entitled, Babe's Dream, created in 1996 by sculptor Susan Luery.[20] In the same courtyard, one will find sculptures indicating the retired jersey numbers of the Baltimore Orioles.

The stadium is the first major league park to have an outfield wall made up entirely of straight wall segments since Ebbets Field. The playing field is 16 feet below street level. The stadium contains 4,631 club seats and 72 luxury suites. Every seat in the ballpark is green, except for two - one in left field which marks the spot of Cal Ripken's 278th career home run, breaking Ernie Banks' all-time record among shortstops, and one in right field, which marks the spot of Eddie Murray's 500th career home run.

In March 2013, Oriole Park was named the number three ballpark in the U.S. by TripAdvisor.[21]

Seating capacity[edit]

  • 48,041 (1992–1996)
  • 48,079 (1997–2000)
  • 48,190 (2001–2004)
  • 48,290 (2005–2010)
  • 45,971 (2011–present)

Renovations[edit]

After the 2008 season, a new HD video display and scoreboard were installed below the right field bleachers. A new, high fidelity, sound reinforcement system was added around the ballpark in 2009. The Orioles made numerous improvements to their home ballpark and to their spring training facility, Ed Smith Stadium, before the start of the 2011 season. All seats in the lower seating bowl were replaced and drink rails were added in the club level. Several skyboxes were also eliminated and refurbished to make room for more party suites and casual luxury boxes. The renovation reduced Oriole Park's capacity from 48,876 to 45,971, making it more compatible with newer ballparks.

During the 2011–12 off season, the Orioles announced further upgrades to Camden Yards in preparation for the 20th anniversary of the park's opening. These improvements included the expansion of concession food choices, widening of the concourses in the upper deck, the installation of a replica of the B&O Warehouses original canopy, and the addition of a lounge atop the batter's eye in center field, which had been previously been inaccessible to fans. The lounge will contain a restaurant and have bar-style and casual deck seating where fans can watch the game. The team also announced that cast-bronze statues of all the Oriole Baseball Hall of Famers would be erected in the picnic area beyond the bullpens in left-center field.[18] Furthermore, the right field wall will be lowered from 25 feet to 21 feet to improve the view of the field from Eutaw Street.

B&O Warehouse[edit]

Right field and the former B&O warehouse
View of the B&O Warehouse and Eutaw Street before a September 2013 game.

The stadium planners incorporated the 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 been hit on the fly only once, by Ken Griffey, Jr. during the Home Run Derby of the 1993 MLB All-Star Game.

Eutaw Street[edit]

Eutaw Street, between the stadium and the warehouse, is closed to vehicular traffic. Along this street, spectators can get a view of the game or visit the many shops and restaurants that line the thoroughfare, including former Oriole star Boog Powell's outdoor barbecue stand. On game days, pedestrians must have a ticket in order to walk on the part of Eutaw Street adjacent to the stadium; however, on non-game days the street is open to all, while access to the stadium is gated. Sections 90–98, called Eutaw Street Reserve, are located not in the stadium, but adjacent to Eutaw Street, with the seats descending toward the outfield below. If a game sells out, fans may purchase reduced-price "Standing-room only" tickets, which entitle them to enter Eutaw Street and watch the game from two designated standing areas (in LF bullpen area or above scoreboard in RF).

Many home run balls have landed on Eutaw Street, and the Orioles organization has marked the spots with small baseball-shaped bronze plaques embedded in the street, though it sometimes takes up to a year for each homer to get a plaque. The first home run to reach Eutaw Street was hit by Mickey Tettleton of the Detroit Tigers on April 20, 1992.[22] The most recent home run to land on Eutaw Street was a Curtis Granderson shot on September 12, 2013. As of September 12, 2013, 75 home runs have landed on Eutaw Street in stadium history.[23] The June 29, 2012 game against the Cleveland Indians was only the second time multiple home runs have landed on Eutaw Street in a single game. The first occurrence was during the April 11, 1997 game against the Texas Rangers when Rafael Palmeiro hit two home runs which landed on Eutaw Street. The single season record for home runs landing on Eutaw Street is eight, set in 2008.[24]

Blocked skyline views[edit]

In 2007–08 construction started (building completed 2009) on two large buildings beyond the stadium's outfield walls — a 757–room Hilton Baltimore hotel north of the stadium occupying a two-city block area and a high-rise apartment building —has blocked views of the city's skyline from most sections of the grandstand. The Baltimore Sun said on April 21, 2008, "There's just a glimpse of the Bromo Seltzer Tower's crenellated top just to the right of the new Hilton Baltimore Convention Center hotel ... something's drastically different at Oriole Park this year ... the sweeping view of downtown Baltimore that fans have enjoyed for the past 16 seasons has changed considerably..."[25] Sportswriter Peter Schmuck complained, "the big, antiseptic convention hotel ... looms over Camden Yards ... [and] has blocked out the best part of the Baltimore skyline".[26] A Washington Post columnist called it a "cruel cubist joke on a previously perfect ballpark", although others said they were pleased with new construction downtown as indicative of urban revitalization.[25]

Access and transportation[edit]

On the far side of the B&O Warehouse is the present Camden Yards station, served by both the Baltimore Light Rail and MARC commuter rail. The latter rail line provides direct service to Washington, D.C., and the former to BWI Airport. The Light Rail service began around the time the stadium opened.

The stadium is located in downtown Baltimore, near the Inner Harbor. The ballpark, along with the adjacent M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League, make up the Camden Yards Sports Complex, though Camden Yards generally refers to only the baseball stadium. The football stadium was not built until 1998. Camden Yards is just a short walk from Babe Ruth's birthplace, which is now a museum. According to some sources, Ruth's father once owned a pub located in what is now center field of the stadium.(http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/index.htm, on the Oriole Park page)

In May 2005, a new sports museum, the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, opened in Camden Station.

Ballparks influenced by Camden Yards[edit]

Main entrance from Conway and Briscoe Streets.

Since its opening day in 1992, Camden Yards was a success and fan favorite. Attendance jumped from an average of 25,722 over the last ten years of Memorial Stadium's tenure to an average of 43,490 over the first ten years of Camden Yards' existence.[27] Due to its success, many other cities built traditional-feeling asymmetrical ballparks with modern amenities (such as skyboxes) in a downtown setting. Many of these stadiums, like Camden Yards, incorporate "retro" features in the stadium exteriors as well as interiors; these parks have been dubbed "retro-classic" parks. Other parks, known as "retro-modern" parks, have combined "retro" interiors with more modern exterior elements.

The park also ended a quarter-century trend of multi-purpose stadiums in which baseball and football teams shared the same stadium. Although intended to cut costs, the fundamentally different sizes and shapes of baseball and football fields made this concept fundamentally inadequate for either sport. By the 2012 season, all but two teams played in baseball-only parks.

These ballparks include:

Retro-classic
Retro-modern

The newest MLB park, Marlins Park in Miami (opened in 2012), was the first since Camden Yards not classified as a "retro" park, whether of the classic or modern variety. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria specifically rejected the retro model for the new park, desiring a facility that reflected the 21st-century culture of Miami. Populous, which designed both Camden Yards and Marlins Park, was willing to listen; the lead designer for Marlins Park would later say the company was "waiting for a client willing to break the [retro] mold."[28] Stadium planners are labeling Marlins Park the first example of contemporary architecture in MLB.

Ballpark firsts[edit]

Ballpark First Date Details
First Game April 6, 1992 vs. Cleveland Indians
Ceremonial First Pitch April 6, 1992 George H.W. Bush
First Pitch April 6, 1992 Rick Sutcliffe, 3:20 p.m. EDT - pitch was a ball
First Batter April 6, 1992 Kenny Lofton, Indians center fielder, flied out to right fielder Joe Orsulak on a 3-2 pitch
First Hit April 6, 1992 Cleveland's first baseman Paul Sorrento, singled to left-center with one out in the top of the second inning
First Orioles Hit April 6, 1992 Orioles first baseman Glenn Davis led off the bottom of the second inning with a single to center
First Run April 6, 1992 In the fifth inning, O's designated hitter Sam Horn walked, went to second base on third baseman Leo Gómez's single and scored on catcher Chris Hoiles' double
First RBI April 6, 1992 Chris Hoiles hit an automatic double (ball bounced over the left-center fence) to score Sam Horn
First Double April 6, 1992 Chris Hoiles hit an automatic double (ball bounced over the left-center fence) to score Sam Horn
First Strikeout April 6, 1992 Sutcliffe struck out Cleveland right fielder Mark Whiten in the second inning
First Home Run April 8, 1992 Cleveland's Paul Sorrento (3-run homer)
First Orioles Home Run April 9, 1992 Mike Devereaux, leading off the fourth inning (off Cleveland's Jack Armstrong)
First Stolen Base April 9, 1992 Cleveland's Mark Lewis (against Ben McDonald and Chris Hoiles), third inning
First Grand Slam April 17, 1992 Randy Milligan, seventh inning, off Detroit's Les Lancaster
First Multi-Home Run Game April 17, 1992 Milligan (2), off Detroit's Scott Aldred (one on) and Les Lancaster (grand Slam)
First Triple April 17, 1992 Cal Ripken, 6th inning, vs. Detroit, off Scott Aldred
First Save April 19, 1992 Gregg Olson, vs. Detroit, in a 3-2 victory
First No-Hitter April 4, 2001 Boston's Hideo Nomo, in a 3–0 victory

In popular culture[edit]

  • The movie Dave (1993) features a scene with the President of the United States, played by Kevin Kline, throwing out the first pitch at Camden Yards. That scene was filmed in front of an actual capacity crowd at the ballpark, prior to a regular-season game in early August 1992.[1] Similar scenes were filmed for the Chris Rock movie Head of State, for the Geena Davis TV Series Commander in Chief, and for the 2004 season finale of The West Wing. A short clip in the 2005 film Wedding Crashers shows Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The pilot of the HBO 2009 comedy series Eastbound & Down begins with an aerial shot of Camden Yards; however, when actor Danny McBride takes the mound, the field level shot is at a different ballpark.[30]
  • A portion of an episode of the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire, a show about police officers and drug dealers in Baltimore, was filmed during an actual Orioles game in which characters Jimmy McNulty and Bunk Moreland, played by Dominic West and Wendell Pierce, take their sons to a game while discussing a case.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  2. ^ Emporis.com - International Facilities Group, LLC
  3. ^ Oriole Park at Camden Yards — KCI
  4. ^ Ballparks.com - Oriole Park at Camden Yards
  5. ^ The Official Site of The Baltimore Orioles: Ballpark: Oriole Park History
  6. ^ Camden Yards Undergoing Renovations for 2011 Season
  7. ^ "Oriole Park at Camden Yards". Sports-venue.info. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Orioles launch camdenyards20.com". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. June 19, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ Smith, Curt (2001). Storied Stadiums. New York City: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1187-6. 
  10. ^ Pahigaian, Josh; O'Connell, Kevin (2004). The Ultimate Baseball Road Trip. Guilford, Connecticut: Lyons Press. ISBN 1-59228-159-1. 
  11. ^ Vanhooser, Cassandra M. "Inside Camden Yards." Southern Living.
  12. ^ "Home of the Game: The Story of Camden Yards" by Thom Loverro (Taylor Publishing) ISBN 0-87833-222-7, p 57.
  13. ^ "Pope John Paul II gives Mass in Oriole Park at Camden Yards - Video". Catholic.org. August 29, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  14. ^ Cahall, Aaron; Cannarsa, Andrew (May 13, 2008). "Losing O's Hurt Camden Yards". The Baltimore Examiner. p. 17. 
  15. ^ Baseball Reference - Current Attendance
  16. ^ Comak, Amanda (August 19, 2008). "Oriole Park welcomes 50 millionth fan". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Retrosheet Boxscore: Texas Rangers 30, Baltimore Orioles 3 (1)". Retrosheet.org. August 22, 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Orioles Legends Celebration Series". Major League Baseball Advanced Media. April 26, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  19. ^ Jensen, Brennen. "Heavy Metal Man," Baltimore City Paper, July 31, 2012.
  20. ^ Biography of Susan Luery, the sculptor of the Babe Ruth statue. URL last accessed July 6, 2006.
  21. ^ "TripAdvisor Ranks Oriole Park at Camden Yards Among Top Ten Ballparks in Nation". Baltimore News Journal. March 22, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  22. ^ Stewart, Wayne (May 1993). "Mammoth Homers by Active Longball Hitters Recalled". Baseball Digest (Evanston, Illinois: Lakeside Publishing Company). Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Rockies hit 4 homers to extend Orioles' skid". ESPN. September 16, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  24. ^ Connolly, Dan (June 29, 2012). "The Year of the Eutaw Street Homer Continues". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 30, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b Gunts, Edward (April 21, 2008). "Going, Going, Gone". The Baltimore Sun. p. C1. 
  26. ^ Schmuck, Peter (July 17, 2008). "First Word". The Baltimore Sun. p. 3Z. 
  27. ^ Baltimore Orioles Attendance Records by Baseball Almanac
  28. ^ Justice, Richard (April 3, 2012). "Richard Justice: Marlins Park a work of art in every facet | marlins.com: News". MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  29. ^ Image:OPACY disguised as Cleveland Stadium, ML2.jpg
  30. ^ IMDB.com - Did You Know

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Memorial Stadium
Home of the
Baltimore Orioles

1992 – present
Succeeded by
Current
Preceded by
Jack Murphy Stadium
Host of the All-Star Game
1993
Succeeded by
Three Rivers Stadium