Oriole Park At
Major League Baseball Park #15 out of 39
Monday, September 9, 1996
Baltimore 5, Detroit Tigers 4
W– Scott Erickson
L – Omar Olivares
Attendance – 42,562
Tuesday, September 10, 1996
Baltimore 5, Chicago White Sox 1
W– David Wells
L – Kevin Tapani
Attendance – 43,320
Friday, September 21, 2001
Baltimore 7, NY Yankees 6
W– Willis Roberts
L – Mariano Rivera
Attendance – 47,099
A new era in ballpark building began April 6, 1992 when Oriole Park at Camden
Yards opened. New Comiskey (now U.S. Cellular Field) should probably be
considered the last stadium from the old era.
Oriole Park looks and feels light years better than New Comiskey. It was built around an old warehouse. It's closer to its downtown area. I didn't make it to the previous Orioles' park, but it couldn't have been as nice as their current one.
When it opened, it was considered a "bandbox". A hitters' park. Unfortunately for Orioles' fans, hitters' parks don't host World Series games very often. Over the last few seasons, the outfield fences have been moved back. That change, and a significant increase in player payroll, has led to a recent resurgence for the home team. Now if only the Yankees and Red Sox can find their own division, the Orioles should be in good shape.
Camden Yards has a few quirks, but in my opinion, none of them detract from the game experience.
The "H" in The Baltimore Sun sign on top of the scoreboard will flash to show a
scoring decision of a hit and the "E" will flash to show an error. Fans yell "O"
(for the Orioles) in unison when "The Star-Spangled Banner" reaches "O Say does
that star-spangled banner yet wave..." Smoke from "Boog's BBQ" rises from the
pedestrian walkway beyond the right-center-field wall. The bullpens are situated
side-by-side in center field.
During the Home Run Derby at the 1993 All-Star Game, then-Mariner Ken Griffey Jr. became the first player to hit the B&O Warehouse (beyond the walkway beyond the right-field fence) on the fly. A plaque was installed on the warehouse wall to commemorate the event, but the plaque has since been removed by an erstwhile Griffey fan.
Just before we arrived in 1996, I took a quick look at our tickets and wondered what the $5 club fee referred to. We walked up to an usher standing near the right-field line and asked him where our seats were located. He pointed to the top of a two-story escalator. We hopped on and within a few seconds, found ourselves inside an air-conditioned mezzanine level of seating. While everyone else above and below us was sweating out 80-degree, 80-percent-humidity late-summer weather, we were wandering around inside very comfortable surroundings. Lounge areas. Framed photos of the park's construction. Waiter service from our seats. I kept score and watched the game, as usual, but it was very difficult to leave when the game was over. For the second game, our seats were in the upper deck. Kind of a letdown, but still way better than any cheap seat at the Kingdome.
Before and after the games, we visited Ford's Theatre (site of President Lincoln's assassination in April of 1865), the Air & Space Museum, the National Archives, and the Smithsonian. Lots of things to see in the area.
In the summer of 2001, we planned another trip to the Baltimore area because Orioles' legend Cal Ripken Jr. was about to retire. We'd hoped to catch one of his last home games in mid-September.
Well, "9/11" changed all of that. We still made the trip, of course, but baseball games had been delayed for ten days so it turned out that our Friday night game was the Orioles' first game at home since the NYC and Pentagon attacks. Policemen and firemen from Baltimore, DC, and New York City stood on the baselines before the game.
We enjoyed the game because the Yankees blew a lead and a lot of their fans went home unhappy. This time around, we visited the Jefferson Monument, the Arlington Cemetery, Washington National Cathedral, and Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
The pictures below are, in order, the Arlington Cemetery amphitheatre, the Camden Yards scoreboard and B&O Warehouse, a marker showing where Griffey's 1993 All-Star HR Derby shot landed, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington, and the Jefferson Monument.
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