Ballpark Survival Guy’d: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
333 West Camden Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Our next installment within the Stadium Guy’d tour takes us to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles – one of the most important ballparks of the last two decades.
Opened in 1992, Camden Yards revolutionized the way fans watch Major League Baseball and became not only the standard, but also an inspiration, for how baseball stadiums were constructed. After a lengthy stay at Memorial Stadium, it was time for the city of Baltimore to build the Orioles a state of the art, baseball-only stadium and what fans got was one of the best buildings in sports.
- Established in 1894, the Orioles spent time in Milwaukee and St. Louis under different names before finding a permanent home in Baltimore – and the American League – in 1954.
- The Orioles have won seven pennants (AL Championships) as well as three World Series titles in 1966, 1970 and 1983 – the last of which saw Cal Ripken Jr. win his first of two AL MVP awards.
- Fans shout “O” at the beginning of the first line and the second to last line during the National Anthem, a tribute to the nickname of the team and the song, which was penned in the city.
- Their mascot, the Oriole Bird, was “hatched” at Memorial Stadium in 1979 and has long been featured as the logo on the team’s caps.
- The landmark B & O Warehouse, beyond right field, is the longest building on the East Coast at 1,116 feet, though it’s only 51 feet wide. The eight story building provides office space for the Orioles and other tenants – and a 432-foot home run can reach it if it hugs the right field line.
Ballpark Perks and Information
The Orioles offer fans the chance to explore the dugouts, the Press Level and more, while getting a historical perspective on the nearby B & O Railroad, Inner Harbor and more.
There’s no shortage of history around the park, that’s for sure. Adjacent to the main gate is the Sports Legend Museum at Camden Yards, which features artifacts and interactive exhibits pertaining to Maryland’s sports history. Inside the park, you’ll find the Orioles Hall of Fame wall near the north end of Eutaw Street, featuring the franchise’s most notable figures from the past. And be sure to look down while walking through the concourse in right field along Eutaw Street, as little baseball plaques mark some of the furthest home runs hit during Camden Yards’ 22-year history.
Is Food Prohibited?
While hard-sided coolers, thermoses and glass are not allowed into Camden Yards, non-alcoholic beverages in plastic bottles are allowed, as well as size-specific bags. Here’s all the information.
Where To Take Your Pictures
Five years ago, this would have been a no-brainer – behind home plate. But while that’s still not a bad choice, in 2009 it became a little less of a great view. Baltimore’s most famous building, the Bromo Seltzer Tower used to help define the skyline in the outfield but in 2009, a large hotel chain came in and built a monstrous, two-block building, hiding the clock tower from fans. If you move around the stadium, you can still see it in some areas, like the outfield concourse. The best view in the place is the stands along the first baseline, down close to the foul pole, as it gives you a great perspective of both the concourse and the field of play – the same can be said for left field.
There are also several statues throughout the park, all good for a snapshot or two. Babe Ruth, a Baltimore native, can be found outside at the intersection of West Camden Street and South Eutaw Street, while Cal Ripken Jr., Frank Robinson, Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray and Jim Palmer were all honored in 2012 with statues in the Orioles Legends Park, near the outfield bullpens.
Camden Yards Attractions
As we previously mentioned, Legends Park is home to six larger-than-life statues of former Orioles greats, each between seven and eight feet tall and weighing as much as 1,500 pounds. It’s a much better use for the portion of the outfield than when it was used for pre-and-post game television analysis by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. Good choice, O’s!
For everything Orioles, your best bet is the Majestic Orioles Team Store, located in the outfield. There, you’ll find everything orange and black imaginable – or on those hot summer days, the large air conditioned facility is a good, quick way to cool off for a minute.
Where To Sit
Along the third base line, about 20 rows up, is one of the best. Behind the first base dugout is probably our choice for the best spot in Camden Yards, however.
Where To Visit Nearby
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is just a short walk from the stadium and offers a wide variety of food and shopping options. There are also plenty of sights to be seen, like Fort McHenry, the Domino Sugar Plant – with its huge light-up sign – and more. Plus, stuff for the kids.
Camden Yards’ Influence
Due to the success of Camden Yards, many other cities followed suit and built traditional-feeling asymmetrical ballparks with modern amenities. Many of the future stadiums, like Camden Yards, incorporated “retro” features in the stadium exteriors as well as interiors. Some directly influenced by Baltimore’s state-of-the-art facility include: AT&T Park, PNC Bank Park and Citizens Bank Park.
What – And Where – To Eat Inside
- All-Star Café: A marketplace-style food court which features a rotating menu of entrees and celebrates the two MLB All-Star Games hosted by the City of Baltimore.
- Boog’s BBQ: One of the originators of ballpark barbecue grub, the huge tent behind centerfield is named after former All-Star first baseman Boog Powell, who can often be found serving up this rib-sticking good food to fans.
- Crabcakes: A Maryland staple, the crab cake, along with Old Bay seasoning, is perhaps the most well known food of Baltimore – and you can find the breaded dish throughout the park.
- Dempsey’s Brew Pub: Named for Orioles Hall of Fame catcher Rick Dempsey, the Eutaw Street brew pub is open year round and features upscale American fare and specialty beers brewed on-site. And with the HD televisions inside, you won’t miss a minute of the action.
- Natty Boh Bar: If you want a taste of Baltimore, this is where you’ll find it. Named after the city’s most recognizable brew, National Bohemian Beer, the bar offers specials and random appearances by the brewery’s one-eyed mascot.
- Roof Deck: The newest destination on Eutaw Street, the deck overlooks the field on top of the batter’s eye wall in centerfield and features two rows of seats facing the field, outdoor lounge seating and a full-service bar.
- Bistro Tables: Maybe you are watching your calories? Well, then the Bistro tables might be for you. This small picnic area has tables and chairs – perfect if you brought your own eats.
Where To Party With The Locals
Baltimore has its fair share of places for before or after the game, thanks in part to the Inner Harbor as well as Little Italy, which is a long walk but well worth it. Here are the close spots:
- Pickles Pub: A Baltimore tradition, Pickles has been serving up quality beer and bar food for over 25 years and since it’s on Washington Boulevard behind left field, it’s the perfect stop right before heading into the ballpark. Don’t forget the beer battered pickles!
- Camden Pub: Located three blocks from the stadium, just off Pratt Street, this is the perfect stop for some great appetizers and a solid beer list.
- Pratt Street Ale House: A personal favorite, this ale house has all the Baltimore charm and even better food. The in-house microbrews are great, the food is delicious and it’s pretty much a huge party whenever the O’s are in town. We recommend the quesadillas.
You’re in the center of everything. There should be no problem staying at the nearby Hilton or Sheraton Inn, both of which we would definitely recommend.
What to See Locally
As we’ve said, the Inner Harbor is a must. If you want dinner after the game and like Italian, Little Italy is the place to be and then you can party it up at Power Plant Live, a hip hangout nearby, until the bars close. If art is your thing, the Baltimore Museum of Art is a decent walk away and is located just outside the beautiful campus of Johns Hopkins University. Stop by and see Duff and Charm City Cakes while you’re at it – but you’ll need an appointment to enter the premises.
Orioles Camden Yards Moment You Need To Know
Did you really think we’d choose something besides this:
What Locals Don’t Want To Hear
Fans don’t want to hear about the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, two division rivals. Often, the two teams’ fans migrate south for weekend games and try to invade Camden Yards.
Don’t wear either Red Sox or Yankees gear – and perhaps Washington Nationals stuff?
Driving in is typically pretty easy, with Interstate-95 right on the edge of the city – but it can get a little tricky if it’s a sellout. We recommend avoiding most of that by spending the night, or making a weekend out of it – you’ll be glad you did. The bus system is another good option.
Photo Credit: Getty