Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Oriole Park at Camden Yards West Camden St Baltimore, MD 21230
Year Opened: 1992 Capacity: 48,876
“O” Say Can You See
Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in 1992 and has been considered one of the best Major League Baseball stadiums in the league. Before its opening the landscape of professional baseball was littered with boring, multipurpose bowl stadiums. Now nearly every team has a great baseball stadium. Luckily Oriole Park has kept up with the experiences. Out were lackluster parks and in were fan-friendly stadiums that were designed for the optimum fan experience. If Baltimore had built a standard, boring facility, baseball may not look and feel the way it does now.
The current Baltimore Orioles began in 1954 when the St. Louis Browns moved to town. The Orioles had a very successful run at the well-loved Memorial Stadium. When it was obvious that Memorial was ending its usable life the current ballpark came into focus.
The Orioles have been world champions three times (1966, 1970, and 1983) and have won the AL pennants seven times. Famous players have included the likes of Roberto Alomar, Luis Aparicio, Reggie Jackson, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken, Jr., Brooks Robinson, and Frank Robinson while Earl Weaver may always be the most beloved manager in team history.
Food & Beverage 4
There is quite a variety of food offerings at Oriole Park, although it seems more limited than in previous years. There has been a change of food companies this year and we have heard rumors of offerings not being as good as in the past. We didn't see the quality being lowered but it is something to think about and we will also update if we discover more on this front.
Prices are not cheap, but not entirely unreasonable either. Hot dogs are an example of this. The basic dog available throughout the park is around $6. Spend just a few cents more than that and get a beer-soaked bratwurst.
Boog’s BBQ is the biggest draw. Located on the iconic Eutaw Street section of the ballpark, the stand is run by Orioles legend Boog Powell. You get a good amount for the price. If you are lucky Boog himself will be on hand to serve up your meal.
Dempsey’s Brewpub which was located inside the warehouse itself has been replaced by the Superbook Bar.
Prices do need to get lower to stay with the current trend of lowered concession prices.
The only real major problem with the park is that the concourse is not within sight of the field. It has a more traditional concourse located behind the stands. When you start trends, you do expect that some things will have been tweaked by the ones to come after. It is still a great area for wandering and you never seem out of the game experience due to ever-present television monitors and game play-by-play announcements.
The Star-Spangled Banner was written very close to where the stadium is located. The Orioles fans commemorate this and their love of the home team by shouting a loud “O!!!!!!” during the appropriate spot during the anthem. In other places, this would seem to be disrespectful, but in Baltimore, it shows the love of the country and the team. If you hear that yell at other parks throughout the country rest assured that there is a Baltimore fan in the house.
A very unique Baltimore tradition is the playing of John Denver’s 1974 classic song, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” during the seventh-inning stretch. It all started a couple of years after it was released when the Orioles were trying to add pop music into the lineup. For some reason, the song stuck. Even when then-owner Eli Jacobs tried to change songs during the late 1980s, the fans demanded it back. The traditional “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is played as a warmup to ‘Country Boy.’ Many a local fan still talks about Denver’s surprise September 1997 visit when he appeared on top of the dugout mouthing the song’s lyrics. He was in town for a concert at the nearby Baltimore Arena and decided to pop over. Sadly he died in a plane crash less than a month later.
The expanded Kids Zone is becoming a nice, popular feature.
The ratings should be higher here, but the city has some issues that fans need to keep in mind before heading to the game. Baltimore is and has always been, an urban environment where you should make sure you are aware of your surroundings. Use common sense and all will be fine and you will have a great time.
Closest to the stadium is Pickles Pub. This is a fun place to go pre and post-game but be forewarned that they are busy and loud. It might be better to find other options in the Harbor East neighborhood for a more relaxed experience.
The Inner Harbor is a popular tourist destination and is a short walk from Camden Yards. There are numerous options here but it will be expensive and more touristy.
Another option is nearby Federal Hill. There are a few fun restaurants and bars here. Abbey Burger Bistro is one great choice and there is also a location in Fells Point. The beer selection is good and they offer a dizzying array of burger choices, all that is likely to satisfy.
Another choice is just south of Oriole Park, the Horseshoe Casino. If you are the gambling type, this Harrah owned gaming establishment has a nice variety of dining and drinking spots. There is even a large parking garage offering deals for game day parking as well.
Baltimore is home to many touristy attractions, such as Harborplace, Fells Point, and Fort McHenry. The American Visionary Art Museum on Key Highway is located on the way to Fort McHenry and should not be missed, although its unique collection will not be for everyone.
Fans looking to get a taste of Baltimore sports history should also take time to visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace.
The team has been faring better and the atmosphere is lively and fun again. The fans have always been strong but a string of mediocre management has not helped with consistency. The ownership situation is still a mess but as long as the management stays as is, expect the fans to respond with positivity.
There is a very knowledgeable fan base at an Orioles game. People tend to make the game a family outing. But that does not mean these are not active fans. It is the kind of place where you will see a parent training their young children on the ins and outs of the game, as well as the history of Robinson, Robinson, Palmer, and Ripken.
Fans cheer when they need to and support at all the right times. It is not a place where you will see a lot of booing, although at a Yankees game you just never know.
Oriole Park is extremely close to I-95, with only a couple of turns putting you on the highway home. Parking garages can be found in all directions from the stadium. Street parking is not a great option. Parking near the Inner Harbor is a good option. Check websites and apps such as SpotHero to find bargains that are a pretty close walk away.
If you’re not driving to the game, the other primary mode of access is the MTA Light Rail. From points north and south of downtown Baltimore, you can take the train to the ballpark.
The Light Rail is slow, so make sure you know that beforehand.
Return on Investment 5
Prices are generally pretty reasonable, although they do vary by the opponent.
The ticket aftermarket is always a good bet here. Prices can be found at a very reasonable rate for almost all games, except for maybe the Red Sox and Yankees.
Babe Ruth was born here in Baltimore and his childhood home is mere blocks away. He attended school at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys nearby and actually spent time on the very spot of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The B&O Warehouse is not an architectural creation just for the stadium. It opened in 1899 and served as merchandise storage and a distribution center for the nearby railroad. Camden Station is also adjacent and is one of the longest continuously operated train terminals in the United States.
The Orioles in recent years rearranged the center field fan experience and added a statue garden of Oriole greats. This area also makes it easier for fans to walk entirely around the whole stadium.
Eutaw Street itself offers a great experience for fans. Not just great food options, but it offers great people-watching, retail experiences, and great field views from the flag court, located above the right field scoreboard.
A cool feature can be seen in some of the open stairwells. Lyrics to Orioles songs such as “Orioles Magic” and the aforementioned “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” can be found on the walls.
Oriole Park is still one of the most beautiful stadiums in Major League Baseball and does not show much age.