Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

On July 19th, I had my first visit to Oriole Park. It was a 12:35 pm game - and it was Day Camp Day! Which meant lots of little ones in matching t-shirts - although the attendance was only 29,000 (capacity: 48,876). As Baltimore was enduring a horrendous hot spell (the previous night's game featured a game time temperature of like 105! and the game time temp on the 19th was 93 degrees), I can understand not wanting to sit in the afternoon sun. By sheer luck (when I bought the tickets, having never seen the park, I wasn't totally sure what I was buying), my seat was in Section 31 - under cover of a roof and literally right next to the door to the Press Box. Although it was great to be in the shade - there was actually a little breeze - th edown side was that the roof blocked the scoreboard and you felt a little isolated up in this little corner.

I lucked into some great parking - which I recommend highly. It was in Lot D on the far side of the M&T Bank Stadium (right next door to Oriole Park). A little bit of a walk - but had very quick easy access to Route 95.

The Park was designed by the same team that has worked on Fenway Park, and you see some similar touches. Whereas we have Yawkey Way, the O's have Eutaw Street. It's filled with shops and eateries, like Yawkey Way. And where we have RemDawg's and El Tiante's, they have Boog's BBQ - although there were no Boog sightings the day I was there. Despite living in the South, not a big BBQ fan. However, I highly recommend the All Beef Hot Dogs - I think that dog was one of the best I've ever had a ballpark. I also sampled some of the local beer - had a Backfin Pale Ale, which was quite nice. And for those who complain about prices at Fenway, the dog was $4.50, beer was $6 and waters were $3.75 each.

Here are the Bull Pens. Very cool, two-tier set up - you see the O's Pen in front, and the visitors are on the upper tier.

Of course, the main attraction for me was a chance to see Kevin Millar in action again. To my dismay, right after I settled in my seat, with beer and hot dog in hand, Millar popped out of the dugout and signed autographs for the last ten minutes before game time.8-( However, I quickly discovered that Oriole Park is filled with Sox fans even when they're not playing there. There was a family from NH behind me, and four Sox fans from Knoxville next to me! Being a Sox fan really has become a great way to make new friends!

Another attraction at the Park that day - the players out on the field during batting practice. Here's pitcher Danny Haren - yum!

Other items from my notes: there were recorded two errors by the 1st baseman on the same play! ** The team store was pretty good - very helpful staff - and there's no tax on clothing in MD. (this is surpising to me because in Tennessee EVERYTHING is taxed!) ** There are lots of ads around the park, but they're not nearly into playing "charge" every other thing ** I love that Chris Gomez' at-bat music is the theme from the "Addams Family"!

Finally, this was the first time I'd used my new camera - and I was pretty pleased with the results. A good warm up for my trip to Fenway...but you'll have to wait for details on that!


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