As a baseball fan, it’s always fun when I’m presented with the opportunity to see other professional baseball stadiums in different U.S. cities. During a stop in Baltimore, I was given a private tour of Orioles Park in Camden Yards – home of the American League Baltimore Orioles.
While you would think every stadium is pretty much the same – you’d be wrong. Everything from the views and decor to the way teams celebrate their heritage and heroes – makes each team’s stadium a new and fun experience.
Just beyond the front offices and outfield of Oriole’s Park you’ll find a statue of Babe Ruth and monuments representing players who have had their numbers retired by the club.
We were warmly greeted in the lobby of the Oriole’s main office by a jubilant security guard named Willie and later joined by Public Relations Assistant Chris Martrich who was nice enough to give us a private tour of the facility.
This particular stadium is interesting because it was the first in what’s become a long line of new baseball stadiums in America. Many of the new parks that have popped up across the country were modeled after what Baltimore created. As a result – seats are closer to the field than ever before, outfield views have unique scoreboards and most cities show off a portion of their downtown skyline.
The suite level at Orioles Park is one of the best I’ve seen – even among some of the newer stadiums I’ve visited. The floors are beautiful, it’s spacious and even the trash cans – with their unique Oriole lids made the experience fun.
The stadium offers tours to the general public – where you will see the press box, broadcast booth and get to step into the dugout and onto the field. Being a National League baseball fan – I wasn’t familiar with all of the players or particularly impressed by the team memorabilia – but, that’s simply because I don’t follow the Orioles during the year. An American League follower and certainly a team fan would be very amused by the team’s wall of fame – which interestingly enough includes die hard fans as well.
FUN FACT: A group of orioles are collectively known as a “pitch” and a “split” of orioles.
It was a brutally cold afternoon during our visit – so we only spent a few minutes on the field. It’s always amazing to me, whether I’m on the field at Busch Stadium in Saint Louis where I call home – or on a field like the one in Baltimore – the perfection of the grass. I’ve always wondered if the guys that do such an incredible job taking care of these fields have lawns at home that look like total crap. Someone should look into that.
Looking into the outfield, past the massive scoreboard you see the old B&O Railroad warehouse building where the team’s front office is located along with stores. That building was completed in 1905 and according to our tour guide Chris – is almost as tall as the Empire State Building – that is if the Empire State Building were on its side. The Warehouse holds the honor of the longest brick building in the United States – east of the Mississippi River.
Most people call the stadium Camden Yards though the official name is “Oriole’s Park at Camden Yards”. It’s part of the larger Camden Yards Sports Complex which also includes the Raven’s home stadium – M&T Bank Stadium. There’s a sports museum a short walk from the baseball stadium and a walk in opposite direction (following the logos on the sidewalk) will take you to the birthplace of Babe Ruth.
That museum, while not affiliated with the Orioles is worth checking out if you’re a die hard baseball fan, interested in the history of the game and seeing interesting, one of a kind collectibles. The neatest piece on display is a score book recording the first time Babe Ruth ever played baseball.
The Orioles organization was very kind during our visit and I appreciate them letting me enjoy some time in another great Major League Baseball stadium.