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Capacity: 48,876
Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Area of fair territory: 106,600 sq. ft.

Area of foul territory: Average

 

Fences: 7 ft

            RF - 25 ft

 

Elevation: 20 feet

 


TICKETING
Club Box $35
Field Box $30, $27
Lower Box $22
Left Field Club $22
Terrace Box $23, $20
Upper Box $18
Left Field Lower Box $18
Left Field Upper Box $16
Lower Reserve $16, $13
Upper Reserve $13
Left Field Upper Reserve $11
Bleachers $9
Standing Room $7
General Information

Address:
333 West Camden St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
For ticket information call (410) 685-9800

Who Plays Here: Baltimore Orioles (AL)
First Opened: April 6, 1992
Surface: Maryland Bluegrass

Architect: HOK Sport (Kansas City)
Construction: Barton Malow / Sverdrup; Danobe Construction
Owner: City of Baltimore
Cost: $100 million



Oriole Park at Camden Yards

 

 

Click to purchase from the Danbury Mint collection

 

 

History

   The date of April 6, 1992, is to baseball what July 4, 1776, was to the Enlightenment.

 

   On this date, virtually every major league stadium became dated.  The cookie-cutter, multi-purpose stadium built by local government was living on borrowed time from then on; a new age was ushered in, and self-evident truths like natural grass turf, asymmetric dimensions, baseball-only venues, seats angled towards the infield, and classical architectural touches were invoked in a grand new human experiment.

 

The thesis: As football gained power in the late 1960s and 1970s, local governments wanted to fold baseball parks and football stadia into one facility.  The trend began with RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, which at the time was hailed as a work of genius - pretty soon, the list of imitators included Milwaukee's County Stadium, Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Busch Stadium in St. Louis, the Houston AstroDome, Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, Toronto's Exhibition Stadium, Cleveland's Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia's Veteran's Stadium, and others.  Some truly were technological marvels, but all lacked character, charm, personality and warmth.

   Football demanded a greater capacity than baseball, so the sightlines were generally terrible; the seats far away from the action, and the cookie-cutter stadia ended up looking like hollowed out bowls.  With the notable exception of Busch, little effort was spent on aesthetics, with visible walking ramps and impersonal concrete facades.

 

The antithesis: Local governments though they could generate revenues by playing baseball and football in the same facility, but instead they ended depressing baseball attendance.  For instance, attendance in Oakland dropped from 2.9 million in 1990 to just 1.2 million in 1998, almost exactly where it was way back in 1973.  In Milwaukee, attendance in the late 1990s was actually down from the 1952-1957 period, when the franchise first moved to Milwaukee.  Even baseball-crazy Cincinnati has recently seen its attendance drop from the levels it maintained in 1973.

   The beginning of the revolution was Kauffman Stadium, in Kansas City, in 1973 - then known as Royals Stadium - which set into motion an evolution in thinking.  While Kansas City wanted a football stadium as well, they built one (Arrowhead) next door to a baseball-only park.  The artificial turf was an unfortunate mistake, and the cookie-cutter dimensions exhibited the deficient conventional wisdom at the time.  But at least we were on the right track - the park was beautiful, the seats were all great, and attendance spiked from 707,656 in 1972 to 1,345,341 in 1973 to 2,288,714 in 1980 to 2,477,700 in 1989.  But expansion teams didn't buy it - the Blue Jays, the Expos and the Mariners all went with the cookie-cutter multi-purpose facility.

 

   In downtown Chicago, New Comiskey Park was built in 1991, and initially at least it met with rave reviews.  It brought back the urban ballpark, and it was the first new baseball-only stadium built in the American League since Kauffman in 1973.  High-tech and full of amenities, New Comiskey set a franchise attendance record (2,934,154) in its first year.  But it still had problems: the architecture didn't reflect the brick-and-iron look of Chicago's South Side, and many of the seats were far removed from the action (especially in the upper deck, where fans are 60 feet higher than they were in Old Comiskey).

 

The synthesis: Oriole Park at Camden Yards kept what was best about the old ballparks while offering the benefits of the new parks.  It introduced asymmetry, a throwback to classic ballparks like Hilltop Park in New York, League Park in Cleveland, and Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn, and was faced with a beautiful wrought iron and brick facade to cover up the walkways, just like old stadia used to do.  It kept the amenities of the newer parks, and offered a view of the host city - a nice modern touch replicated in the new urban ballparks.  It also built the upper deck without the supports which obstruct the view in older stadia like Yankee Stadium.

 

   Camden Yards is the first of the retro parks.  A number of cities have followed suit with beautiful, traditional ballparks - Arlington, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Cleveland, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; and San Francisco, CA, for instance - but you never forget your first, do you?

 

   The success of Oriole Park at Camden Yards was inspiring; it was met with universal acclaim.  The architects (Helmuth, Obata & Kassabaum of Kansas City) had no need to configure seats for football, so they put every seat near the action and configured them to face home plate.  This seemingly innocuous detail, the sunroof over the gentle slope of the upper deck, the natural grass turf, and an asymmetrical playing field all changed the way the game is viewed and gave fans a feel for the traditional ballparks at around the turn of the century.

   Among the park's better features are the double-decked bullpens in left-center field, which are unique in the majors.  The park's ambiance is boosted by the Baltimore & Ohio Warehouse, which sits behind the right field wall.  The building is the longest on the East Coast (1,016 feet long by 51 feet wide); the warehouse was actually shut down in 1974, after being in operation since 1898, but the Orioles restored it to give the park some atmosphere.

   Babe Ruth's father ran Ruth's Cafe from 1906 to 1912 in an area that is now in right-center field, at 406 Conway Street, and Ruth himself was born just a few blocks away.  A statue of Ruth himself stands outside the ballpark, on Eutaw St. - the Bambino was born just minutes away from where the park now stands. 

     In 1992, attendance in the new ballpark reached 3,567,819, trailing only the SkyDome, which topped 4 million for the second straight year.  In 1993 and 1994, Camden Yards trailed only the SkyDome among American League ballparks in fan attendance, and from 1995 to 1998 it was the AL's top draw.  In 1998, it also topped the majors - the novelty of Coors Field had worn off by then, and attendance in the tin air of Denver stabilized in the 3.25 million range.  In 1999, Cleveland's Jacobs Field narrowly topped Camden Yards, which saw a drop-off in attendance by about 300,000 as the uninspiring team faltered to a 4th-place finish in the AL East.  The Indians romped to the AL Central title by 21 games.

 

History:  Former Baltimore mayor William Donald Schaefer became governor of Maryland in the mid-1980s, and helped push plans for a baseball-only stadium through the state legislature.  Eli Jacobs, who owned the Orioles when the ballpark was built, wanted to call it Oriole Park. Schaefer preferred Camden Yards.  Finally, they agreed on Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

 

  The 33-month construction cost over $100 million, and included the football-only PSINet Stadium at Camden Yards, right next door, where the Baltimore Ravens play.  Both stadia were financed by a new instant lottery game - another reason to cheer for this park.

 

   The ballpark placed a large number of seats around the infield, leaving with relatively few outfield seats.  Not surprisingly, the Orioles led the American League in attendance every year since 1995.  This is now the modern yardstick by which each new park is judged.


Playing Field: The field is 16-feet below street-level and is made up of Prescription Athletic Turf (PAT), a sophisticated irrigation and drainage system below a natural grass turf.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards Firsts:
Grand Opening - April 6, 1992 vs. Cleveland Indians
Pitch - Rick Sutcliffe
Batter - Kenny Lofton
Hit - Paul Sorrento
RBI - Chris Hoiles
Home run - Michael Tucker
Grand slam - Randy Milligan
Stolen base - Mark Lewis
Strikeout - Mark Whiten

 

Analysis


   The ballpark plays tough on hitters, especially in the early months of the year when the temperature is cooler.  At night, during the warm summer months, the ball carries well, especially to left field, since the prevailing winds blow from right to left.  Still, Camden Yards has suppressed run production significantly over the years.

 

Defense: The playing field is well-kept and the ball takes clean, soft, true hops here.  The infield grass is cut higher than in almost any other American League ballpark - that and the great visibility for fielders reduces errors substantially.  The outfield walls angle the ball into center field, instead of giving bounces that go back to the outfielders.  But the modest dimensions of the park and the thick grass makes their job easier.  Although the walls are asymmetrical, there aren't a lot of doubles and triples here.

 

 

 

1998-2000

2000

Error Index: 87 84
Infield-error Index: 92 90

 

Who benefits: The high grass helps infielders who don't possess great range, which is exactly who the Orioles have patrolling the infield (Delino DeShields and Cal Ripken).  This also benefits pitchers who get a lot of ground balls and who keep the ball down in the strike zone.  The park has tended to be tough on hitters, reducing batting averages and runs significantly.  The park tends to play neutral for home runs, though.

   In his last three seasons here, Mike Mussina was 24-15 at home with a 3.22 ERA, and 18-17 with a 4.02 ERA on the road.

 

Who gets hurt: The alley in right-center is further away than the alley in left-center, and the 25-foot wall in right doesn't help left-handed power hitters either.  The foul pole in right is just 318 feet away, but only extreme pull hitters can take advantage of it because the wall slips quickly away to a reasonably deep alley.  RHR have outstripped LHR by about 20% over the last three seasons.

 

 

Park Factors

 

  Run HR Avg L-Avg R-Avg L-HR R-HR H 2B 3B
1992 98 113 95 94 95 151 99 95 85 103
1993 111 116 104 110 101 83 134 106 99 84
1994 113 121 103 106 100 146 110 102 86 68
1995 103 118 103 108 98 109 126 102 104 53
1996 89 97 96 95 97 97 96 94 82 93
1997 99 121 98 97 98 110 132 96 76 39
1998 88 98 95 92 99 92 102 94 86 80
1999 96 94 99 93 103 78 110 99 79 81
2000 88 105 94 90 98 98 109 90 72 64

 

 

1998-2000

2000

Walks: 100 112
Strikeouts: 104 108

 

 

Location

 

Baltimore, MD: Left field (NNW) looks out over Camden Street; the third base side (WSW) is on Russell Street; the first base side (S SE) abuts Martin Luther King Boulevard; and right field (ENE) is on Howard Street.

 

Seating Chart

 

 


 

Dimensions

 

Left field: 333 ft.

Left-center: 364 ft.

Deepest left-center: 410 ft.

Center field: 400 ft.

Right-center: 373 ft.

Right field: 318 ft.

Backstop: 57 ft.

 

 

Fun Facts

  • Lowest run factor in AL in 2001
  • Lowest double factor in AL in 2001
  • Lowest LHB avg factor in AL in 2001
  • Highest walk factor in AL in 2000
  • Lowest double factor in AL in 1999
  • Second lowest LHR factor in AL in 1999

 

  • The playing field is 16 feet below street level.
  • Fans yell "O" (for Orioles) in unison when "The Star-Spangled Banner" reaches "O Say does that star-spangled banner yet wave..."
  • Located just two blocks from the birthplace of Babe Ruth.

 

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