Baltimore, United States
Sun: 12 PM to 4:30 PM
Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles, changed baseball for the better. This is not an exaggeration. From the 1950s through the 1980s, many Major League teams were leaving their homey, character filled ballparks for sterile, O shaped, cavernous stadiums that looked the same regardless of where they were located. Philadelphia, Cincinnati, even Baltimore, had stadiums indistinguishable from the others.
Completed in 1992, Camden Yards became the first retro style ballpark in the major leagues. The contours of the stadium conformed to the surrounding urban environment. Instead of knocking down the historic B&O Warehouse behind the stadium, it was incorporated into the design. Architectural details recalled the glory days of baseball and added new amenities such as video scoreboards. Fans were able to follow the action on the field if they went to the concession stands and they found the food more diverse and a big improvement over the typical ball park hot dogs. Along with great views of the field, fans had the Baltimore skyline as their background.
The nostalgic themed ballpark was an instant success. Suddenly, every team wanted their own Camden Yards. Since 1994, 21 new stadiums have opened, from New York to San Diego, all due to this upstart ballpark in Baltimore.
While Camden Yards has not lost any of its luster, the team's string of last place finishes have not enticed fans to come to the ballpark. This is good for the traveler, as seats are usually available, even on the day of the game.
Those going to the game should stop by Boog’s BBQ pit. Run by former Oriole great Boog Powell, who is often present and cooking, the smell of ribs basting in sauce is too enticing to pass up.
The Orioles play 81 games in the ballpark from April through September. If you are there on a day without a game, you can see the stadium on a 90 minute guided tour. The tour covers the history of the ballpark and takes visitors to places that are usually off limits, such as the clubhouse, press box and luxury suites.
Both the MARC and MTA light rail have stations at Camden Yards. On game day, there are more trains available for those coming and going to the ball park.