Home of the Baltimore Orioles
It’s been almost a year since I reviewed a ballpark for this series, but there’s a very good reason. I hadn’t been to an MLB stadium in a very long time. Sure, I’ve been to a handful about which I haven’t written, but I didn’t want to write about Progressive Field when I hadn’t been there in five years. Well, problem solved. I just spent three days at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Camden Yards is often thought of as the first of the new “old-style” parks that open out into a city and provide the comforts of modern life. U.S Cellular Field this is not. Part of Camden’s charm, in my opinion, is it’s cozy dimensions. While the concourses are spacious and only crowded when busloads of children are dumped into them, the seating is very close to the action. I sat in the last few rows of the lower deck all three games and was never very far from the action. Some parks have lots of foul territory, which Camden does not, but they are also built on a very gentle incline to maximize seating, meaning that you can end up quite a ways from the action. Not so in Baltimore.
The stadium features a three tiered design with the lower deck also divided into two parts. I sat in the rear sections of the lower deck and the only real problem was that the upper deck hangs over pretty significantly, obstructing some of the main scoreboard and high fly balls. You still have a great view of the pitcher, plate, and all of the fielders, but you can lose things from time to time. Pretty much everywhere else in the park avoids this type of issue. Overall, as long as you know what you’re getting, the sight-lines are quite good. It actually reminds me a lot of Great American in Cincinnati as far as the shape of the thing is concerned.
The food is pretty standard with the unique options being crabcake-seafood offerings and the Boog’s sandwich station out in right field. The basic offerings were good, but unspectacular and are priced pretty much in line with the average major league park. Ticket prices were reasonable all the way around, although I picked a Mon-Wed series in May, so I can’t be sure that it’s a typical experience.
The fans were a nice mix of enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and the staff was pretty attentive and welcoming as far as those things go. In a basic sense, Camden Yards is a very standard MLB stadium. There isn’t amazing food or really impressive amenities, but from a strict game-viewing perspective, it’s quite something. It’s cozy without being crammed and looks the part of a charming stadium in the heart of an old city.
I’ve been to 8 active MLB parks (Comerica, Wrigley, US Cellular, GABP, Progressive, PNC, Nationals, Camden) and two defunct ones (Tiger Stadium and Sun Life), and I would say that Camden comes out second behind PNC. I always excluded Comerica because I can’t be objective in that case. OPACY is great place to see a game, and even better when your team sweeps the O’s.
Stadium Rater (scale 1-10): 9