Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Home of the Baltimore Orioles
Experience the Park Oriole Park at Camden Yards Fan Guide
Soak up the Scene
Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened to the public in 1992, and demand for season tickets and private suites was overwhelming, with corporations clamoring for tickets to entertain their customers. The packed stands at this new ‘throw-back’ ballpark was the story of baseball.
But to many Orioles’ fans, the team had traded the loud, rowdy, blue-collar crowd of Memorial Stadium for the schmoozy, ‘Chardonnay’ set. OPCY became the place to be seen, and while attendance was at an all-time high, some die-hard fans felt the character of the crowd was at an all time low.
But lest we not forget, “what goes up must come down.” The once-proud franchise suffered through ten years of losing baseball. The corporate business dried up, the #1 fan attraction, Cal Ripken Jr., retired and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2007, and the Washington, D.C. fans started going to see their own team, the Nationals, in their own new ballpark. Baltimore’s attendance plummeted from a high of 3.68 million in 1998 to 2.2 million in 2007.
Yet, youth springs eternal. The Orioles appear to have halted the slide with the addition of some key acquisitions beginning with General Manager Andy MacPhail, field Manager Dave Trembley, and a host of young, aggressive players whose stars are beginning to rise. With a reinvigorated baseball team, the Orioles are attracting a younger, spirited, louder group of fans. OPCY may be only one-third full, but they make more noise than a stadium full of corporate-types. “Lets go O’s” is a familiar crowd chant that is not cued and scripted by the scoreboard.
Some of the other traditions that have become part of the OPCY experience are …
• When coming to a game, the spot to rendezvous with your friends is at the statue of Babe Ruth on Eutaw Street. “I’ll meet you at Babe” is understood by an O’s fan. Ruth never played for the O’s but grew up nearby in an orphanage.
• The Eutaw Street Plaza is a public walkway located adjacent to the massive B&O Warehouse, which sits beyond right field. Fans can stroll leisurely through the plaza, sampling the cuisine, checking out the brass plaques of home runs hit onto the plaza, or taking in the atmosphere before an Orioles game.
• Performers who sing the Star Spangled Banner are warned that the crowd will bellow “OH!” during the last stanza of the National Anthem. And since 1975, the Orioles have played “Country Boy” during the seventh-inning stretch. Some owners (Eli Jacobs) tried to kill it, but it never seems to go away. “Thank God I’m a country boy…”
• Do not be frightened by the local Baltimore accent. “Howz ‘bout dem Oze” is a phrase expressing approval of the Orioles from the local “Baltimorons.”
• Red Sox Nation has renamed OPCY “Fenway south.” There are lots of Red Sox (and Yankee) fans who live in the Washington, D.C. area, and they have always turned up in big numbers at Oriole games. And as the Baltimore fan base withered over the last decade, they have taken over; Boston and New York fans felt a trip to OPCY was a home game. This tradition seems to have peaked, though, for the reasons mentioned above … a spunky new breed of Baltimore fan that’s calling OPCY home now.