Author & Photo credits: Beth Pollock
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Walk into Camden Yards along Eutaw Street, which turns into a festive, pedestrian-only zone at the ballpark.
When the stadium was being built, the city considered tearing down the old Baltimore & Ohio Warehouse to make room for it. Instead, the warehouse was built into the plans, and now serves as an iconic building and home to the Orioles’ offices. Ken Griffey Jr. is the only batter to have hit the side of the warehouse, doing so with a 465-foot homer in the 1993 All-Star Game Home Run Derby.
Look for the statue of Babe Ruth, who grew up in Baltimore and played for the minor league Orioles in 1914 before being traded away.
Orioles Legends Park pays tribute to six of the greatest Baltimore Orioles of all time. These statues represent first baseman Eddie Murray, pitcher Jim Palmer, shortstop Cal Ripken Jr, third baseman Brooks Robinson, outfielder Frank Robinson, and manager Earl Weaver, all in typical game form. (If you’re wondering what “game form” means for a manager, in Weaver’s case it was arguing a call. I recognized him immediately.)
Best moment in ballpark history
On Sept. 6, 1995, Cal Ripken broke the record for most consecutive games played, previously held by Lou Gehrig at 2130 games. Unlike most records, the date was known in advance, and so even casual fans tuned in to watch history being made.
The crowd went wild when the Orioles took the field, when Ripken had his first at-bat, and when he hit a home run in the 4th inning to give the Orioles a lead. But the highlight came when the game became official after the bottom of the fifth inning, and the scoreboard in the outfield keeping track of his games flipped to 2131. The humble Ripken would have been content to doff his hat and go on to play the sixth inning, but his teammates pushed him onto the field to take in the crowd’s cheers. Even non-Baltimore fans got goose bumps as we watched him run a lap around the field, high-fiving fans as he went.
Inside the stadium, local options include Polock Johnny’s (a Baltimore original that serves Polish sausages), and Boardwalk Fries, an iconic Maryland institution.
If you’re looking for a full meal, you can get it at one of two restaurants owned by former Orioles. Boog’s BBQ, owned by former Oriole first baseman Boog Powell, has been open since Camden Yards opened. Boog’s offers beef, pork or turkey sandwiches with his signature barbecue sauce. On some game days, Powell greets his customers and signs autographs outside the stand.
1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey is one of the owners of Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant. The pub serves burgers, pulled pork, crab cake sandwiches and more. Try one of the local beers on the menu, like Heavy Seas’ Loose Cannon, or Flying Dog’s The Truth.
The Orioles Retro Talking Alarm clock, with a wake-up call by play-by-play announcer Joe Angel. I brought this back for my husband (an ardent Jays’ fan) and he loved it.
The ballpark is two blocks from the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, and just over a ten-minute walk from the Inner Harbor.
Where to stay
You can’t do better than the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel, a short walk from the ballpark. It’s worth upgrading to a Harborview guest room for an up-close view of the harbor, and a cozy window seat from which to enjoy it.