Yesterday, the Baltimore Orioles announced that there would be additional upgrades and renovations to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the 2012 season and beyond.
Some changes are subtle, others are not.
From the Orioles.com site:
BALTIMORE — With 2012 being the 20th anniversary season of the famed Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the team announced on Monday a series of upgrades to improve the functionality of the stadium and pay tribute to the proud history of the franchise, most notably with a newly renovated area to honor the greatest Orioles of all time.
Larger-than-life sculptures of the Orioles’ six retired numbers and National Baseball Hall of Famers (Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr.) will be unveiled during the course of the season. The sculptures will be located in an improved bullpen picnic grove. The area, which will receive significant upgrades and additional landscaping, will be renovated to allow fans access during non-gameday hours, similar to the Orioles Hall of Fame plaques on Eutaw Street.
In addition to the sculptures, the Orioles have also planned upgrades to the main concourse, Eutaw Street, flag court and upper deck at Camden Yards. There will be a new outfield overlook on top of the batter’s eye wall in center field featuring casual seating, a bar and deck seating. Any fan with a game ticket will be able to enjoy this vantage point, which was previously inaccessible to fans, to watch all or a portion of the game.
The out-of-town scoreboard on the right-field wall will be modified to reduce the height of the wall and improve views of the game from the Flag Court and Eutaw Street, and there will also be upgraded concessions in the upper deck.
The Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority are further improving the main concourse with new flooring for next season, a move that not only is an aesthetic upgrade, but also makes for easier cleaning and is a less slippery surface when wet. Select Orioles elements will be added to lower concourse walls, and murals will be added to stairwells.
As a part of MSA’s restoration of the B&O Warehouse brick work, a replica of the original canopy will be added to the Warehouse to shelter portable concessions, additional seating, and allow fans on Eutaw Street some shade or a place to escape inclement weather.
If you want to read the entire press release, it’s here…
The addition that has myself and perhaps most fans excited will be the statues honoring six Orioles Hall of Famers – Earl Weaver, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken.
However, the one change I’m not that thrilled about is the lowering of the right field wall. Time will tell if the park will play differently, but Camden Yards is a relatively small ballpark to begin with and hopefully it doesn’t become a ridiculous bandbox like the new Yankee Stadium – though unlikely.
Also, I’ll curious to see how the new center field area looks. I don’t think Camden Yards needed it, but having a bar like/eatery seating area in ballpark – specifically in center field – seems to be the trend now.