What the authors say: “[Oriole Park] merges the charm of a classic old-time ball yard with the comfort and convenience made possible by modernity. That [is] its genius, which may not seem so revolutionary today, but it was when it opened….”
Learned from the book:
• Although many fans just call the park Camden Yards, the full title was meant as a compromise between two groups of officials. One group preferred Oriole Park, the home of the city’s 19th -century National League team; the other group liked Camden Yards, the name of the railroad center that once occupied the site.
• The B&O warehouse, the landmark railroad building that forms the ballpark’s signature backdrop in right field, took as long to restore – three years – as it took to build the stadium.
• The Orioles offer perhaps the best behind-the-scenes ballpark tour in the majors. It lasts two hours. When the authors took it they counted 23 mentions of architect Janet Marie Smith, who went on to lead the recently completed 10-year renovation of Boston’s Fenway Park.
• Camden Yards has been such a popular destination that attendance reached the 50 million mark faster than at any other park in history. Sadly for the Orioles, the fans of visiting teams sometimes seem to outnumber (or at least out-yell) the locals. This year’s team, which is looking to snap a 14-season losing streak, has thus far generated newfound enthusiasm among the faithful.
• For reasons that aren’t clear, John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” has become the team’s popular seventh-inning anthem.