Ballpark tour starts with a home game - Oriole Park at Camden Yards - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Ballpark tour starts with a home game — Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Oriole fans weren’t able to see their team play in Baltimore—or anywhere else in 2020. That should change in 2021 and fans, even in limited numbers, hope to see the Orioles play at home.

Over the offseason, I’ll offer tips on how to see the Orioles at visitors’ parks in which they’re scheduled to play during the 2021 season.

One thing we’ve discovered is that a number of our readers aren’t from Baltimore, or have moved away from the area and still follow the Orioles. So, we’ll begin at home.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is still a marvelous place to watch baseball. Opened in 1992, it served as the gold standard for stadiums that were built after it. Two stadiums, Atlanta’s Turner Field and Texas’ Globe Life Park that were built after Oriole Park, are no longer home for the Braves and Rangers.

Ticket situation: In 2019, the Orioles had just four crowds of more than 30,000, so it’s easy to get good tickets, and they’re fairly inexpensive for many games.

In recent years, the Orioles have allowed adults who purchased upper-deck reserved tickets to add two free tickets for children 9 and under.

The most notable concession available is Boog’s Barbecue, run by former Oriole first baseman Boog Powell. Pit beef, a Baltimore specialty, ham and turkey are available, and Powell is there before most games to chat with fans and take photos.

Powell also had a stand at Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium for Grapefruit League games the past two springs.

Boog’s Barbecue is on the Eutaw Street concourse.

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Next scheduled game: Opening Day, April 8, 2021, against the Boston Red Sox

Most memorable Orioles moment: September 6, 1995, when Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s streak for consecutive games played (2,131).

Statues of Ripken, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Earl Weaver are in the left-field flag court.

What else is there to see? The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum is just a few blocks from Camden Yards at 216 Emory Street.

The museum, which has excellent exhibits on Babe Ruth, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Brooks Robinson’s heroics in the 1970 World Series.

Admission is $12, $10 for seniors and military and $6 for children between 5 and 16. During the pandemic, the museum is open on Friday, Saturday and Sundays from 10-4.

In the nearby Inner Harbor, there’s the National Aquarium and Maryland Science Center. There are four dolphins at the Aquarium. (I have a soft spot for zoos and aquariums.)

Where to stay: There are a number of hotels within blocks of the ballpark. The Hampton Inn Baltimore-Downtown Convention Center, Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor and Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor are the closest, but there are many within walking distance.

Where to eat: Baltimore has many outstanding restaurants. Here are a few of my favorites.

If you want the best crab cakes, try Koco’s Pub, which isn’t far from the site of Memorial Stadium, home of the Orioles until 1991. Jimmy’s Famous Seafood and Faidley’s Seafood make three of the best crab cakes in town. Faidley’s is in Lexington Market, a short walk north of the ballpark.

In season, if you’re looking for hard-shell crabs, the Costas Inn and Jimmy’s both have superb crabs. They’re 20-to-30 minutes away from the Inner Harbor.

If you want to try some more pit beef, Chaps Pit Beef has the best in town. It’s about a 15-minute drive from the ballpark. Warning, it’s located next to a “gentleman’s” club.

Other great places to eat are Little Italy and Fells Point, both less than 10 minutes away from the Harbor. Aldo’s and Chiaparelli’s are my two choices in Little Italy. In Fells, Point, the Thames Street Oyster House has wonderful sea food.

If you’re craving a burger, Abbey Burger Bistro has three locations. The original is in Federal Hill, a healthy walk from the ballpark. Newer locations are in Fells Point and Mt. Washington, about 15 minutes from downtown.

Former Oriole great Adam Jones has a burger named after him, the “Simply AJ10,” made of kobe beef, pepperjack, avocados, jalapeños and bacon.

Pickles Pub and Sliders are both popular pregame and postgame meeting, eating and drinking establishments located just across the street from the ballpark.

My ballpark rating: It’s a hometown call, to be sure, but Oriole Park is still my favorite ballpark because it did set the standard and still looks great after all these years

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    November 5, 2020 at 8:20 am

    My wife & I had the opportunity to take in three O’s games two yrs ago, the Hawaiian shirt give away weekend, we had an absolute blast, took the tour of Camden Yards, we’ll definitely do it again…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      November 5, 2020 at 8:58 am

      Yeah, I was at the Hawaiian Shirt give away game vs. the Angels a couple of years back. Was terribly disappointed in the fact that the only size choices were medium and large. And the large was hardly large. I’d have to lose about 80 lbs. to fit into that thing. My 5’7″ son who weighs 165 lbs benefited from my obesity that day as he got 2 shirts out of the deal! LOL

      At least I saw Trout in person …

    • CalsPals

      November 5, 2020 at 9:08 am

      Agree, they should have much bigger sizes, my son made out as well, got my shirt as I’m more portly than he…lol…go O’s…

  2. Nellie

    November 5, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Nice job, Rich. You nailed it. I believe better days are ahead for our O’s if we have the patience to stick with the new regime.

    Since you mentioned the statues and the flag court, I have a novel idea. Isn’t it about time to include Mike Mussina among this select group? He’s a hall of famer. His stats are the equal to those of Jim Palmer even though he was surrounded with far less talent. And for those that are critical of him for joining the Yankees, he did spend 10 of his 18 years in mlb with the O’s. F. Robby was only here for 6 seasons.

    I truly believe he is underrated and under appreciated. While quiet and possibly a bit standoffish, , he was all business when he walked out to the mound. Until I saw it in print the other day, I never knew that he won more gold gloves than all but 4 or 5 pitchers in mlb history. Like many of the “long timers” that follow you Rich, he just might be the last Oriole member of baseballs Hall Of Fame that we had the pleasure to see in action. Let’s put Moose out beyond left field where he belongs.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 5, 2020 at 10:59 am

      Thank you, Nellie. When the statues were built, it was stated that they were intended only for great Orioles players who were on World Series winners, which Mussina was not.

      As you know, I long championed him as a Hall of Famer, and won’t argue with your assessment of him. However, he remains a polarizing figure among many Orioles fans since his departure was volunatary. Frank Robinson was a universally beloved figure by the fans.

      I think more fans would support a statue for Adam Jones than for Mussina, but I doubt that you’ll see either any time soon.

    • TxBirdFan

      November 5, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      I’ll second that Rich! I’d support a statue of Adam Jones first – getting extra points for loyalty and community service. But I don’t disagree that Mussina should be among there eventually. I think it’s great when teams recognize past players.

      • Bancells Moustache

        November 5, 2020 at 10:19 pm

        The Orioles retired numbers all did three things; won a Series with the team, won one of the Major Awards and entered Cooperstown in the first ballot. I actually admire the Orioles having high standards for such an honor. Jones doesn’t merit a statue. Nice enough guy, and good but not great player, but hes nowhere close to the level of the giants.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          November 6, 2020 at 10:52 am

          Ditto BanMo… though I’d add that I don’t believe Moose is worthy of a statue. He’s not in Palmer’s class either.

          • Bancells Moustache

            November 6, 2020 at 12:40 pm

            He’s not. No Cy Young, no Series. Not enough. Good on the Orioles for demanding excellence in this department, if in precious few other areas

  3. Orial

    November 5, 2020 at 10:26 am

    Sadly I haven’t been there in 15 years (getting older;live in North Jersey–well that’s my excuse)but it was beautiful then and seems it now. BUT– I keep hearing in needs major work done to it to keep up with the times and the Inner Harbor isn’t a shell of what it was when I was there. Rich will/can things be accomplished(beautification/ update) in your “humble opinion”?

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 5, 2020 at 11:02 am

      Orial, once the new lease is signed, I’m sure that plans for upgrades will proceed. In the 15 years since you’ve been, they have added the center field roof deck, which many fans like.

      The Inner Harbor area has deteriorated, but many areas–Harbor East, Locust Point, Canton have become more built up in the past 15 years. Baltimore elected a new mayor, Brandon Scott, who’s a big Orioles fan this week, and it will be interesting to see what plans for development he has in mind. Obviously, Covid has hurt all cities, but particularly Baltimore.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      November 5, 2020 at 11:05 am

      Nothing wrong with that stadium as is Orial. Not sure what you’ve been hearing about “major work” needing to be done. (maybe a new video board)

      About the only major thing I’d change, is somehow move the fences back to make it a real baseball field…but that’s just about impossible.

      • Orial

        November 5, 2020 at 12:15 pm

        Now THAT I agree with Boog(OF dimemsions). I’ve been preaching that. How about back 6-8 feet and raise the fences 3-5 feet.

  4. 66OsFan

    November 5, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Oh Rich, if I had only had your knowledge of the ballparks and the area around them six years ago when I started my quest to visit all 30 MLB parks. I only have KC, St Louis, Miami, left of places I’ve never been. Will also have the new Ranger’s park and although I saw a game at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto in 1986, I have not yet been to Roger’s Centre, or the Skydome, or whatever they call that monstrosity in Toronto nowadays…..

    • bv22

      November 5, 2020 at 1:21 pm

      KC’s ballpark is out in the middle of nowhere, so plan on a long drive and paying for parking. Beautiful ballpark though and take the opportunity to go into the Royals’ Hall of Fame building in LF- it’s free during the game and definitely worth the time. After seeing that, I feel like the O’s should do the same thing with the bottom level of the Warehouse. Also, walking around the promenade, the Royals do a really good job of going through the team’s history. Food-wise, if you like bbq, I highly recommend Joe’s KC bar-b-q which you can find in an old gas station that was converted into a bbq restaurant.

      • 66OsFan

        November 5, 2020 at 5:03 pm

        BV, I usually do a full series the first time I visit a ballpark, gives me a chance to wander around and take in the ballpark and it’s nuances. KC will definitely be an extended trip as I plan on spending at least a day at the Negro Leagues museum, maybe more if needed.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 5, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      66, I’ll be going over Miami, Texas, Kansas City and Toronto. Since Orioles may not visit St. Louis until at least 2023, we may not get around to it.

      Bv, Joe’s will be on my list for K.C. along with some others.

      • 66OsFan

        November 5, 2020 at 5:05 pm

        Looking forward to them Rich, I’m figuring the KC trip will include a drive across the “Show Me” state to take in a game or two in St Louis just to knock it off the list, cause ya never know things ae going to play out!

  5. Mickraut

    November 5, 2020 at 11:26 am

    1. I agree with Boog regarding HR distance increase.
    2. It would be nice to have a physical tribute to the Os of 1894- 96. At least a bronze plaque somewhere.

    • Bancells Moustache

      November 5, 2020 at 10:21 pm

      I’ve been beating this drum for awhile. It’s absolutely criminal that Wee Willie or Muggsy McGraw isn’t acknowledged whatsoever in Camden Yards

  6. TxBirdFan

    November 5, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    I agree Rich – I’ve seen a game in about 25 ballparks, including the new Rangers stadium, and I still think OPACY is the best. It has a great old time feel but has modern amenities. And that warehouse….what a great idea that was!

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