The night time drive from Boston to Baltimore took 8 hours and we went straight to the NBC studios for a 7:30 am interview. We then headed over to our third stadium of the trip, Camden Yards. We found a parking lot two blocks from the stadium and scored a sweet deal, an unheard of $12.00 for parking. As were walking to the “place to be” before the game, we passed a couple of, what looked to be, cool bars. Outside seating, overhanging Flatscreens, Enticing signs claiming “Cheap ass drinks.” The only problem, they were all empty. Was this really a game day? Did we screw up our schedule? Nope, this was just “Birdland.”
From what we heard the “place to be” before a game was Washington St. When we got there, surrounded by enormous chain hotels, were two bars stretching across a whole block. Both offered outdoor seating, loud music, and enough energy drink banners to decorate the entire COED office. Basically spring break Sunday funday at Camden. Unfortunately it looked like these premier bars were suffering from the same epidemic as the rest. No fans. Sliders and Pickles are the two bars that matter, or even worth mentioning at all. Sliders looked like a cool place to hang before a game. Nothing showy, just a bar looking for a friend. Pickles Pub, however looked as if there was a nuclear war and this place was Baltimore’s only bomb shelter. Finally a sign of life. The bar was packed with all kinds of Oriole fans, and offered local Maryland beer on tap for an affordable price. Advantage Pickles. Next to the bar were booths where most of the family crowd sat comfortably. The feature food at this spot is a basket of beer-battered fried pickles. Definitely worth a try. Outside the bar is an island of street venders selling the best fo the best heart attack specials, and one tiny fresh fruit stand. The aroma would make Bobby Flay shed a single tear.
After the food pheromones wore off, we snapped back into ghostly town reality. It was 12:55 pm and first pitch was at 1:30. It was sad to see one of the most aesthetically pleasing stadiums lose some of our respect due to the fact their fans don’t show up. This would later turn out to be a blessing in disguise. After a quick lap, we noticed the stadium has everything a guy could ask for at a top notch ballpark, without a bad seat in the house. Believe us, we would know after being royally welcomed to sit wherever we decided to squat (including the first row, behind home plate). The outfield features a perfect bleacher section and a very respectable ivy wall outside center field. The B&O Warehouse in right field, which was originally going to be torn down to make way for the stadium, was preserved and assimilated into the design of Camden Yards. A combination of this and the traditional forest green seats gives Oriole Park a modern look that also pays homage to the historic aesthetic of the older parks. The park is a masterpiece. With an outfield view of downtown Baltimore, it’s the quintessential stadium that every ball park should model itself after.
We heard Yewtah St. is the largest fan attraction, dividing the Warehouse and right field, and obviously we decided to check out the hype. The concrete floor is cascaded with bronze baseball plaques, pinpointing the location of all the homerun balls smashed long enough to land on the street. The two furthest had Ken Griffey Jrs name embedded on them. The furthest was on the Warehouse wall. Booqs on Yewtah seemed like the unanimous Twitter based decision for feature food. They offered three selections of BBQ pork, turkey and beef which lived up to everything our Twitter recommenders promised.
As we walked back past all the empty sections to our squatted home plate seats, that hadn’t been taken in three innings, you couldn’t help think of Major League. The stadium was a perfect example of aesthetics vs. atmosphere. It had been drained of fans so bad by the 10- 1 Blue Jay blowout. Orioles aside, Orioles Park at Camden Yards is a great place to visit…plus there’s always the “cheap ass beers”.
Camden Yards Ratings
The rating system is based on a scale of 1 to 5 Juan Samuel baseball cards. 1 Juan Samuel baseball card is a lowest rating and 5 Juan Samuel baseball card is the highest rating.
7th Inning Tradition
Boogs BBQ – $9
16oz Beer Prices
Bathroom Line at Bottom of the 4th Inning
Signature Player Chant
“OH!” during the Star Spangled Banner
Note: these were the only two bars worth mentioning.
Note: You can literally buy the worst tickets possible and move down to the best seats in the house with no problem by the 2nd inning.