Baltimore – There are many reasons that I’m not as bullish on Camden Yards. First, it’s been there 23 years and has never, ever come close to replicating any of the energy, goodwill or charm that Memorial Stadium had. Part of that is no doubt due to the nasty, clueless, cowardly dolts who own and run the team. It’s not a warm and fuzzy place and has mostly sat empty over the past two decades except for the occasional Mets takeover.
As a stadium, it’s cool because of the Warehouse but the building has been knocked off so many times that you’re just as likely to think Texas, Seattle, Colorado, Atlanta are the same place. Larry Lucchino and Janet Marie Smith did everything right in building Baltimore’s crown jewel circa 1990. But there’s no replacing the “heart” of the building and at heart, Camden Yards is a mostly listless building that has never quite lived up to its initial natural beauty and allure. It was the blueprint for all of the ballparks that came in its wake and many took the model and attempted to improve upon it. Some did. Some didn’t. Some simply copycatted.
The design of the bowl was among the last designed in a way that forces you to leave the field of play when you leave your seat. Most of the newer parks leave that area open for the field can be seen from the concession area. It’s a massive improvement in the game experience.
Just two weeks ago, Mr. Angelos and sons announced that they want massive renovations to Camden Yards to “update the experience.” So, because they’ll no doubt be asking the citizens to foot the bill via demands made of the Maryland Stadium Authority, they apparently agree with me that Camden Yards is no longer a “top 10” experience in MLB. After traveling to all 30 ballparks, I can assure you they’re correct.
I like Camden Yards. I get why everyone who visits loves it and loves downtown Baltimore. But I live two blocks away and I saw that half the league has a similar if not improved version of the ballpark that launched every stadium trend on the continent.
Don’t worry: the Angelos boys will improve our beloved ballpark. I’m sure they’ll find a way to use your money to make some modest upgrades.
On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/