The Orioles announced this week that they’ll be making some improvements to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the 2012 season. Last year you’ll remember that the O’s changed their vendorship company from Aramark to Delaware North Sportservice; in conjunction with this move, the O’s and Delaware North invested in an overhaul of the main concourse. 2012 will see some extra structural changes to the ballpark which will make for a more enhanced gameday experience for Oriole fans.
Sculptures of Hall of Famers - All six Oriole hall of famers (Cal Ripken Jr, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, and Earl Weaver) will have sculptures of themselves unveiled throughout the 2012 season. Once unveiled, the sculptures will be located in the bullpen picnic area (which is also expected to get a bit facelift/overhaul).
Main Concourse – New flooring and wall coverings will be added throught the main concourse which will be similar to the changes that were made last year in the home plate plaza area of the stadium.
Eutaw St – Speaking for myself, what’s going on at Eutaw Street is going to be my favorite of the changes being made. The Orioles will be adding what amounts to a party deck on top of the sod farm in centerfield. This is an area that was previously not open to fans, and it will feature bar and deck seating which will allow any fan with a ticket to enjoy all or part of the game. “Party decks” are something that has become more and more popular in stadiums. Imagine sitting or standing there with a cold Natty Boh on a hot afternoon with the blonde sunshine beating down as you watch the game! New concessions will be added to the north entrance of Eutaw St, and some of the brickwork on the B & O Warehouse is being redone.
Flag Court - The out-of-town scoreboard is going to be modified so that the wall isn’t quite so high, which will give fans a better view of the game. At five foot eight, I really appreciate this!
Upper Deck – The upper level of the ballpark will be given a facelift (similar to what was done downstairs for 2011), and will get an expanded menu of food options for fans.
Aside from the hall of fame statues, I think I’m most excited about the party deck area. Nationals Park in Washington DC has something similar to that under their big scoreboard in right field. I’ve attended a few games in that stadium as well, and standing up there watching the game with a cool breeze blowing on a summer night is great fun. This is the perfect time to upgrade the ballpark as well given that it’s the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards. Hopefully O’s fans have a few things to cheer about as they look on from the party deck!
Follow me on Twitter @DomenicVadala