Baltimore Orioles: Security concerns at Camden Yards
In my column yesterday (linked at the bottom) I talked about attendance relating to teams such as the Baltimore Orioles relocating cities. However a funny thing happened; fans on Facebook and Twitter engaged me in discussions about the Baltimore riots of 2015, and how the O’s and the city handled that situation. I would submit that perhaps the thesis of the article was misinterpreted, however it seems to be a topic that fans want to discuss…
…so let’s talk about it! I always tell people that while I refer to this as my column, in reality it’s yours. If I don’t put out content of interest to people, they won’t read. That said, first off it goes without saying that what happened in Baltimore this past spring was unfortunate across the board. Crime never pays; don’t forget that.
However some folks seemed to indicate that there were safety concerns in terms of coming to Orioles games overall at Camden Yards. My response is and has always been that the Inner Harbor is one of the safest areas of the city. Those of my generation and older will know that always wasn’t the case. But once the ballpark was built things really improved.
Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Granted there was damage and danger around the park during the riots, and some of that was done because a high-profile event such as an MLB game was going on. But for the most part most of the incidents were not around the stadium. It was mainly a West Baltimore story.
But that aside, do the Orioles themselves have any sort of responsibility when it comes to security? The answer is of course they do. They have a resonsibility to ensure that the fans are safe when they’re in the ballpark, parking lots, and/or anything involving the game itself. But what about the surrounding areas? Is there anything that the Orioles can do? Or perhaps more strongly, is there anything that they should or must do?
Mind you folks, I’m talking specifically about security here. Saying that they should install a ferris wheel for kids at Pier 4 isn’t going to cut it. However for instance, are there fans who don’t feel comfortable parking in the stadium lots? In no way am I demeaning anyone who might feel threatened, I’m just asking.
I would submit that you might consider taking the Light Rail if you don’t want to park at the ballpark. In fact, at between $3-$4 round trip, it might be more cost effective to begin with. It drops you right in front of the Warehouse – you can’t really beat that! But even still, is there more that the Orioles could be or should be doing?
I’m not exactly sure what more they could do, short of owner Peter Angeos hiring private militaristic police to clean riff-raff off the streets. But that’s where you get into who’s exactly responsible for doing this? Much like Pickles Pub, Sliders Bar & Grille, and the various hotels in the vicinity, the Orioles are nothing more than another company housed in downtown. Are they really accountable for all of the above?
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Going back to parking, there are numerous parking garages in the surrounding area to the ballpark. They all vary in price depending upon their location, however they’re also all fairly expensive. If you’re desperately looking to the Orioles to do more, perhaps they might consider buying or leasing/renting some of the closer garages to the ballpark. If they had some sort of stake in the garage or property then they might be able to manipulate the price a bit more and make it more affordable to park. Then perhaps people could use that as an option if they didn’t want to leave their cars out in the open.
However while they obviously got caught up in the story and thus became a part of it, these issues weren’t really the Orioles’ problem last year. They were in the sense that their hometown was affected for sure, but they weren’t a part of the overall story in an outward manner – for whatever that’s worth. They didn’t cause the issue, but they got caught up in it.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Don't quit on your hometown
I would also remind people that security was never a problem for the rest of the season. So my personal opinion would be that Orioles games are very safe to attend. Perhaps you feel differently, and that’s okay. However what the team itself can truly do about that is another story.