Newcomers to Birdland might be surprised to learn that Camden Yards was once a mecca for all sorts of stars and personalities. Almost as soon as the downtown ballpark opened in April 1992, a steady stream of celebrities, entertainers, athletes and heads of state have made a beeline for Oriole Park to watch the Birds, chow down on Boog’s and take in the Baltimore skyline.
Rocker Joan Jett was a familiar presence in the years immediately after Camden Yards opened. Before he was a “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant, Meat Loaf stopped by to immerse himself in the retro aura and talk about his passion for Rotisserie baseball. Presidents Bill Clinton (1993, 1996) and George H.W. Bush (1993), Vice President Joe Biden (2009), first lady Michelle Obama (2010) and faux president Martin Sheen (2004) of “The West Wing” fame have thrown out first pitches. Darius Rucker, Mia Hamm, Chuck Mangione, Josh Charles, Kimmie Miessner, Dennis Miller, Gary Williams, Edward Norton, Bruce Hornsby, Branford Marsalis, Jerry Seinfeld, Rob Reiner, Stephen King, Ashley Judd, Terry LaBonte, Pat Sajak - all have graced the ballpark’s green seats.
Tom Hanks has been here, too. The Academy Award-winning actor, touring U.S. stadiums with director Ron Howard, took in a Sept. 17, 2006 game between the O’s and Oakland Athletics. Hanks got into the game, too, as this YouTube video shows:
Any Hollywood A-lister who replicates the O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheer made popular by legendary superfan WIld Bill Hagy during the team’s Memorial Stadium’s days is OK in my book, and always welcome at Camden Yards.