It’s hard to believe Camden Yards has been around since 1992. I can still recall driving past the construction site as the stadium rose where the B&O Railroad yards used to be, the protestations of politicians who insisted a downtown stadium was pure folly and my first glimpse of the new ballpark on a mid-winter’s day when mini-plan holders were invited down to see where their new seats would be.
Mine were in the upper deck in Section 324, three rows from the top of the stadium, looking right down the third base line. That’s the afternoon, as bitter winds whipped around us, that I made a bet with one of my pals. He claimed that sluggers would easily reach the upper deck in left field (we both agreed the warehouse would be a more difficult poke). I suggested that those shots to the third deck in left would be far less commonplace than he thought. After some back and forth, we agreed on a $10 a year wager. I’m still waiting for my payoff - and for the first upper deck homer in left (though Anaheim’s Rex Hudler and the Orioles’ Mark Reynolds have reached the club level in left).
There have been a lot of memories since Camden Yards opened, and the Orioles, in conjunction with MLB Advanced Media, have launched CamdenYards20.com, a Web site to commemorate what is, according to their trademarked phrase, The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball.
Peek into the past and behind the scenes to see the park that has been often imitated but never duplicated. You can see videos of opening day 1992, a written history of the venue and its improvements and photo galleries of ballpark construction and celebrity visitors. One of the highlights is the Eutaw Street Home Run Tracker, an interactive map featuring details and videos of all longballs that have landed on Eutaw Street since the ballpark opened. (For the record, Matthew Taylor of Roar From 34 has been doing yeoman’s work for years, chronicling those Eutaw Street shots on the aptly named Eutaw Street Chronicles.)
The O’s want you to tweet about your Camden Yards memories, and you’re encouraged to use the hashtag #CamdenYards20 throughout the 20th anniversary season on Twitter. The site will collect tweets, aggregate them and display them on the front page.
Check back on the site frequently, as new features will be added regularly in coming weeks and months, including interviews with the architects who designed Camden Yards, an interactive timeline of events from the past two decades, special ticket offers and the Camden Yards Classics Countdown, an unveiling of the 20 most exciting games in Oriole Park history.