Looking out over Eutaw Street from the catwalk that connects Aramark to the Club Level of the ballpark this past weekend, I had to shake my head at the sheer smattering of red.
"I can fly here, stay in a hotel and get better seats for the same price I can see at game at Fenway," one Red Sox fan told me.
Does that make Oriole Park especially affordable or Fenway Park especially expensive? I'd say a little of both maybe.
But as the Orioles faced the Red Sox for two straight weekends, I managed to catch a Saturday game at Fenway and then at the Yard, and a few of you asked for impressions from the trip north to Boston. So I'll give a little of my take and then ask for yours...
Fenway's amazing. I'll admit that; but I've already said it doesn't beat Camden Yards for me.
There is no real upper deck at Fenway, which isn't really an advantage or disadvantage, as their ballpark holds 36,108 for a night game versus a possible 48,876 at Camden Yards.
Fans at Fenway are intense. Regardless of the inning, there aren't pockets of empty seats where fans have filtered out for a few innings, and the collective belting of "Sweet Caroline" shows how much Sox fans band together.
So it's definitely worth a trip to see it. It's history and baseball and all they represent together, but it's no Oriole Park. Consider the thought of Camden Yards packed to capacity with Orioles fans in a sea of orange and cheering the Birds to a playoff run. One day soon, you'll see that here at Oriole Park, and despite all its awe and nostalgia, I don't think Fenway at its best could overshadow Camden Yards in its glory if records and anticipation are equal.
In any case, it's your turn. I'll give you the either/or, and if you can separate your loyalties and look at the stadiums, not just as a Bird fan, but as a baseball fan, we'll see which ballpark comes out on top.
Best Backdrop: The Warehouse or the Green Monster?
Best Food: Boog's Barbeque or Fenway Franks?
Best Scoreboard Sign: The Orioles Clock and The Sun or John Hancock?
Best Fans: O's fans or Sox fans?
Best Extension of the Stadium: Eutaw Street or Yawkey Way and Brookline Avenue?
Best Mascot: The Oriole Bird or the Green Monster?
Meanest Green: Camden Green or Green Monster green?
One more fun fact:
Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Fenway Park share a common thread in how each received its name.
The Yard got its name when some involved in the stadium's construction wanted Oriole Park and others wanted to name the ballpark after the rail yards the park was built upon. The compromise gave fans Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Furthermore, the story goes that it took the media all of ten minutes to declare that "Oriole Park at Camden Yards" took up entirely too much room in an article limited to a block of space on a newspaper page. Today, fans use any of the nicknames including Oriole Park, Camden Yards, and The Yard to refer to the Orioles' stadium, but rarely the entire name at once.
The name Fenway Park was also derived from its location. Built in an area of Boston known as the Fens, then owner John Taylor supposedly said, "It's in that section of Boston, isn't it? Then call it Fenway Park." Taylor was also the man responsible for changing the club's name from the Pilgrims to the Red Sox in 1907.