There will be a lot new to fans when a new season of Orioles baseball at Oriole Park at Camden Yards begins next Thursday, April 6 at 3:05 p.m. when the O’s host the Yankees in their home opener.
From the field to the food and at several stops in between, there is newness all around.
Let’s start with the playing surface. Nicole Sherry, Orioles senior director, field operations, said the field was replaced in December.
“Huge project took place, completed December of 2022. We replaced the entire field. Five inches of old rootzone material came out and five inches of new 100 percent sand went in and brand new Kentucky Bluegrass sod was laid. It’s been a long offseason for the groundscrew, but we’ve got it looking great. So we’re excited,” Sherry said earlier today at Oriole Park, where the field looked spectacular.
“It was about three weeks worth of work. A lot of material brought in and hauled out. By far the biggest project we’ve had to do in my 20 years here,” she added. “This project has been in the process for a good three years. It was needed and thankful we were able to get it done.”
The field now holds 105,000 square feet of Kentucky Bluegrass and 1,500 tons of United States Golf Association certified sand. Sherry said the grass surface has been replaced a few times during her tenure, but it’s last complete renovation, such as what took place this offseason, was in the year 2000.
“I think this was the best year to do it. The playability of the surface is No. 1 and the better that we’re getting as a team, they deserve the quality surface."
The sod is from Tuckahoe Turf Farms in Hammonton, New Jersey, one of the best turf farms in the east coast. The new turf could help minimize rain delays. The grounds crew in the past has done an incredible job quickly getting the field ready after a drenching rain and now that process could become even faster and smoother.
“I think we are ready (for Opening Day). I am happy with the way everything looks,” Sherry said.
New place along Eutaw Street: The SuperBook Bar & Restaurant has replaced Dempsey’s along Eutaw Street this year and opens officially on Opening Day next week at the ballpark. Their sports betting app will go live in April.
“This is the first-ever SuperBook sports bar,” said Kristin Mackey, vice president of marketing for the company. “We’re bringing Vegas to the East Coast. It is not a retail sports betting book, so you are not going to walk inside and find a window and ticket taker. But you are going to have the ultimate sports betting experience, so we’re bringing all the majesty of what’s inside the SuperBook sportsbook at the Westgate Las Vegas here. So you will see state of the art TVs, the latest and greatest. And sports tickers, all the scores from around the league and other sports. A viewing experience for the fan.”
The bar and restaurant opens for the first time next week and for now will not be open when the Orioles are on the road. Just game days for now. There should be a further announcement with more information on this place in the coming days.
How about the food?: Levy is the Orioles new hospitality partner at Camden Yards this year. Today Levy regional chef Adam Carter showed off some of the new items they are bringing to the park for fans to purchase this year.
That includes the Big Boog pit-beef sandwich and the Bmore chicken box. It includes the Yard dog at the rooftop bar in center field which is three footlong franks on one bun with some crab dip and Old Bay on top. Also new is 1729 Pizza, named for the year Charm City was founded with hand-stretched dough and house sauce and Butcher’s Hill sandwich shop along with their signature crab pretzel and an O’s signature pretzel. For those eating healthy there will be some stands around the ballpark that feature more healthy food choices as well.
“We also will have our 410 program, 410 right it’s Baltimore,” said Carter. “At select locations around the ballpark a hot dog, pretzel, popcorn, cracker jacks and soda, all served for $4.10 each.”
The O’s-Levy partnership will kick off with the new season, when Levy’s team will welcome fans with new signature offerings highlighting the iconic tastes of Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay, upgraded technology to allow faster and frictionless check-out options, and new culinary training opportunities for up-and-coming hospitality talent.
Team store with new look: The Orioles have made some changes and upgrades to their team store as well at Oriole Park. This includes the fans' ability to use “in store customization” which allows fans to have personalized jerseys printed out. The City Connect jerseys launch date is May 22 which will be exclusive the first few days at the Orioles team store.
Eutaw Street still features the Orioles Authentics store. It features a rotating collection of MLB-authenticated, game-used, and autographed Orioles memorabilia. Fans can check at the store at the ballpark or here online. The proceeds benefits organizations in the Baltimore community via the non-profit Orioles Charitable Foundation. This includes the recently announced College Bound partnership and the club’s RBI program.
Ticket opportunity: The Orioles have added the the Pepsi Picnic Perch ticket this year. For as low as $45 dollars (can be more for select games), an individual can purchase or someone can purchase for their family or group a left field (sections 282-288) club level seat that includes food, an all inclusive opportunity in the picnic perch. It's considered a good value with both a good seat and food included. For more, see here. There is special pricing for groups of 15 or more.
O's outside food and beverage policy
Fans can bring food and non-alcoholic beverages into the park under these guidelines:
* All items must be contained in a clear approved bag.
* Only one approved bag is allowed per guest.
* Food items should resemble individual portions and not bulk quantities.
* Guests may bring in a factory-sealed, plastic, non-alcoholic beverage, no larger than 20 oz.
* Frozen water bottles are prohibited for safety purposes.
Fans can bring in one bag using these guidelines:
* Must be a clear plastic bag no larger than 12" x 6" x 12".
* Only one bag is allowed per guest.
* Fanny packs and clutch purses no larger than 5" x 7" will also be allowed.
* Medically necessary items including diaper bags are allowed.
Some pics of items discussed above and in this story are in tweets via my feed today here, here, here and here.
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