April 6, 1992: Oriole Park at Camden Yards Opens In Baltimore

The reviews of the Baltimore Orioles’ new home were positively giddy. “The charming new ballpark in Baltimore has Oriole fans and baseball purists chirping with delight,” declared the April 13, 1992 issue of Sports Illustrated in a story titled “A Splendid Nest.” Tim Kurkjian’s feature piece on Oriole Park was quick to positively compare it with the monstrous multi-purpose home of the Toronto Blue Jays that came equipped with an ultra-modern retractable-roof when it opened in 1989. “It’s no SkyDome,” he wrote. “It’s better—more magnificent in an understated, baseball-only, real-grass, open-air, quirky, cozy, comfortable, cool sort of way.” He continued,

It’s a real ballpark built into a real downtown of a real city. The famous Bromo Seltzer clock, a Baltimore landmark, stares in from atop the old grey tower beyond left centerfield. Looming immediately behind the right field wall is the enormous red-brick B&O Warehouse, so integral to the stadium that it has instantly joined Fenway Park’s Green Monster and Wrigley Field’s ivy-covered walls as the game’s most distinctive and distinguished architectural features.
The restored 94-year-old warehouse (it has been touted as the longest building on the East Coast) features a pub, a restaurant and a souvenir shop on its ground floor. Upstairs are the Orioles’ executive offices. Says [Oriole president Larry Lucchino], Rick Vaughn [the team’s public-relations director] never even had a window at Memorial Stadium. Now he looks out his window, sees this field and…thinks he’s gone to heaven.

Some 45,000 Oriole fans were thinking the same thing on Monday, as were many of the Baltimore players. “How can you not love this place?” said first baseman Randy Milligan.
The splendor of Oriole Park is in its character and in its details. It is built of brick and steel, not of concrete like the flying saucers that landed in too many major league cities starting about 25 years ago. Sunlight pours in not only from above, but as at Wrigley, through openings between the upper and lower decks as well. The park combines elements from the best ballparks of the early 1900s—Fenway, Wrigley, Ebbets Field, Shibe Park, Crosley Field, Forbes Field—with the high-tech amenities of the 1990s. The spectacular JumboTRON video board stands above Wrigley-style centerfield bleachers and is topped by a wonderful, old-fashioned clock and two ornithological weather vanes—orioles, of course.

This is a ballpark full of feelings, the strangest being the one you get while watching a game. As you squint in the sunlight, there is a sense that you’ve already seen a thousand games in this place.

Cal Ripken Jr. agreed the venue had a strange, unexplainable, familiar air to it. “You get the feeling this wasn’t the first game played here,” he noted. (Tim Kurkjian, “A Splendid Nest,” Sports Illustrated (online archives), April 13, 1992.)

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