Friday, August 15, 2008

50 Million Orioles Fans Can't Be Wrong

Time to celebrate a milestone at Camden Yards:

When Camden Yards opened its doors on April 6, 1992, the Orioles knew their ballpark marked the start of a new era in baseball stadiums. Incorporated into the downtown area, Camden Yards began a revitalization process for the Inner Harbor that has led to a massive transformation of the waterfront in Baltimore.

Seventeen seasons later, the Orioles are now receiving the ultimate affirmation on the importance and popularity of their ballpark as they get set to welcome the 50 millionth fan in Oriole Park history -- the fastest ballpark in the history of baseball to reach such a milestone.
Of course, a good 30 million of them were visiting Yankees and Red Sox fans, but butts in the seats are butts in the seats.


tadthebad said...

"Incorporated into the downtown area, Camden Yards began a revitalization process for the Inner Harbor that has led to a massive transformation of the waterfront in Baltimore."

Is this the rare example of a stadium actually bringing economic benefit to a city?

tHeMARksMiTh said...

It was written by an gopher, so don't believe all of it without any further proof. Man, that sounded cynical. Oh well.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Someone else who knows Baltimore more than me can chime in here, but I think that it's more accurate to say that Camden Yards was but a part of a larger revitalization project -- even if it was the most visable part -- rather than the spur for growth and renewal in and of itself.

And even with that, the Inner Harbor is a but a small part of a large city which, if I may say, hasn't exactly been uplifted by stadium development.

tadthebad said...

That is what I suspected, CC. We're talking about the setting of "The Wire" after all, right?

Anonymous said...

Man, all anybody thinks of when they think Baltimore anymore is "The Wire" great as that show is (and it is really great), it's getting almost annoying that that is the only thing anybody has to say about Baltimore anymore.

The downtown Inner Harbor Camden Yards area of the city is as pleasant a place to be as anywhere, and that that part of the city used to be rotting warehouses and empty piers is the testament to the revitalization of the area more than the rest of its city problems (crime, homelessness, etc.)

AooR said...

Craig, how did it go from an article reference about Camden Yards being the first to 50 million fans, and how its still a nice stadium, all the way to the cynical "Well, it was mostly Yankee fans" and finally down to "Oh, and Baltimore is a shit place to be."


Craig Calcaterra said...

Aoor: um, natural conversation flow among people and the simple fact that the world is a place of blurry lines and ambiguities? Please tell me which of these assertions are wrong:

1. Camden Yards is nice park.

2. It is a popular stadium that has drawn a lot of people.

3. As has been often noted in recent years, Camden Yards has been a place where fans of other east coast teams (i.e. Boston and New York) can more easily and cheaply get tickets to see their teams, thus creating a phenomenon -- distressing to Orioles fans -- of the park seemingly being taken over by fans of the visiting teams;

4. While often cited as a revitilization engine, it really is only part of the Inner Harbor's revitilization, and the Inner Harbor revitilization is only a part of Baltimore.

5. Despite the fact that many people -- myself included -- love the vibe, culture, food, and other things about the town -- Baltimore remains a largely depressed city with a very high crime rate.

6. The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street takes place in Balitmore. Many people only know Baltimore through Homicide and/or the Wire.

I'm sorry if I and the commenters have failed to promote the city the way the Chamber of Commerce would like.

tadthebad said...

Truth be told, I've never watched one episode of "The Wire"; I simply relied on the reports of friends that 1) it's a great show, and 2) it's set in Baltimore.

It strikes me as almost not right that Baltimore is a city with a high crime rate...I mean, to me, the name "Baltimore" sounds like it should be a cheery, happy place. Are the Orioles that depressing? Are people just too crabby? Thanks, I'll be here all week.

AooR said...

Oh, well, I didn't mean to offend at all; I'm just full of angst about Baltimore I guess. Sorry.

It is a genuine thought though that the revitalization that took over the Inner Harbor s really impressive - the fact that that happened 30 years ago and then nothing else happened to help the city out shouldn't necessarily take away from the accomplishment I don't think. A good baseball team for a change would certainly help things, though. Most nights are empty around there unless there's a popular opponent in town.

But - Camden Yards is still a great place to be and probably one of the things that still draw people into the city for a visit.

Alex said...

Do you think they'll be able to identify exactly who the 50,000,000th fan is? Will there be balloons and confetti when he walks through the turnstile? Will it be like an obnoxious blinking banner ad? I think I better start going to O's games for a while.

rob said...

I think I read somewhere that the Camden Yards project, while transforming the inner harbor, still cost the state of Maryland boatloads of money that was not made back as predicted.

So it's a bit overstating the case that Camden Yards actually brought economic benefit to the city, because it was really massive public spending that made it all happen anyway.

Sean said...

Let this be a lesson to all cities: do not hire, develop or succor a writing talent like David Simon. The writer will only turn on you, and use your faults against you. Sure, you may be like most other cities, with your failing schools and high levels of drug-related violence, but you have something special and you will pay for it dearly.

bigcatasroma said...

Any time I read something about the park in Baltimore, San Fran or Seattle, I remember how the city of Phila-frakin-delphia F****ED UP!!!!! putting their new stadium in South Philadelphia instead of either near the center, on the water, or over by UPenn & Franklin Field/Palestra area. It just P****S me off so much I can't take it!!!~

Rob said...

I never realized how personally the residents of Charm City took The Wire. Trust me, any time you get flack about your hometown, just point to Detroit. They're pretty much going through the fourth season of The Wire right now.