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Top ten things to do around Camden Yards
Since its opening in 1992, Oriole Park at Camden Yards has been a model to other cities' baseball parks. Most of the new ballparks built since 1992 have copied its retro look and feel. When you come to Oriole Park, make sure that you see the best it has to offer. The following are the top ten things to do while you are there:1. Get a picture with the Babe
When you first get to the ballpark, go to the Eutaw Street entrance. There you will see a statue of Babe Ruth. You may ask yourself, "Why do the Orioles have a statue of a guy who was mostly famous for being a Yankee?" Well, it's because the Babe was born and raised in Baltimore not too far from Camden Yards. (In fact his father had in saloon in what is now centerfield.) You may notice that the statue depicts Babe Ruth with a right handers glove even though Babe was a lefty. Is this a mistake? No, back in the days when the Babe played for St. Mary’s Industrial School in Baltimore, they didn't have left-handed gloves.
2. Count the numbers
Next to the statue of Babe Ruth, you will see the numbers 4, 5, 20, 22, and 33. What's so important about these numbers? They were the numbers worn by Earl Weaver, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, and Eddie Murray. Their numbers have been retired by the Orioles.
3. See the home runs hit on Eutaw Street
After walking into Camden Yards at the Eutaw Street entrance, keep your head down. That's right. As you walk straight along the Warehouse, you will begin to notice baseball plaques embedded in the walkway with names and dates on them. You will see several with Rafael Palmeiro on them. Why are these here? They mark where home runs were hit on Eutaw Street. You will see several of them past rightfield. Look for the one on the wall past the Orioles Store. The plaque marks the spot where Ken Griffey, Jr., hit the Warehouse during the 1993 Home Run Hitting Contest during the All-Star game played here. (No one has ever hit the Warehouse during a game.)
4. Sample some Boog's Barbeque
After eyeing the baseballs, follow the smoke to Boog's Barbeque. A Camden Yards staple, Boog's Barbeque is headed by Boog Powell, a former first baseman who played with the Orioles from 1961-1974 and led them to 3 straight World Series appearances from 1969-1971. Get in line early. Not only will you get a great barbeque sandwich. You may actually get to meet Boog himself.
5. See where history was made
When you get inside the stadium, take a gander towards left field and the bleachers. You may notice two seats that are different colors than the others. The one in left field (Section 86, Row FF, Seat 10) is red and marks the spot where Cal Ripken hit home run number 278 in 1993, breaking Ernie Banks' record for most home runs hit by a shortstop. In 1995, when Cal played in consecutive game number 2130, tying Lou Gherig's record, he hit a home run to this exact spot again. Over in the bleachers, there is an orange seat (Section 96, Row D, Seat 23) that marks the spot Eddie Murray hit home run number 500 during his second stint with the Orioles. Eddie hit the home run on September 6, 1996, exactly 1 year after Cal Ripken played in his 2131st consecutive game.
6. Sing the National Anthem
Before every Major League Baseball game, the National Anthem is played. So what is so special about singing it at Oriole Park? Well, for one, Baltimore is the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner. It was written by Francis Scott Key at Fort McHenry. However, the most unique thing about singing the National Anthem in Baltimore is when the crowd gets to the verse "O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave;" the "O" is emphasized by the "O"riole fans.
7. Look for the Shaky Lemonade Guy
When you sit down in your seat after singing the National Anthem, you may notice one of the vendors having what appears to be a seizure. Don't be alarmed. It is just the Shaky Lemonade Guy. Look for him in the lower box seats around the first base side. You will never think about lemonade the same way again!
8. Spell out the name of the team
The Orioles have a mascot, the Oriole Bird, who makes his way around the park leading the faithful in cheers. If he never makes it to your section, stand up, turn around, and lead the fans in your section to the Orioles Cheer: O-R-I-O-L-E-S...Orioles!!
9. Sing "Thank God I'm a Country Boy"
In the middle of the 7th inning, stand up and sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," a staple at many ballparks during the 7th inning stretch. When you are done singing that song, start tapping your foot to John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy." It has been sung during the 7th inning since 1975. Why? The wife of former Gold Glove winner Mark Belanger suggested it to the Orioles when they were looking to replace the organ version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." The song stuck, and, despite ownership attempts to stop playing the song, it remains an Oriole classic.
10. Where Cal played
There are many things about Camden Yards that are unique, but the greatest of them all is: It is the place where Cal Ripken played. He is only one of two Orioles who have played in Oriole Park since its opening in 1992 (the other is Brady Anderson). He broke Ernie Banks' record for most home runs by a shortstop in 1993 here. He started the All Star Game here in 1993. He tied and broke Lou Gerhig's consecutive game streak here in 1995. He played in the playoffs in 1996 and 1997 here. He ended the Streak in 1998 here. He starting playing at shortstop here and then third base. He has been an inspiration to other ballplayers and to baseball fans everywhere since 1981. While you are at Oriole Park, after you have taken in all of the other sights, take in the sight that one day will find its way in the Hall of Fame.
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