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5 things you might not know about Camden Yards

Here are five things you might not know about Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which turns 25 this season:

1. There were many people who once wanted the warehouse — the stadium's classic right-field backdrop — demolished. "I really pushed for the warehouse," said M. J. "Jay" Brodie, former president of the Baltimore Development Corp.

But not everybody felt that way.

"John Steadman went crazy," said former Maryland Stadium Authority chairman Herb Belgrad, referring to the late Baltimore Sun sportswriter. "He thought this was an eyesore and this should be torn down."

2. Officials once considered using the warehouse as the right-field wall instead of the backdrop. That would have eliminated the Eutaw Street plaza. It would have been akin to San Diego's Petco Park, which uses the Western Metal Supply Co. warehouse as an outfield wall.

3. The stadium's name represented a compromise between the team — which favored "Oriole Park" — and former Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who wanted it called "Camden Yards" after the former rail terminal at the site operated by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. But Schaefer, who was intent on building a new stadium to make sure the Orioles didn't leave Baltimore, would have been fine with having the stadium named for him, said Alan Rifkin, who was Schaefer's chief counsel before becoming outside counsel to the Orioles.

"The ultimate irony is Camden Yards has turned out to be an iconic name," said Rifkin. "It didn't turn out to remind people of New Jersey."

4. The field is below ground. "The initial drawing, which I have in my office, was for four levels," Belgrad said. "What we wanted was a structure that was integrated into the community. It became three levels and it was excavated."

5. More than one early stadium design proposed a domed facility. Another showed a baseball-only park oriented more directly north than the current version. Alternate locations were considered — from the Memorial Stadium site to Baltimore County and from the opposite side of the warehouse to closer to Washington.

jebarker@baltsun.com

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