Ballpark's skeleton done field work starts


Welcome back to Stadium Update, the monthly feature that aims to tell Baltimore Orioles fans all there is to be told about the new Camden Yards ballpark, and one other thing.

Here are this month's highlights:

* The ballpark's steel skeleton has been erected, a major step. Now work starts on installing a couple of other steel items, the ballpark's sun screen and 15 lighting towers.

* They've started digging up the field. The playing surface will be 13 feet below street level, which means a lot of dirt (55,000 cubic yards) has to go somewhere else. Once it is shoveled out, some of the dirt will be used for landscaping around the ballpark. The rest, much of it littered with brick and other city debris, will be hauled off to landfills.

* The B&O; warehouse is getting a bath. Since October, workers have been de-gritting the building with a five-step wash, rinse, dry, wash and rinse cycle. If you've wondered why some sections of the 1,116-foot-long building look three shades lighter than the others, that's why.

For mortar-joint devotees, this morsel: Workers are grinding out old, soft mortar and repointing with new material. This means that bricks from the warehouse are unlikely to fall on heads of fans who are eating hot dogs below, or not eating hot dogs below, respectively.

* Countdown to thrills: Opening Day 1992 is 393 days away (assuming a home opener of April 7; the schedule hasn't been determined yet). If you can't wait that long, Maryland Stadium Authority chairman Herbert J. Belgrad celebrates a birthday Feb. 3, a mere 330 days away.

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