Cinnamon? Copper? Color the new ballpark undecided


Kenyan Copper is out.

Cinnamon is out.

Camden Green is in, for now.

You've now been brought totally up to date on an aspect of the Camden Yards ballpark project that has received little notice -- the color scheme.

Certain elements of the ballpark's coloring were decided months ago, and mostly in favor of shades traditional to baseball. Dark green seats. Black hand railings. Red brick detail work on the exterior of the new ballpark, for example.

Now, the pigment police -- the Baltimore Orioles and the %J Maryland Stadium Authority -- have shifted attention to the main concourse, the level at which most fans will enter the new ballpark. On a short stretch of wall along the third-base side, they're auditioning a palette of greens, beiges and off-whites. It's a mock-up of color combinations that could be used when the new ballpark is expected to open in April 1992.

The Orioles and stadium authority thought it would be a good thing to test the colors before they hauled 4,000 gallons of Kenyan Copper to the ballpark. They were right.

They've learned a lot since the colors were brushed on several weeks ago. For one, nobody likes Kenyan Copper on a ballpark wall. They're not too crazy about cinnamon, either.

"It may look great on a 2-by-2 chip, but blow it up to concourse scale and it makes a difference," said Janet Marie Smith, Orioles vice president for planning and development.

When the first colors were rejected, the painters returned with others. Though the Orioles and stadium authority still haven't agreed, Smith says, they are leaning toward "a combination of those that already have been selected" -- meaning green from the seats and steel girders and an off-white that is similar tothe tone of the precast concrete that rings the exterior of the ballpark.

You think you have troubles. The Orioles and the stadium authority also must wrestle with this decision: Should joints between the cement blocks be painted or unpainted?

Good news -- a verdict.

"We'll definitely paint them," Smith said. "It looks better; that's the primary reason."

As colors are picked, the ballpark's huge steel skeleton is nearing completion. For today, the stadium

authority has planned a "topping out" ceremony during which the final piece of structural steel will be put in place. The first steel girder was bolted in last fall.

The steel erector company, Trinity Industries, isn't through at the construction site until it completes a final task -- cleaning the grime from all the girders. Trinity plans to dispatch eight workers to Camden Yards armed with cloths, cleaning solution and elbow grease. They're expected to spend eight weeks on the cleaning assignment.

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