Finally, after seemingly months of discussion about the amount of people at Camden Yards each day, we can cross the actual stadium off the list of blame-worthy parties.
In their annual rankings released this week, Stadium Journey named the Orioles' ballpark the best in baseball. This is the third straight season Camden Yards has won that honor from the site, which travels to each major league park and rates on aspects such as concessions, atmosphere, the surrounding area, the fans in attendance, accessibility and cost.
He wrote: "So what is the secret to the Orioles success? They knew how to build a ballpark unlike any other stadium at the time. Instead of tearing down the surrounding neighborhood, they embraced it and incorporated it into the stadium design. In the years since Camden Yards was built the Orioles have concentrated on every element of the fan experience by constantly upgrading the concession offerings, creating special promotions celebrating the diversity of Baltimore's population and making customer service the first priority for its game day staff.
"Other elements that kept the Orioles rating at the top are the extras surrounding the park, as both Babe Ruth's childhood home and the Inner Harbor entertainment and restaurant district are within walking distance of the park. Accessibility is another factor that rated highly with both our reviewers and the fans who submitted opinions on the MLB parks."
All reasonable, though the Inner Harbor being listed as a real asset is more for out-of-town tourists visiting the park. Camden Yards itself doesn't look like it will be turning 25, and nothing about the game experience feels old-fashioned.
And with the stadium crossed off the list as to why the Orioles saw attendance fall from an average of 29,384 in 2015 to 26,819 this year, we're left with the usual culprits settled upon in September: weather, school nights, "winning" fatigue, unease in the wake of the unrest after Freddie Gray's death, tickets not going on sale early enough, and who knows what else.