The Orioles announced some improvements/changes to Camden Yards today.
As previously reported, the Orioles will honor their six Hall of Famers with bronze statues in a picnic grove beyond the batter's eye wall in center field this year. The statues – in the likeness of Frank and Brooks Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr.,– will range from seven to eight feet in scale and weigh between 600 and 1,500 pounds each.
Maryland sculptor Antonio Tobias "Toby" Mendez created the statues and they'll be cast into bronze by Baltimore's New Arts Foundry, which did the same for the Babe Ruth and Johnny Unitas statues outside of Oriole Park and M&T Bank Stadium. Mendez has a long resume of creating public sculptures, including two of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and ones of Nolan Ryan in Arlington, Texas and Don Shula in Miami.
As part of the Oriole Park at Camden Yards' 20th anniversary, the Orioles will dedicate each statue individually at home games throughout the season. An official announcement will be made in January on specific dates, but it's likely they'll be dedicated roughly once a month with the honoree in attendance.
The statues will be unveiled in the order in which the club retired the person's specific uniform number, meaning Frank Robinson will be the first at some point in April; Brooks Robinson in May; Weaver in June; Palmer in July; Murray in August and Ripken in September.
The Orioles have made other changes to the ballpark. Here is the rest of the club's press release with the details.
In 2011, the Orioles and their concessionaire, Delaware North Sportservice, invested in an overhaul of the main concourse concessions. For 2012, the Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority are further improving the main concourse with new flooring and wall coverings. Following a trend in ballparks for a more finished look, the new flooring, which debuted last year in the lower concourse behind home plate, improves not only aesthetics but makes for easier cleaning and a less slippery surface when wet. Select Orioles design elements will be added to lower concourse walls and murals will be added to stairwells.
EUTAW STREET AND PICNIC AREA
The outfield areas of Eutaw Street and the bullpen picnic grove in center field are undergoing a major overhaul featuring the following changes in addition to the six new sculptures:
- A new outfield overlook on top of the batter’s eye wall in center field, featuring casual seating, a bar and deck seating. Any fan with a game ticket will be able to enjoy this unique vantage point to watch all or a portion of the game. This area was previously inaccessible to fans.
- New entry concessions at the north end of Eutaw Street.
- As a part of MSA’s restoration of the B&O Warehouse brick work, a replica of the original canopy will be added to the Warehouse to shelter portable concessions and additional seating, as well as fans on Eutaw Street searching for shade or to escape inclement weather.
The out-of-town scoreboard on the right field wall will be modified to reduce the height of the wall and thus improve views of the game from the Flag Court and Eutaw Street. Food service and retail in the Warehouse will also be renovated to take advantage of this improved visual connection to the playing field.
All upper deck concessions will be upgraded with new food service equipment, allowing for an expanded menu and more freshly prepared options as well as a new look, similar to what was completed on the lower level prior to the 2011 season.