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Posted: Tuesday September 12, 2006 11:06AM; Updated: Wednesday September 13, 2006 3:54PM
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Baltimore Orioles
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Baltimore, Md. :: Opened: 1992 :: Capacity: 48,876
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Average Ticket Price: $22.53
 
Average Cost of Concessions and Souvenirs: $69.00
How expensive is stadium parking?
• FREE: 4%
• $5-$10: 32%
• $10-$15: 28%
• $15-$20: 15%
• More than $20: 6%

Is public transportation a viable option?
• Never: 16%
• Worth it if you have a lot of time and patience: 31%
• A good option to avoid rush hour: 15%
• Pretty easy if you know the system well: 31%
• The only way to go: 5%

How would you rate traffic getting to and from the game?
To the game:
• A slow-moving parking lot: 6%
• Slow, but usually steady: 20%
• Moves well outside of rush hour: 33%
• Aside from the occasional bottleneck, it's good: 32%
• A smooth ride at all times: 5%

From the game:
• A slow-moving parking lot: 9%
• Slow, but usually steady: 25%
• Moves well outside of rush hour: 21%
• Aside from the occasional bottleneck, it's good: 34%
• A smooth ride at all times: 8%


How would you rate the number of restrooms for men and women?
• Bring a map: 1%
• It depends on your section: 4%
• Never more than a short walk away: 22%
• A satisfactory amount: 22%
• Plenty: 37%

How long is the wait to use a bathroom?
• Always available: 56%
• 1-5 minutes: 40%
• 5-10 minutes: 1%
• More than 10 minutes: 1%

How would you rate the variety of food/beer concession options?
• Limp hot dogs, bland peanuts, even blander beer: 2%
• Nothing fancy, but the staple foods are tasty: 6%
• A little variety of food and drinks available at specific locations: 19%
• A nice variety but locations are spread out: 37%
• You name it, they have it around almost every corner: 33%

How much will a meal at the ballpark cost you?
• $5-$10: 15%
• $10-$20: 68%
• $20-$30: 12%
• $30-$40: 1%
• More than $40: 1%

How would you rate the entertainment options aside from the game?
• Nonexistent: 5%
• So many games/promotions and scoreboard highlights that the game is lost in the background: 1%
• Typical mascot antics/scoreboard quizzes and fun music: 54%
• Some unique promotions/antics, but it sometimes distracts from the game: 9%
• A nice balance that draws your attention when the game is stopped but doesn't distract from the action on the field: 30%
Fourteen years after opening, Camden Yards is still the standard by which modern ballparks are measured. With the iconic B&O warehouse beyond right field and the stream of crowds often heading a few blocks to the city's famed Inner Harbor and all of its shops and museums, "you get the feeling that the ballpark just rises out of neighborhood where it sits." Camden Yards does a nice job of trying to blend into its surroundings with a veritable carnival of food and entertainment on Eutaw Street. Boog's Barbecue, named for former Orioles great Boog Powell, is "the best, and not a bad value, either." The markers indicating home runs that have hit Eutaw are a "must see" and may help you forget the team's lack of direction from those offices in the warehouse. While the park's reputation has attracted a few too many "wine-and-cheese fans" for some, for the most part "Orioles fans love their team and are always loyal. But the years of patience are wearing thin given the horrible ownership displayed by [Peter] Angelos. If we could fire the owner, we would." That the intimate seating found in the stadium's lower deck (avoid the outfield's upper deck, which is cloud high because of the skyboxes below and pushed back to eliminate the need for poles below) and traditions such as singing John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" will keep the stadium packed on most nights is good news for fans and team coffers, but it may not help prompt many changes on the field.
At least Orioles fans can escape the ineptitude of the team with a short walk to the city's famed Inner Harbor, complete with dozens of shops, eateries, a Science Center and the National Aquarium. For those not enamored of chains such as the ESPN Zone, the Hard Rock Café or Hooters, "don't restrict yourself to the Inner Harbor." Grab "a water taxi to Fells Point for a meal at Bertha's Mussels" or a taxi to Little Italy for a feast at Sabatino's and a cannoli at Vaccaro's.
2006 record: 62-80 (all statistics through Sept. 10)
Players worth the price of admission: Miguel Tejada (.330 Avg., 22 HRs, 92 RBIs), Chris Ray (31 saves, 2.88 ERA)
The fans said it once, but it needs reiterating: This park, this city deserves better than what owner Peter Angelos has given it. Rare is the fan who doesn't love Camden Yards and its comfortable seating, pleasant atmosphere and paradigm-making architecture. But they are quickly tiring of Angelos' act. You'd think that if even George Steinbrenner can learn to get out of the way of his baseball decision-makers, Angelos will, too. But with each year that doesn't happen, the O's lose some support, a process the existence of the Nationals will no doubt accelerate. This club is headed down a very Cubs-like road, and that's a road no fan wants to travel.

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