If you are an Orioles fan, you probably get a little extra pride in your voice when talking about Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of its inaugural season this year. No surprise for an O's fan to get excited about Camden, considering the team hasn't been good for more than a decade.
Turns out the O's like Camden Yards a lot too. This season, the team will be sporting a 20th anniversary of OPACY patch on the uniform, and there will be assorted special events at the ballpark throughout the year. Among these will be the unveiling of the previously-announced statues of the Orioles inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Not stopping there, though: today, the team has made public a site celebrating the anniversary.
There are a variety of historical artifacts on the site, but the coolest, by far, is the Eutaw Street Home Run tracker, which has a little interactive map showing the landing spots of all of the Eutaw HRs in Camden Yards' history. This is complete with video of every home run that's landed on Eutaw, all the way back to 1992. I just listened to Jon Miller calling some guy from Texas hitting a home run off Jose Mesa in 1992. Another one has Mickey Tettleton as a Tiger hitting a home run off Ben McDonald. It's a treasure trove. Most of these names I remember, though some I don't. Who was Kevin Bass? I don't know, but he hit a Eutaw HR for the Orioles in '95.
Comedy gold can be found on the site, too, with its tagline: The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball™. They really have the ™ on there. This was in the press release and everything. Look, I love OPACY, and I hope this is never in doubt, but let's leave the arrogance of the Pretentious Capitalization and the Random Trademarking to the Yankees, okay? We all make fun of the whole Most Storied Franchise thing, and nobody wants to see the same sort of attitude taking root in these parts.
Not-so-fun fact: in the 20 seasons that the Orioles have played since Camden Yards opened, exactly four of those seasons have been .500 or better; only one, the wire-to-wire run in 1997, saw the O's win more than 90 games. The Orioles had a home record of .500 or better every year from 1992 to 2000 and they have not had one since, although they came kind of close a few times, including last year's 39-42 mark in the confines of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Are they going to break that futility this year? Well... no. Probably not. Still, what a great place to watch a baseball game.