The Orioles have announced plans for the first game of their 59th season and the 20th anniversary celebration of Oriole Park at Camden Yards - The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball. The team will face the Minnesota Twins on Friday, April 6, at 3:05 p.m., 20 years to the day that Camden Yards hosted its first regular season game in 1992.
Pregame fun around the Yard
To allow fans the opportunity to experience the excitement of opening day, the entire ballpark will open at noon on Friday. Each fan will receive a 2012 schedule/car magnet at the gates. Roving musical groups will entertain fans on Eutaw Street and the main concourses.
Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 2:30 p.m., when pregame ceremonies will begin. MASN personality Jim Hunter will serve as emcee for the pregame festivities.
In a continuation of the opening day tradition, Orioles players and coaches will be introduced prior to the game. Orioles players will run through the center field gate on an orange carpet and take their places between first and second base. Manager Buck Showalter, coaches and staff will be introduced from the Orioles dugout. Members of the Twins will be announced and will run from their dugout to line up between second and third base.
OriolesREACH has arranged for 80 youth from local Girl Scout troops to line the orange carpet holding Orioles flags during player introductions. The Girl Scouts are celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2012.
For the 19th straight season, one fan will be chosen to represent all Orioles fans as the team's "10th man." The fan will be introduced as a part of the Orioles starting lineup during the pregame ceremonies.
In a pairing of 1992 opening day battery mates, former Orioles pitcher Rick Sutcliffe will throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Orioles Hall of Fame catcher Chris Hoiles. Sutcliffe was the first pitcher to take the mound at Camden Yards in 1992, throwing a five-hit shutout in a 2-0 Orioles' win over the Cleveland Indians. Hoiles went 1-for-3 with an RBI double in the game.
National Anthem and "God Bless America"
Representing The Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric, tenor Rolando Sanz will perform the national anthem and "God Bless America." Sanz recently made his Carnegie Hall debut singing the role of Kostik in the world premiere of Prokofiev's lost opera DalÃ«kie Morja (Distant Seas).
During the anthem, a 30'x 42' American flag from Fort McHenry will be unfurled over the batter's eye wall in center field. The flag is a replica of the one that flew over Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem.
Colors will be presented by the Fort McHenry Guard in celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The group consists of men and women, National Park Service personnel and volunteers, who represent the defenders of Baltimore and Fort McHenry: the Field Music in scarlet and white; the Corps of Artillery, the Baltimore Fencibles, the Sea Fencibles, and the citizens of Baltimore who supported them.
Gold Glove Awards presentation for Markakis and Wieters
Rawlings established the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 1957 to recognize the best fielders at each position; it has evolved into baseball's greatest measure of defensive excellence. Every year, managers and coaches of each Major League Baseball team select a squad of the best defensemen in their respective leagues, excluding their own teams.
In 2011, right fielder Nick Markakis and catcher Matt Wieters were named Gold Glove Award winners at their respective positions. Both were first-time recipients. In a pregame ceremony, a representative from Rawlings will present Markakis and Wieters with their Gold Glove Awards.
New in 2012
In recognition of the 20th anniversary of The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball, the Orioles will use baseballs stamped with the 20th anniversary logo for all home games during the 2012 season. The baseballs will be available for purchase in the Orioles Official Team Store at the ballpark and at www.orioles.com.
Orioles Legends sculptures
Larger than life bronze sculptures of the six greatest Orioles of all-time - Frank Robinson, Brookes Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken, Jr. - will be unveiled during the course of the 2012 season. The sculptures will be located in the improved bullpen picnic grove, which received significant upgrades and additional landscaping. As with Eutaw Street, this area has been renovated to allow fans access during non-gameday hours all year round.
The six sculptures will each be dedicated at a different Orioles home game during the 2012 season - Frank Robinson on April 28, Brooks Robinson on May 12, Earl Weaver on June 30, Jim Palmer on July 14, Eddie Murray on August 11 and Cal Ripken Jr. on September 6. All six sculptures are being created by renowned Maryland sculptor Antonio Tobias "Toby" Mendez. The six Orioles sculptures will be cast into bronze by Baltimore's New Arts Foundry and will range from seven to eight feet in scale and weigh between 600 and 1,500 pounds each.
A new Roof Deck has been added on top of the batter's eye wall in center field, featuring drink rails, a bar and deck seating. This new area will showcase the view of downtown Baltimore and Eutaw Street, as well as provide a unique vantage point to watch the game. Any fan with a game ticket will be able to enjoy this unique vantage point to watch all or a portion of the game, as space permits. This area was previously inaccessible to fans.
The out-of-town scoreboard on the right field wall has been modified to reduce the height of the wall by approximately four feet and thus improve views of the game from the Flag Court and Eutaw Street. Foo d service and retail in the Warehouse has also been renovated to take advantage of this improved visual connection to the playing field.
Art of the game
Located at the south end of Eutaw Street near Gate A, Art of the Game is a sports art gallery open on gamedays. Highlights include many one of a kind paintings, autographed memorabilia, and limited edition prints of sports stars with both a national and local interest.
The Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority have improved 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 have also been added to lower concourse walls and murals have been added to stairwells.
As a part of MSA's restoration of the B&O Warehouse brickwork, a replica of the original canopy has been 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.
New food elements coming to Camden Yards
The Orioles and their concessionaire, Delaware North Sportservice, have made extensive additions to the food offerings at Camden Yards, highlighted by the opening of Dempsey's Brew Pub and Restaurant and Baltimore favorites Gino's and Stuggy's.
Dempsey's Brew Pub and Restaurant
Named for Orioles Hall of Fame catcher and 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey, Dempsey's is a full-service brew pub and restaurant located on Eutaw Street. Dempsey's is in the final phase of construction and will be open on a limited basis on Opening Day and only during games until late April. A full opening is planned for that time, after which the restaurant will be open year round, on gamedays and non-gamedays. The menu will feature upscale American fare and specialty beers brewed on-site.
Gino's and Stuggy's at the ballpark
Popular Baltimore establishments Gino's and Stuggy's will be available at Oriole Park starting this season. Both will be located below the Roof Deck in center field, at the north end of Eutaw Street.
Gino's is a chain originally founded by Baltimore Colts Gino Marchetti and Alan Ameche. The Camden Yards location will feature the Camden Giant, a crab cake on top of a hamburger, in addition to chicken tenders, fries and shakes.
Fells Point favorite Stuggy's will offer an assortment of specialty hot dogs at Oriole Park, including the Crab Mac 'n' Cheese dog, the Motor City dog, the Chicago Style dog, and a rotation of other selections available from their Fells Point location.
Eutaw Market, located just south of the Orioles Team Store on Eutaw Street, will offer fans quick and convenient service. The Market features wrapped sandwiches, chips, bottled drinks and fresh fruit and will soon be open year-round.
More than peanuts and Cracker Jacks
Other unique concession items that will be available at Oriole Park in 2012 include bacon on a stick; the return of the Birdland Dog, featuring smoked beef brisket hash, fried onions and stewed tomato relish; deep fried Old Bay sausage; a variety of UTZ chips; and pulled pork sliders.
Upper deck concessions
All upper deck concessions have been upgraded with renovated 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.
By the numbers
On Opening Day the Orioles' concessionarie, Delaware North Sportservice, expects to serve the following:
* 53,000 ESSKAY hot dogs
* 52,000 sodas
* 20,500 orders of French fries
* 15,000 jumbo pretzels
* 14,700 Boog's BBQ sandwiches
* 14,500 orders of chicken tenders
The Orioles have one of the most liberal food policies in professional sports. Outside food and beverages may be brought into Camden Yards, subject to the following guidelines:
* Soft-sided and paper bags are permitted at Oriole Park , as long as they fit into a 16" x 16" x 8" container. Hard-sided coolers, thermoses, glass bottles, cans or alcoholic beverages are not permitted into the ballpark.
* Non-alcoholic beverages in plastic bottles are permitted into the park. All items will be checked at the gates and any beverage that has been opened or partially consumed prior to entry is subject to confiscation if it is thought to contain alcohol. In addition, no plastic or paper cups of beverages are permitted into the park at the entry gates.
Other security measures include the following:
* All items permitted into the ballpark will be inspected. No bags or items exceeding the maximum size of 16" x 16" x 8" are allowed into the ballpark. Bags on wheels are prohibited.
* No containers or unauthorized items can be left at any park entrance.
* No re-entry will be permitted once a fan has entered the ballpark gates.
* Only vehicles dropping off or picking up guests with disabilities are permitted to stop curbside at the ballpark. No other vehicles are permitted curbside, nor are people able to stand and wait with vehicles.
* The Orioles welcome fan support in the form of handmade banners and signs. To ensure that all fans will have an unobstructed view of the ballgame, the Orioles do not permit the hanging or carrying of banners anywhere in the ballpark. Banners may be displayed before and after the game and between innings only. Banners and signs are subject to confiscation if the content is commercial, political, and/or in bad taste according to the Orioles' discretion.
Opening day timing
Noon Gates Open
12:25-1:25 Orioles Batting Practice
1:25-2:05 Twins Batting Practice
2:05-2:25 Field Preparation
2:30 Ceremonies Begin
3:05 Play Ball!