From Mark Anderson at Uni-Watch on August 29, 2018, with mention of SABR member Janet Marie Smith:
When Oriole Park at Camden Yards (OPACY) at opened in 1991 it blew everyone away. It instantly rendered Comiskey Park II (now Guaranteed Rate Field), completed just the year before, obsolete. The design, largely credited to Janet Marie Smith (then vice president of planning and development with the Baltimore Orioles) brought back a lot of the classic elements, the brick façade and backstop, wrought iron details, the scoreboard clock, green seats and more.
The design also updated a new revenue stream, the luxury suite, which for a time gave the Orioles a competitive advantage. Soon, every team in baseball wanted their version of Camden Yards and the building boom began. The problem, the firm (HOK, now Populous) that built OPACY also did the vast majority of all the new ballparks, offering little innovation or variation to the Camden Yards design. OPACY essentially ended the era of the cookie cutter multipurpose stadium and started a new cookie cutter era of it’s own image. Even the Mariners who went with NBBJ, one of the few teams that used a different firm than Populous, didn’t change the mold. Mariners executives, when planning for Safeco Field visited three of the newer ballparks and it is easy to tell which one was their favorite, because if you follow the grandstand from foul pole to foul pole, Safeco Field is almost identical to Coors Field. It’s like the Mariners executives said, Give me Coors Field, switch up the outfield stands and bullpen a bit and add a retractable roof.
Read the full article here: https://uni-watch.com/2018/08/29/if-they-build-it-i-will-go/
- Audio: Listen to Janet Marie Smith’s presentation on ballpark architecture from the 2017 SABR convention in New York City
Originally published: August 29, 2018. Last Updated: August 29, 2018.