A Glorious Day at Camden Yards

marathon4The nail-biting, cold sweats and endless hours in the situation room are over.  The Baltimore Running Festival (aka Baltimore Marathon) had a beautiful, conflict-free fall day for their event.

Some of the last participants make their way down the final stretch shortly after noon.  That is only part of the success of this event.  Take a look on the right side of the picture and you’ll see another important element.

The full house at Dempsey’s (which spilled onto Eutaw Street) was repeated all around town.  From Mount Vernon to Fed Hill to Camden Yards, hotels and restaurants welcomed runners and their supporters to stop in for the afternoon.  (Many were engrossed in the Maryland-Iowa game and didn’t seem anxious to leave.)

The economic impact of the annual event is felt throughout the region.  That, and the opportunity it affords the Stadium Authority to showcase our beautiful facility, are among the many reasons we look forward to it.

But it also gives us another opportunity for a little boasting our operations, of which we are justly proud.

marathon1              marathon2In less than 24 hours, this lot will overflow again, as the Ravens take on the Falcons at 1:00 pm.  Tailgating begins at 8:00 am.  And there can’t be any trace of the festival that took place here today.  That is our commitment to our partners.

This means our Facilities and Security teams will be here long after the last tent folds.  Refuse will be divided into trash (left)  and recyclables (right) and contained before the facility reopens tomorrow.

This isn’t a part of the Marathon you see on Facebook or Instagram.  They’re aren’t any heroic pushes for the finish line.  Yet, cleaning, recycling and maintaining one of the top facilities in professional sports (which includes those all-important lots) is one of the most important things we do.  No matter what the challenges are, our unsung heroes in operations and security always manage to get it done.

If . . . then (Juggling at Camden Yards)

crape myrtle 1Things have been a bit rough in Kansas City, no question.  But we haven’t lost hope of welcoming the Orioles back for Games 6 and 7.  Note the crape myrtle above.  It is one of about sixty ringing the complex which turned orange seemingly overnight.  So we’re still keeping the faith here at the Warehouse.

Of course, every day the O’s are still in play keeps the crystal ball busy.  The rainy weather doesn’t help matters, either.

There are two other major events scheduled for Camden Yards this weekend.  The 27,000 + Baltimore Running Festival, which begins and ends here.  That has already been tweaked by the organizers, with all runs starting an hour earlier.  Participants and spectators are advised to check the website regularly to see if additional changes have been made.

The other, of course, is the Ravens home game October 19th, scheduled for 1:00 pm against the Atlanta Falcons.  A possible Game 3 would be on Saturday.  But if it were rained out (as was Game 3 in KC) . . . .  well, that’s up to the leagues to decide.

No matter what, the staff here makes it happen.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed for that Game 7 (without the rain, of course.)   The crape myrtles have already dressed for the occasion.

Seen at the Scene, ALCS

alcs banner Yes, a little soggy on Eutaw Street, but inspiring nonetheless.  We doubt that will be a deterrent.   Fans are already congregating under the Warehouse Window, hoping to shag autographs as players arrive.

We’ll wander out when the gates open to catch a few fashions on display tonight.  Hopefully the drizzle won’t flatten any feathers.

royals octoberWe glimpsed this Royals rally shirt during practice yesterday.  Fancy shades, too.  (Definitely not needed today.)

Still in the Running . . .

baltimore-marathon-2012-start3 Here in the Warehouse, we have some of the most resourceful, proactive folks you would ever want to work with.  Our Facilities staff (which includes those stationed at M&T Bank Stadium) are innovative as well as responsive.  And they pride themselves on factoring in every contingency when they plan (or book) events.

So even before the O’s locked their place in the playoffs, conversations were taking place about how to accommodate activities scheduled to take place on the complex during October.  The American Heart Walk took the conflict in stride, changing their date to November 2, 2014 and reminding their supporters that “The Orioles won’t stop, and neither will we.”  Das Best Oktoberfest kept their date and moved to the waterfront at Rash Field.

The Baltimore Running Festival, however, is a moving target.  Scheduled for for October 18, 2014, this enormous (27,000+ runners, even more spectators) begins and ends at Camden Yards.  And although the post season has not arrived there yet, a potential seventh ALCS would take place at Oriole Park.

So what to do?

Postponing an event this size, with participants coming from every state and many nations, is not an option.  Cancellation is unthinkable.  But flexibility and reason are always on the table, so (for the time being) the best course of action is to move up the starting times.  That way, the route can be cleared and cleaned before the fans arrive for a night game.

That’s the plan now, but of course there are always variables that could pop up any moment.  That’s why the organizers are keeping their website and social media up to date on every possible scenario.

And what about that ultimate wild card, Mother Nature?  Suppose she throws a curve?

MN is never off the radar — literally.  Our Facilities staff and our partners track the weather like Doppler.  If there are elements on the way, they know and are planning — sometimes days in advance.

snow shovel

Remember this?  December, 2009.  The Bears are coming to town, and so is a ton of snow.

Even before it crossed the Appalachians, MSA and Ravens staff were lining up plows, manpower, equipment, salt, pizza, and reinforcements for a round the clock response. For many, it meant sleeping in the concourse between shifts with the shovel.  But by kickoff, the complex was ready.

So whatever happens in the next few weeks, you can be sure the folks here in the Warehouse have weighed at the options to address it.  Of course, we all know the best possible solution is.

Win it out, O’s !!!

 

Oktoberfest Won’t Stop Either

 

oktoberfestIt was a wonderful event at M&T last year.  One of the 2013 highlights at the complex, and the kickoff to Beer Week (another Baltimore favorite.)  We looked forward to having them oompah back here again October 11th.  Until . . .

Fortunately, the Oktoberfest organizers didn’t miss a step.  They arranged with the City of Baltimore to take their suds and lederhosen to Rash Field in Federal Hill.  That way they can lift their steins and yodel for the home team during their own festivities.  Here are the particulars:

 

NEW LOCATION: RASH FIELD

 – INNER HARBOR

Go O’s! #WeWontStop – Same date, same time, awesome new waterfront location!

Join Us again as we bring Munich to Charm City

October 11th

SAT – Noon – 2pm  VIP Admission Session 
(Wristbanding begins at 11:00am)
(Last call 5:40 / Stop pouring alcohol 5:45)

SAT – 2PM – 6pm  Regular Admission Session
(Wristbanding begins at 1:00pm)
(Last call 5:40 / Stop pouring alcohol 5:45)

You can find more at their website:

Hail the Conquering Heroes !! Birds Fly Home

Children  chanting, towels twirling, flags waving and orange everywhere.  And more than a few choruses of “We Won’t Stop” greeted the O’s as the returned to Camden Yards after their flight from Detroit Monday afternoon.

The Bird did his bit to rev up the waiting crowd.

Bird in the crowd

 

Big, big cheers for Buck, one of the first off the bus

Buck

A bit weary, perhaps, but happy to be back home for the AL Championship Series against the Royals this weekend

team

 

Is Dan Duquette perhaps the happiest man in town?

 

o's welcome home

Seen at the Scene

captain OSuper Hero Captain O surveys the stands for signs of Tiger infiltration.  He sees a sea of orange.  Kate Upton has yet to arrive.

maryland birdThis fashion forward fan combines designs elements of the Maryland flag with images of The Bird.  A bit busy, perhaps, but certainly festive.

Fever Pitch

DSC05258

The Bird says it best – Welcome to October, the second season of 2014.  Although the O’s organization has been quietly preparing for this day, it still arrives with uncontained excitement and a thousand little (and big) details to be sorted out.

Visitors parading down Eutaw Street enjoying the beautiful weather had an unexpected surprise yesterday afternoon —   the newly-arrived Tigers, and then the O’s, took the field for some batting practice.  A quick glance from the Warehouse Window revealed a delighted tourist snagging a ball that bounced on Flag Court and through the gates.  Though the stadium was closed, the popular viewing spots over the bullpens filled with fans.

Cleaning crews were policing every corner and the caterers were stocking concession stands until late last night.

In a few hours, the gates will open, and the season begins anew.  We’re hoping this one runs until November.

Stars of the Summer Nights

Beyonce stageIt wouldn’t be Maryland if we didn’t have steamy days and sultry nights, June through August.  But such is when the stars come out, just as hot and pulsating as an approaching thunderstorm.

Summer concerts and music festivals bring music aficionatos to venues throughout the region.  And one of the most popular is is Camden Yards.  For all the conveniences and facilities that make this the perfect location for staging major sports events (public transportation, walkability, convenience to interstates) also apply to entertainment.

Camden Yards has shone a celestial array over the past few weeks.  The annual African American Festival was headlined by R&B chanteuse Brandy, who filled the festival grounds for her performance on Sunday, June 22nd.  AFRAM traditionally draws several hundred thousand revelers over the course of the weekend, with the Sunday night free concert being the highlight of the festivitiebeyonces.

Monday, July 8th, M&T Bank Stadium was filled to capacity for the touring production “On the Run,” featuring Beyonce and Jay-Z.  This fol
lowed the equally successful “Legends of the Summer” tour last summer with Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake.

Hosting such entertainment spectacles is an important part of the Maryland Stadium Authority’s commitment to the citizens of Maryland, who own our complex.  We, along with our partners/tenants, make our myriad facilities available for events and activities far beyond professional sports.  We are a community asset as well as a state property.  Most of all, we are a place where people gather to make memories . . .  and reach for the stars.

The Movable Feast at Camden Yards

It was just a matter of time before the annual “Taste of Two Cities” food truck festival found its way to Camden Yards.  As the event attracted more trucks and fans after two successful years, a larger and more accessible site was needed.  A name change was also in order as Philly joined Baltimore and Washington for the fun.

So on Saturday, May 31st, a convoy of cookeries mustered on Lot C between Hamburg Street and the 395 overpass for a “Taste of Three Cities.”  The 50+ chuckwagons were joined by vendors offering crafts, clothes, and food truck 8assorted oddities.  (Perhaps the most unusual offering of the day was a stuffed wild boar’s head, quickly snapped up by The Kommie Pig for a hood ornament.)
The all-day event also featured live music, inflatable kiddie activities, and plenty of adult beverages to go with the hydrating variety.

Between 12,000 and 15,000 folks wandered the lots, sampling the cuisine and voting for their favorites.  Two-time winner of the Mayor’s Cup, Gypsy Queen, was selected the People’s Choice this year.  Judges awarded the Mayor’s Cup to cupcake concessionaire Iced Gems.food truck 1

A young lady on the light rail was showing off the prize winning cupcakes when the operator came over the speaker and asked if anyone had tried the chocolate dipped cheesecake.  A show of hands indicated more calories accounted for.

By Monday, the sidewalk gourmets would be back to performing their magic at various outposts in their respective cities.  But for variety and sheer indulgence, it was  hard to top the mobile food court you could find at Camden Yards this weekend.