Let me say at the outset that I love Camden Yards — and have since its 1992 opening.
I have enjoyed many a spring and summer day (but, unfortunately, not too many in the fall) watching the descendants of Brooks, Boog, Belanger and Bumbry play in one of Major League Baseball’s most beautiful parks.
But it is not “the mecca of baseball,” as my colleague Rachel Bernstein writes in her well wrought and researched series on the O’s home. That grand title in my opinion belongs to Wrigley Field, where I spent many an afternoon (no night games then) back in the 1980s watching then-future Hall of Famers Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson give the (still) long-suffering hometown fans hope.
I even worked at the “Friendly Confines” as an usher during the summer of 1984, a season that ended with the Cubs losing the National League Championship Series to the San Diego Padres. Then there was the spring of 1987, when my girlfriend (now wife) and I took the El from Northwestern University (where we were seniors) to the Addison stop three times to see the lovable losers at that most beautiful of ballparks, at the intersection of Sheffield and Waveland avenues.
Now, I know you’re thinking that it’s not the ballpark I love so much as the youthful memories. But that’s not the case.
Camden Yards has much greater sentimental appeal for me.
It’s the place where I took my then-toddler daughter in the late 1990s when most of the men she had ever seen were fathers. She looked down at the field where nine men with gloves were standing, pointed and said “Daddies.”
It’s where my son developed his love for baseball — and for a team that has never had a winning season in any of his 13 years.
Yes, I adore Camden Yards — but I love Wrigley Field.
What’s your favorite ballpark?