SARASOTA, Fla. -- With Opening Day just around the corner, the Orioles officially unveiled the first rendering showcasing the improvements at Oriole Park at Camden Yards this season on Monday morning.
The renovations -- part of a multiyear plan -- come during the 20th anniversary season of the ballpark. The new features represent Baltimore's commitment to honor the franchise's proud history while improving the aesthetic and functionality of the park. The changes will also enrich the overall fan experience at Camden Yards, a ballpark which is now the 10th oldest in the Major Leagues, and one that set the standard for the new parks that followed.
"This most recent phase of upgrades continues to tell a story about one of the most iconic parks in baseball history," Orioles director of communications Greg Bader said in a statement. "Oriole Park at Camden Yards was the genesis of an evolution in how sports fans, particularly baseball fans, rediscovered how they could experience a game. It was important that we allow all fans the opportunity to experience these renovations, and we feel these improvements will ensure that Camden Yards remains second to none among professional sports facilities."
Renovations showcased in the released rendering include a new roof deck in center field, which will showcase the view of downtown Baltimore and Eutaw Street, as well as provide a unique vantage point to watch the game. This new area will feature outdoor deck seating, a full-service bar and seats facing the field. Any fan with a game ticket will be able to access this area -- previously closed to fans -- to watch all or a portion of the game.
The out-of-town scoreboard on the right-field wall got a facelift of sorts, reducing the height of the wall to improve views of the game, with food and retails shops nearby also renovated.
An improved bullpen picnic grove will play host to one of the highlights of the renovations: six larger-than-life bronze sculptures of the greatest Orioles of all-time. Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. will be immortalized in sculptures ranging from seven to eight feet tall and weighing as much as 1,500 pounds each. Each individual sculpture -- built by well-known Maryland sculptor Antonio Mendez -- will be unveiled at different points throughout the season.
This area will be accessible on non-gamedays, allowing visitors the opportunity to experience the newly landscaped grove and accompanying statues year-round.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.