The Orioles’ 2022 home opener has been pushed back from March 31 to April 11, and that gives contractors a little extra time to put the finishing touches on their $3.5 million project to change the outfield dimensions of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The Orioles today released new photos of construction activity in left field, where the team removed 10 rows, or about 1,000 seats, so it could push back the left field wall and increase its height.
The primary objective, the Orioles say, is to cut down on home runs at what has come to be known as a slugger’s park – by making it harder for batters to send hits over the left-field wall.
The photos show a notch in the field where the seats have been removed and a new concrete wall has been poured. The lower bullpen, which wasn’t moved, now juts out into left-center field, when it didn’t before. Grass isn’t in place yet where the seats were removed, and the wall is still bare concrete.
Since Oriole Park opened in 1992, the left field wall has been 7 feet 4 inches high, with a distance of 333 feet from home plate to the left-field foul pole and 364 feet to left-center. The distance to the foul pole remains unchanged. The left-field wall has been pushed back almost 27 feet and raised in height to 13 feet.
When construction is complete, the distance to true left field will be 384 feet and the distance to left-center will be 400 feet. The distance to the wall around the visiting bullpen will remain unchanged at 380 feet. There were no changes in distance to the walls in center field and right field.
As part of the changes, the Orioles are installing new lights this week to help illuminate the expanded playing surface that has been created because the left field wall was pushed back. Public relations director Katie Krause sent out a message warning that there will be “increased helicopter activity” around Oriole Park associated with the lighting installation starting March 16 and possibly continuing through the end of the week.
More progress on the LF wall back in Baltimore. pic.twitter.com/nhA1lnYH93
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) March 15, 2022
Opening day was delayed because of a labor dispute between Major League Baseball and the MLB players union. The two sides reached an agreement on a new five-year labor deal that was ratified 30 to 0 by the owners on March 10, ending a 99-day player lockout. The regular season starts on April 8, when the Orioles play the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida.
The Orioles are marking the ballpark’s 30th anniversary this year with a series of commemorative programs and events. The outfield changes are expected to be complete in time for the team’s home owner against the Milwaukee Brewers, starting on Monday, April 11, at 3:05 p.m.
Here are photos showing the progress of work on the field, courtesy of the Orioles.
Destroying the symmetry of the outfield is a really dumb idea. When you have a minor league pitching staff for the most part, of course they are going to give up lots of home runs. Right handers pull the ball to left field. I don’t think John Means and Grayson Rodriguez need shortened fences.
Mike, I don’t believe the left field changes are necessarily being made for the current team roster. You have to be thinking long term here. The new left field dimensions starting in 2022 will be in place a very long time. Hopefully a few years down the road, the starting rotation will not consist of a glorified minor league staff. As for Means and Rodriquez, again, there are no guarantees as to how much longer they will be Orioles. In the long term, I believe the plan is that it will be easier to sign free agent pitchers if the ERA is a lot less than it has been in the past.
Orioles are a disgrace at least the management!! Losers another year!!!!
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