At this point in my life, I’m rarely overwhelmed by anything in sports anymore.

Sure, every once in awhile there are some pleasant surprises like Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria, Stephen Strasburg’s start against the Pirates, even seeing Danica Patrick in a bathing suit for the first time. But for the most part, sports are an endless conveyor belt of 7-2  baseball games, two touchdown football blowouts and Louis Oosthuzien’s 32 stroke British Open victory. In other words, everything kind of runs together. Nothing sticks out.

So heading down to Baltimore for my first trip to Camden Yards this week, I wasn’t really expecting to be impressed. Even after hearing good things from everyone I talked to, I was still a little dubious. After all, what could a 20-year-old ballpark, home to a last place team really offer?

A lot apparently.

Because I can’t lie, I didn’t just like Camden Yards. I loved it. Loved everything about it.

The stadium is the perfect mix of old school sports charm and new school comfort, creativity, and amenities. While having the ambiance of a stadium built 50 years ago, Camden Yards offers everything you’d want out of a contemporary ball park: Great sight lines, amazing food, clean and accessible bathrooms, you name it.

So for those of you who’ve never been, what do you need to know?

Here are the answers, in my Idiot’s Guide To Camden Yards…

Do: Go to Pregame At One of the Bars Located Around the Stadium

Look, in this day and age, it isn’t enough just to have a cool stadium. Half the fun of going to a ballpark is the atmosphere surrounding the game, especially when your team is as bad as the Orioles.

It’s actually this reason alone that Fenway Park is still my favorite stadium in America. On game night, the streets around the park are a zoo; part big game atmosphere, part carnival, part college keg party.

Even if you don’t have tickets to see the Red Sox, you can still hang out around Fenway Park on game night, drink Sam Adams, hit on girls with Big Papi t-shirts on and just have a good old time. The same can’t be said at other places like Citi Field, Yankee Stadium or Nationals Park.

But much like Fenway, the atmosphere around Camden Yards is awesome.

Before Tuesday night’s game we ended up settling at a bar across the street from the stadium named Pickles, which came recommended to me by one of my followers on Twitter (@Aaron_Torres). With good music, $2.00 Yuengling cans and full of Orioles fans, the place didn’t disappoint. (Unfortunately, I can’t tell you about the food at Pickles. I’ll explain why in a minute).

When we walked by the following day, the crowd was even better, which considering that first pitch was 12:35 that afternoon, was especially impressive. (I guess when your team is 30 games out of first place, any excuse to day drink is a valid one).

Other pregame places that come recommended by yours truly are Sliders (right next to Pickles) and the Nest, located on the opposite side of the stadium.

However, I do have one warning. While the drink specials on game night are good at The Nest, the food was absolutely terrible. My tuna melt specifically seemed like it got thrown together by a cook that was three beers deep and trying to sneak out for a cigarette break. So be warned.

However, speaking of food…

(Because of length this is just PART of Aaron’s Idiots Guide To Camden Yards. To read the remainder, please visit

Don’t: Buy Food From Anyone But A Street Vendor

If you’re hungry, the place to hit is the traffic island located right across the street from Sliders and Pickles. There, street vendors serve any kind of food that a slightly intoxicated American baseball patron who couldn’t care less about caloric intake could want. Sausage with grilled peppers, three-quarter pound cheeseburgers, foot long beef hot dogs, you name it.

And what the street vendors lack in salesmanship (when I asked one what the name of the area was called, his front-tooth-missing, mumbled response was, “It don’t have a name.”) they make up for in the quality of their food.

The grilled sausage I got was the best meal I’ve eaten in months. I guess it makes sense then why 25 Baltimore police officers assigned to work the game were standing in front of me in line.

The prices were also outstanding. The sausage that I bought outside the stadium was $5.00, compared to my tuna melt, which again, tasted like it was dropped on the floor, that cost $9.00 in a restaurant. Burgers were the same price, and hot dogs were $3.00. In the beverage department, you could score three bottles of water for $5.00.

And you know what the best part was? As long as your food was wrapped and beverages unopened, you could bring them in the stadium with you.

Do: Walk Around The Ballpark Once Inside

My favorite part of the ballpark was Eutaw Street. It was a part concourse, part carnival that ran behind the right-centerfield fence. Eutaw was everything that modern stadiums should be about; baseball combined with entertainment, with food and drink stands side by side with a caricaturist drawing pictures.

It was also home to one of the best known restaurants in baseball, Boog Powell’s Barbeque, run by former Orioles All-Star and resident fatty, Boog Powell. While the beef barbeque sandwich I got wasn’t all that good, Boog Powell’s is just one of those food places you’ve got to try regardless.

The coolest part of Eutaw also doubles as the most famous landmark at Camden Yards.It is the old warehouse (yes, at one point it was an actual warehouse) that became famous in the 1993 Home Run Derby when Ken Griffey Jr. became the first person to ever hit a home run off it. The building, used by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad half a century ago, was apparently abandoned and decrepit until they built Camden Yards. Now, it’s a cool quirk that houses a team store, a bar, and other stores and shops.

If you only do one thing at Camden Yards, my recommendation is to definitely spend some time on Eutaw Street.

(Because of length this is just PART of Aaron’s Idiots Guide to Camden Yards. To read the remainder of this article, please click here, or visit him at

Also for Aaron’s take on ALL things sports, be sure to add him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, or download his APP for your iPhone or Android)

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