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Ballpark: Camden Yards and the Building of an American Dream Paperback – March 1, 1995


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Ballpark: Camden Yards and the Building of an American Dream + Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit, Revised and Expanded Edition + They Play, You Pay: Why Taxpayers Build Ballparks, Stadiums, and Arenas for Billionaire Owners and Millionaire Players
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684800489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684800486
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,285,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Almost as soon as he became principal owner of the Baltimore Orioles in 1979, Edward Bennett Williams began lobbying for a better ballpark. Aided by William Schaefer, mayor of Baltimore and subsequently governor of Maryland, Williams put together a deal whereby state residents would finance the stadium via a new lottery. GQ senior editor Richmond chronicles the story of this endeavor, which resulted in the 1992 opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, applauded by Baltimoreans for the way its design echoed the idiosyncratic intimacy of old-time ball fields and gracefully incorporated the adjacent B & O Railroad warehouse, a beloved city landmark. The author writes particularly effectively about Williams himself, his protege Larry Lucchino and super-aggressive designer Janet Smith, who, he maintains, managed to get credit for more than she contributed. Richmond's superb prose, however, is wasted on subjects like contract wrangling and fights over structural details.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

The well-told story of how Baltimore came to have a jewel of a ballpark rather than a cookie-cutter stadium for its only remaining major-league franchise, the Orioles. Drawing on a wealth of first-rate reportage, Richmond assesses the many factors involved in the creation of a single-use facility whose quirky charms rival those of such fabled baseball venues as Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field. In consistently entertaining, if frequently digressive, fashion, the author recounts the pivotal roles played by the late Edward Bennett Williams (whose persistent threats to move the club he owned to his Washington, D.C., bailiwick kept local pols in the game), William Donald Schaefer (now governor of Maryland, but formerly mayor of Baltimore), and a host of lesser lights. Covered as well are the debates over funding, site selection (downtown near the historic Camden Yards railroad station), and design. Richmond pays particularly close attention to the architectural and municipal influences that somehow yielded a park that's in the diamond game's best traditions rather than in the mode of recently built anonymously symmetric shells located off interstate highways. Between the beginning and end of his box score--bracketed by a narrative account of the first game played at Camden Yards, on the opening day of 1992 (a win for the Orioles)--Richmond captures much of what makes baseball a perdurable national pastime. (Eight pages of b&w photographs--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By a ballpark critic on March 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
A fascinating look at every conceivable aspect of the building of Camden Yards, from the political and legal fighting and the Orioles' crucial demand for and use of design oversight to the farm where the grass was grown. If your community is considering building a ballpark, you'll find the book interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Stodola on February 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
For baseball fans in any town, this is a great read. For Marylanders, it's especially interesting.

Richmond does a very good job of describing all the elements that went into the ballpark, including politics, funding, design, and construction. Especially interesting are the personalities involved and the sad rememberances of some of those who do not feel they got the credit due them.

I live outside Washington DC in Maryland and I have attended games at Camden Yards since it opened. To me, the single best feature is the use of brick in its construction: it is warm, inviting, and harkens to times past. Richmond captures the importance of brick with historical references, details, and interviews with bricklayers. I'll be seeing a game this June and I plan to spend some time outside checking out the bullnose bricks!

Given that this was a public project and all factions seemed to be constantly at war, it's a miracle that this magnificient facility was built and built so wall.
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Format: Paperback
The era of the modern "retro" ballpark for professional baseball started in Baltimore. Author Peter Richmond does an outstanding job weaving the history of the city in sports with the movement to design a new ballpark for the Orioles.

It also ushered in an era where public-private partnerships through tax dollars and other incentives became the means to new facilities. Richmond aptly shows the controversies that follow pro franchises when team owners & league representatives sit at the table with politicians, along with the oftentimes very loud public opinion being heard through the door.

There is a hidden gem in the history, and it concerns Art Modell, the move of the Colts to Indianapolis and the Cleveland Browns. Richmond writes that Modell wanted to move the Browns to Baltimore after the Colts fled the city in the midnight hour, and wanted to time the move with Cleveland receiving an expansion franchise.

The plan - that never got past the idea stage - was years before Modell moved the club to Baltimore and the book was published before the Browns did move to the city.

Books such as Ballpark may unfairly receive the tag of interest only for a reader from that region. At the time of its publication it could have been read as a news story. The text has held up well over the years and now a reader has an excellent history on how the era of baseball stadium construction got started.
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