It was cold, blustery and muddy and absenteeism was high, but the few Baltimore Orioles who toured the Camden Yards stadium site yesterday were impressed by how far the project has come.
"You get a perspective that it's going to be a cozy place," said pitcher Dave Johnson. "Open air and with sharp and different angles than Memorial Stadium. I played in Buffalo in 1988 when they opened their new stadium, and it was great with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. I hope I'm here for this one."
Bob Wyatt, project manager, conducted the tour for Johnson, outfielder Mike Devereaux, pitchers Anthony Telford and Mike Linskey and coach Elrod Hendricks. Orioles front-office officials and reporters also were present to view the progress of the yet-unnamed park in the Inner Harbor area.
Orioles players signed the wrecking balls painted like baseballs and the hard hats of the construction workers, and Telford noted, "The wind is blowing out to right field and swirling everyplace else."
The players said it was difficult to tell much about the locker rooms and training rooms on the lower levels.
"They've done a lot, but there is still a lot left to do," said Devereaux. "Right now, it's hard to envision the clubhouses. But it'll be exciting when it's finished."
"I'm surprised with how much has been accomplished," said Hendricks, "but it's still hard to tell where anything is without the blueprints. I guess it's just too cold to appreciate today."
Cal Ripken Jr., Randy Milligan and Kevin Hickey also were scheduled to attend, but did not make the tour.
The park is to be opened officially on Opening Day 1992.