1,000 seats to be added to new stadium Camden Yards ball park will seat 47,800.

August 28, 1991|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Evening Sun Staff

Less just became more.

Maryland Stadium Authority officials, often criticized for building a ball park that's too small, now say the Camden Yards stadium will have 1,000 additional seats scattered throughout the stadium, bringing total capacity to 47,800.

The new configuration includes room for about 300 bleacher seats in the outfield created when the home and visiting teams' bullpens were moved side by side near the shady picnic area in the left-center field area. The bullpens were originally to have been in the left and right field areas.

Other seats were added as construction progressed and architects and authority officials realized certain sections and rows could hold more people than the 46,833 originally planned.

"It has ebbed and flowed as we go along," said Oriole Vice President Robert Aylward.

"When you see it in construction, things are different," said authority Executive Director Bruce Hoffman. "We now have a fairly accurate seating drawing. Before, you could not accurately scale it to the nearest foot."

The authority and the Orioles have been criticized for building a ball park smaller than 54,017-seat Memorial Stadium. But officials have defended the design, arguing that the Orioles rarely sell out a regular season game in Memorial Stadium.

The Orioles are scheduled to play their 1992 season opener in the Camden Yards ballpark on April 6.

Two weeks ago, the team announced that box seating -- which makes up 40 percent of the new stadium -- will cost about 20 percent more next season, while the new bleacher seats, which have no counterpart at Memorial Stadium, will sell for $4 each.

In a meeting yesterday, the authority voted to approve a 10 percent admissions tax on the price of each ticket that will raise $1.9 million annually. The tax was authorized by the General Assembly in 1988 but had to be approved by the Stadium Authority before taking effect.

Eighty percent of the revenue will go to the stadium authority for operations, while the rest will go to the city to maintain property surrounding the ball park, Hoffman said.

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