Dear Stadium Doctor:
Our new stadium presents an excellent opportunity to establish a non-smoking and/or a non-drinking area -- in other words, family sections. Is this being considered?
Also, was the highly regarded and highly successful Oakland Coliseum experiment -- banning all smoking at the outdoor stadium -- ever contemplated?
Dear John Schleur:
Thank you for your letter and for raising these excellent points about the new ballpark, which, as of late last night, still was located at Camden Yards.
Your questions, John. I took them directly to Roy Sommerhof, director of stadium services for the Orioles, who informed me that the team has decided some things and not others. There'll be no non-drinking section next season. The Orioles tried that last year. They designated a section in the upper deck for non-drinkers only. For the season, fewer than 17 percent of the seats were sold. The Orioles did not consider this a rousing success. They won't do it again.
Sommerhof said the Orioles will try to accommodate non-drinkers in a different way. He said, "We feel we can create a family section throughout the ballpark by training our ushers in better alcohol and fan management." I think that means they'll eject the drunks.
Smoking rules are still up in the air. Sommerhof said two parks banned smoking entirely last season -- Oakland and San Diego -- and that the Orioles won't decide on their policy until early March.