The Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority have picked the final design for the new home-plate screen at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Five days after saying that lower-box seats behind home plate would be shielded by a 9-foot-high "drape screen," ballpark planners changed course yesterday, announcing they were disposing of the horizontal protection and replacing it with a safer and perhaps less intrusive choice -- a 20-foot-high vertical barrier.
The vertical screen, which will be made of chicken wire, is expected to be in place for Opening Day on Monday, but may not be fully erected for tomorrow's exhibition game with the New York Mets, ballpark construction officials said yesterday.
Several major-league ballparks are outfitted with vertical screens.
Last Friday, the Orioles and stadium authority tentatively approved plans for a screen composed of a short vertical barrier connected to a horizontal screen. The design preserved pristine views from the press and club levels, major objectives of the two parties. But it had drawbacks, including less-than-perfect sightlines, particularly when sunlight bounced off the overhead white-nylon net.
To see home plate, reporters on both levels of the two-story press box will look through the vertical screen. From a club-level perspective, one flight up, the screen will end at about home plate.
Orioles spokesman Rick Vaughn said the team favored the change for a couple of reasons: "Fans sitting beneath would have been unable to see through the horizontal netting. And it provides more protection."