Dear Stadium Doctor: We keep hearing about how the right-field foul pole at Oriole Park at Camden Yards is the same one used at Memorial Stadium. What about the left-field foul pole? It seems to be doing its job just as well.
Dear Fred Engel and Kevin Lieberman:
Before I answer this question, which, allow me to say, is among the most fascinating ever received by this columnist, I would like to thank the residents of Fort Meade for proclaiming May 24 "Stadium Doctor Appreciation Day" and to send my regrets for being unable to accept your invitation to speak at this year's Stadium Doctor Pancake Breakfast. Maybe next year?
The questions: You're right. The right-field foul pole is the very same steel pipe used at the old stadium. After last season, the pole was taken down, cut into several pieces and taken to a local foul-pole refurbishing studio, where it was painted and repaired. The idea was to preserve some of the old in the new stadium.
The story behind the left-field foul pole is less interesting, if that's possible. The 90-foot-tall pole was built in pieces by a Baltimore firm, American Iron Works, and assembled at the new ballpark.
Dear Stadium Doctor:
Why are there no child-size urinals in the men's room? I have two boys, ages 8 and 11. Both are too short to reach the height of the men's urinal.
Dear David Saulsbury:
On behalf of parents of children under 4 feet tall and/or 12 years old, I would like to thank you for bringing up this important question, which, in the Stadium Doctor family, often arises in about the sixth inning, after Stadium Redhead has consumed his seventh jumbo soft drink.
As you point out, none of the men's rooms at the new ballpark is equipped with urinals within easy reach of underage bladders. After checking with stadium planners, I found out there is a simple reason for this: Nobody thought of it.
Dear Stadium Doctor:
I would like to know the purpose of the large, grass-sodded area beside the bullpens at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I have yet to see it in use, and it appears to be such wasted space.
Rosetta B. Williams
Dear Rosetta B. Williams:
I think I can clear this up for you. The grass area you're referring to is the ballpark's 5,000-square-foot sod farm, which might look like a waste of space, but actually is one of the most vital spaces in the ballpark, surpassing even the club level's shrimp-cocktail staging area.
The spare grass will be used to patch areas on the field that are worn out, diseased or look bad for some other obscure horticultural reason. Not much sod has been harvested yet, but, during the Orioles' next road trip, Orioles groundskeeper Paul Zwaska said he plans to lay a small piece in front of the pitcher's mound and maybe do some work in the Orioles bullpen.