Virtual baseball feels like reality in front of Oriole Park mural


November 24, 1997|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IF YOU HAVE a hankering to slam a ball into the nosebleed section of Camden Yards, you don't have to travel to Baltimore anymore. With a little imagination, you can get that thrill at Players Family Amusement Center in Westminster, where two local artists have created a 3,600-square-foot mural of Oriole Park.

The mural makes you feel as if you are standing at home plate, waiting for a pitch. Inside any of the three batting cages, baseball virtually seems like reality.

Artists Dale Mengel and Barbara Harley created the Camden Yards scene in about four months, painting on a part-time basis. The two have other jobs to help pay the bills -- Mengel works for Bruce Combs construction business in New Windsor and Harley works at the soda fountain/ice-cream bar at Baugher's Country Restaurant in Westminster.

The pair have launched their own business, Wall Art.

Most of the painting is done freehand. Chalk lines and about 57 rolls of tape covering those lines helped keep the different parts to scale. The Oriole Park mural is 120 feet wide and 30 feet high -- so the artists used electric scaffolds to reach tough spots.

The people in the stands were so difficult to paint that another Baugher's employee and artist, Stacy Hossler, was recruited.

Mengel has been busy working on other murals at the center, too. In three weeks, he painted a laser-tag mural with guns and beams and galactic images galore.

He has been the mastermind behind the Camden Yards mural as well as others he will create for Rick Eberly, who owns and manages the amusement center with his brother, Mike, and Dr. Jerry Katz, a Randallstown podiatrist.

"Dale did the planning and most of the painting on that mural," Harley said. "He knows how to bring things alive. I've learned a lot from him."

In addition to batting cages, Players features laser tag, pinball, virtual-reality games, a gyroscope ride, party rooms and a snack bar with flavored coffees.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 11/24/97

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