Baltimore, MD. A new poll has the Orioles front office rethinking stadium atmosphere for the 2011 season. According to a poll done by the University of Baltimore, an overwhelming majority of students cited Camden Yards as the best place to study.
Lee Kim, a junior at Johns Hopkins from Japan, leads one of the larger study groups that meets at Oriole Park. He explained why it’s such an appealing studying atmosphere. “Being Japanese, I obviously have a natural inclination towards baseball and math. So, I put the two together and began studying at Camden Yards. I’ve been acing exams ever since.”
Grace Matthews, a University of Baltimore commuting Sophomore from Federal Hill, added, “There’s generally only 10,000 or so fans. By the 2nd inning, everyone’s moved closer to the field. There’s a lot of empty seats up top, so it’s easy to be alone and have plenty of space to spread out my books. By the sixth inning, the Orioles usually are hopelessly losing, so the stadium empties out pretty quick from there.”
Many, like UMBC Freshman Eric Park, cited the cheap tickets, as the reason to study at the ballpark. “If you think about it, you can study at a coffee shop,” Mr. Park explained, “but you’ll spend like $4 on a coffee. If you’re there a long time, you could buy two or three of those. Tickets to an O’s game are $5.”
When asked about the new study, Andy McPhail, President of Baseball Operations for the O’s, said, “While we’re disappointed in our last place finish, we’re very encouraged by the students who are coming out to the game. Our prices are aimed at attracting the financially conscientious fan.”
The Orioles’ front office has also been reportedly planning a mid-week night package called “Study at the Yard.” According to some inside the Orioles operation. The plan includes a $5 upper reserve ticket with unlimited coffee. Instead of replays or Orioles trivia, the jumbo-tron will be devoted to showing GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT questions. Reports are also circulating that certain sections will be devoted to particular subjects to better encourage study groups and collaboration.
During these games, there will be no announcements such as the next batter, upcoming promotions, and other announcements, and only classical music will be played over the loudspeaker. This made Loyola senior John Rivels happy. “I find that trumpet blow where everyone is supposed to say ‘charge!’ so obnoxious. It really breaks my concentration, and it’s not like it does any good.”
Regarding the switch to classical music, some have also reported that the Orioles will save about $100,000 in royalty fees due to the music being public domain. “That money allows us to get another developing player in our farm system,” added Mr. McPhail. “Maybe he’ll turn out to be someone we can bring to the Orioles to replace our disappointing options at short stop.”
Some inside the Orioles’ organization have explained that the insurance cost has gone up significantly and may wash out any gains in playing public domain classical music. “We just met with our insurance agents last week,” explained Patrick Fredmon, President of Stadium Safety, “and they expressed concerns over students not paying attention and the possibility of being hit by fly balls. Because of this we’re thinking of designating some of the upper level (especially in the left field and far right field sections) as study designated areas.” Meanwhile, other more successful teams, such as the Yankees, have prohibited reading devices like the iPad for safety reasons.
Some, like long-time season ticket holder Bruce Bradley of Hampton are not pleased with the poll. “Baseball is about the game,” commented Mr. Bradley. “People shouldn’t come here to study and listen to classical music. They can do that on their own time. So what that the Orioles stink. We need people to come cheer them on.”
The Orioles finished last in the A.L. Eastern Division this year with the fourth worst record in the MLB. They also placed 24th out of 30th in paid fan attendance with an average of 21,662 ticket sales (about 45% of stadium capacity).
Still Andy McPhail and others are hopeful of a turn-around season. “When we brought Buck Showalter in to manage the team, we went from a .333 winning average to .596,” Mr. McPhail said. “O’s fans haven’t seen numbers that high since their 1983 World Series championship season.” Many fear that if that continues, owner Peter Angelos will gouge O’s fans for money.
“It’s ridiculous that we have to pay twice the price for tickets when the Red Sox or Yankees come to town,” said Eric Park. I’m definitely not going to the game then, and certainly not to study. The only people that come are Yankees and Red Sox fans, and they’re all a bunch of drunk, obnoxious morons! Besides, what O’s fan is going to come and watch their team get destroyed while being taunted in their own stadium.”
Lee Kim has another idea. “A group of students from Baltimore area colleges are hoping to put a petition together to keep Camden Yards from returning to being a popular place for fans. We have proposed firing Buck Showalter and rehiring Dave Trembley. While we’re not confident that will work, we’re pitching an idea to Baltimore area college presidents that they buy out the club level to allow us an interior place to study where we have options to keep noise levels at a minimum.”
While Orioles are entertaining ideas such as turning club level seats into music practice rooms equipped with grand pianos, solidified plans for the 2011 season are still a long fly ball away. However, one thing’s for certain in Charm City: while the Orioles are failing, Baltimore students are getting better grades.
This article is a parody and not meant to be taken seriously.