My family went to Baltimore in the summer of 2012 to visit family, and we took that perfect opportunity to watch a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. 

Camden Yards is one my favorite stadiums of all time. It is one of the nicest parks in the major leagues. When Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened on April 6, 1992, a new era of Major League Baseball began. The park was brand new, but still old-fashioned. State-of-the-art, yet quaint. At less than a day old, it was already a classic.  

Oriole Park at Camden Yards inspired a generation of ballpark construction. No longer would communities across America build multipurpose stadiums devoid of character, surrounded by vast parking lots. Ballparks would now be created to nestle neatly into existing and historic neighborhoods and play key roles in the revitalization of urban America.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards captured the nation's attention from day one and in the 20 seasons that followed, has served as the standard by which all new ballparks are measured. Citizens of Baltimore and all of Maryland, as well as Orioles fans throughout Birdland, should take great pride in the fact that their team makes its home in the ballpark that forever changed baseball.

The last few seasons, the Baltimore Orioles have been the worst team in baseball, but in 2012, they finished second in their division and made it to the playoffs by winning the Wild Card Game. We watched the Orioles play the eventual American League Champion Detroit Tigers on July 15, 2012. 

The main three things I remember about this game were Justin Verlander pitching one of the best games I’ve seen live, Miguel Cabrera hitting a towering home run in the ninth inning and hat it was probably the hottest day in Baltimore’s history. 

That day, Justin Verlander threw eight shut-out innings, giving up only three hits wile striking out eight. He had just come off a season where he won the Cy Young Award and the American League MVP. It was unreal seeing Verlander during the best stretch of his career. 

Miguel Cabrera’s home run went all of 440 feet to right-center field that day in Baltimore. The 2012 season was historic for Cabrera. He went on to win the Triple Crown that season, leading the American League in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. Cabrera won the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Words can’t describe how special it was to watch a player of his caliber during one baseball’s greatest seasons. 

Oriole Park at Camden Yards will always be in the top 5 on the list of my favorite stadiums, no matter how bad the Orioles are. 

On deck is Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals.

› Brad Nevels is a staff writer for the Jackson County Sentinel. He is on a quest to visit every MLB Stadium. Contact him via email at brad.nevels@jcsentinel.com.

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