Considered by many the best catcher in the history of the Baltimore Orioles not for his offensive numbers, but for his handling of the pitching staff and his quirky ways, Rick Dempsey has been a long lasting member of the franchise since coming to the team in 1976. After more than 1,200 games in the orange and black, a World Series Most Valuable Player Award, and numerous coaching positions, Dempsey works as a color commentator for MASN, the Orioles’ broadcast network.
Dempsey, using his name to capitalize on his Baltimore celebrity, is now trying his hand at being an entrepreneur, owning a bar-restaurant located inside the B&O Warehouse which provides the backdrop for Oriole Park at Camden Yards beyond the right field wall. The restaurant, along with the improved sight lines on the Eutaw Street flag court and the rooftop bar, was a featured renovation to Oriole Park for their 20th anniversary season in 2012.
However, Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant has not emphasized the majesty of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but has provided a blemish on the stadium that is revered around the league.
The Yelp! reviews for Dempsey’s are all positive, applauding their affordability in comparison to other stadium options as well as their food quality. The pub is also praised for its use of Oriole nostalgia, housing pictures of Dempsey and teammates from Baltimore’s glory years. As Yelp! user Jen M. reviews, “[Dempsey’s] is an homage to all the classic memories the hometown Baltimorian relishes. First thing – the taps for the craft microbrews have a bobblehead of Rick Dempsey on top. A damn bobblehead! It’s great! Decor features over sized trading cards of the home town heroes.”
As the 2012 season rolled on and the Orioles maintained their playoff position, Dempsey’s decided to capitalize on the successes of the club, placing a large advertisement in prime position for television cameras and fans in attendance.
The large, orange sign is bolted above Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant on the 107-year old B&O Warehouse, defacing the building that the Orioles and designers of Oriole Park at Camden Yards worked hard to maintain.
Fans of the Baltimore ballclub and the stadium have silently worked to have the sign removed from the face of the Warehouse. A petition is on change.org to remove the sign, saying, “The sign ruins the aesthetic feel and atmosphere of the ballpark.”
Comments on the petition echo the displeasure of many. “This is an iconic building, not a billboard location,” said one. Another adds, “Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse than that ugly Hilton Hotel that looms over the entire park, now this.”
At this time there is no word on whether the sign will stay for the 2013 Orioles season.