How the Orioles determine where a Eutaw Street homer lands
If you've watched an Orioles broadcast, you know how difficult it can be to determine where a Camden Yards home run will land once it sails off in the direction of the out-of-town scoreboard. A safe phrase to use, some version of which has been employed regularly by the home broadcast team, is "that one might reach Eutaw Street."
The task can be even more challenging for an out-of-town crew. As I noted in a previous post, the Kansas City Royals' broadcast team suggested earlier this season that a home run by Chris Davis might hit the Warehouse when it ultimately failed to even reach Eutaw Street.
Clearly, it's no easy task to determine where a home run to right field at Camden Yards will land. Even after a ball has touched down, it can be unclear whether the home run actually reached Eutaw Street. That's no small matter given that the Orioles honor each Eutaw Street home run with a bronze baseball embedded in the sidewalk.
Back in 1996, writers from The Sun and Washington Post - Buster Olney and Mark Maske, respectively - indicated that Rafael Palmeiro's second-inning home run on April 3 had bounced off the fence in front of Eutaw Street and headed back toward the stands. Bill Wagner of the Annapolis Capital had an alternative take, writing instead that the ball bounced off of the canopy for Boog's Barbecue. The latter was correct as the hit turned out to be the first of Rafael Palmeiro's five Eutaw Street home runs.
So how do the Orioles determine those Eutaw Street home runs?
Orioles PR Director Monica Barlow explained in an email that event staff stationed on Eutaw Street typically identify where a ball lands. If necessary, cameras on Eutaw Street can be used to confirm the location.
"Usually we can tell from the press box but to confirm I or a member of my staff will call a member of our Ballpark Operations department to confirm that the ball landed on Eutaw," Barlow wrote. "Once in a while there might be a slight delay but usually we know pretty quickly."
Barlow added that her staff keeps an Excel file, broken down by O's batters and visiting batters, of every Eutaw Street home run. The file includes relevant details such as the date and pitcher.
"We can quickly refer to it to find out what number Eutaw Street home run overall it is as well as what number by an Oriole or visiting player," Barlow wrote.
The details are announced in the press box, which is why you're able to hear them on the radio and television broadcasts so quickly after the home run. The details often tend to fill the Twitter timelines of the Orioles' beat writers as well.
And what may be unclear to fans watching at home, writers in the press box or even the broadcasters themselves has never been in doubt for the Orioles, according to Barlow.
"I have been here 12 years and can’t remember a time where we thought a ball hit the Warehouse or where we couldn’t figure out where it landed," she stated.