Moser’s return for Camden Yards reunion sparks memories
For Len Moser, a vice president with Barton Malow, the stadium’s general contractor, the June 3 event at the Red Sox-Orioles game provided a look back at his first job in sports. Little did he know that the retro ballpark would influence the future of stadiums and arenas.
In 1990, Moser was 24 and had just accepted a job with Michigan-based Barton Malow after graduating from Penn State’s architectural engineering program. The late Dave Pavlick, a fellow Penn State graduate who went to work for Barton Malow a few years earlier, interviewed Moser before he was hired by Bob Wyatt, the firm’s principal for the Camden Yards project. Moser went directly to Baltimore to start work as a project engineer for the Orioles’ ballpark. He spent the next 27 months on that project, completing his role toward the end of the park’s first season in 1992.
“I was very lucky,” Moser said. “Coming out of school, if you were in construction, the Baltimore-Washington market was the place to be. The economy had slowed down across the country, but there was still a lot of work going on in that area.”
|The Oriole Park video board showed reunited ballpark planners. BELOW: Robert Rayborn, Bob Wyatt and Len Moser
Plus, Moser loves baseball, which made his first project a perfect fit. He originally attended the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, and made the baseball team as a freshman walk-on before hurting his shoulder and calling it quits. Moser then transferred to Penn State, which was closer to his hometown of Pittsburgh.
As project engineer in Baltimore, Moser’s job was to review Camden Yards’ architectural drawings and coordinate submissions for all baseball specialty items, including the scoreboard and video board, backstop netting, the playing field and field wall padding. He also worked on a critical piece of ballpark design, the incorporation of the old B&O Railroad Warehouse into the stadium’s footprint. The warehouse framed Eutaw Street, the festive outfield walkway with restaurants, retail shops and outdoor concessions that has spawned similar spaces across MLB.
Twenty-five years later, Moser remains with Barton Malow and has worked on five MLB parks among a total of 30 sports developments. In early June, he returned to Baltimore to revisit the legacy project and renew old friendships with 35 to 40 others who played key roles in ballpark development. Those individuals included urban planner Janet Marie Smith, Populous architect Joe Spear, construction executive Robert Rayborn, former Orioles president and CEO Larry Lucchino and Bruce Hoffman, former executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, the ballpark’s owner.
“At the time, we didn’t know what Camden Yards would really mean,” Moser said. “I stood up on the bridge over Eutaw Street … the visuals are locked in your memory bank.”
> TOPPING OUT: 4Topps, the seating company that first made its mark in baseball by producing a flexible premium seat product with four swivel chairs and a half-moon table, has seen its business grow by selling individual seats, according to company officials.
The Winston-Salem, N.C., firm makes a mesh seat product, which is cooler than molded plastic, in several designs for outdoor use, and sales have been brisk, especially for college football and NFL stadiums, said Deron Nardo, a principal with 4Topps and its president of sales and marketing.
To date, North Carolina State, Texas Tech and Arkansas State have purchased mesh seats, and Colorado State bought 240 mesh seats as part of the loge boxes at the Mountain West school’s new $220 million stadium opening in September.
In the NFL, the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers have bought mesh bar stools as an upgrade for club seat holders at Bank of America Stadium and Heinz Field. They join the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in featuring those products at their stadiums.