Thom Loverro: Bryce Harper getting a chance to take it to the warehouse

|
Sports,MLB,Nationals,Orioles,Thom Loverro

There it sits beyond right field, about 460 feet from home plate at Camden Yards: the B&O Warehouse, reputedly the longest building on the East Coast and still uncharted territory for major league hitters.

It was to be demolished in the original plans for the ballpark. Then there was a proposal to cut it in half.

Fortunately, visionary heads prevailed, and the B&O Warehouse has become the signature scene of Camden Yards and an iconic baseball landmark.

It also has yet to be hit in a regular-season Major League Baseball game.

Bryce Harper, the warehouse awaits.

Ken Griffey, Jr., hit the warehouse in 1993. But that was in the Home Run Derby. The spot where he hit the building is marked with a bronze plaque.

No one has touched it since.

It's got Harper's name written all over it. They might as well order the plaque now. Sooner or later, he is going to hit that warehouse.

Why not Wednesday or Thursday, when the Nationals face the Orioles at Camden Yards?

Bursitis in his left knee, you say, will stop him? He's going to sit for a few games?

That's what they created the designated hitter for.

It's not the first time Harper will see the warehouse. He was in the lineup last June when the Nationals went to Baltimore. But he was still a wide-eyed, 19-year-old rookie then, and while we said we expected great things, we really didn't have an idea that we were watching a player capable of great things any time he steps on the field or up to the plate.

When Camden Yards opened in 1992, the great Sam Horn predicted he would be the one to hit the warehouse.

"Eventually, I think I will, but I don't want to make that the focus," he told the Baltimore Sun, which was hooey, because Sam lived to hit that building until he was no longer an Oriole.

Horn never even made it to Eutaw Street, the walkway where balls heading for the warehouse wind up dying and are marked by bronze plaques in the street. Before the start of the 2013 season, 66 home runs have landed on Eutaw Street.

Mickey "Fruit Loop" Tettleton hit the first one -- not for the Orioles, but for the Detroit Tigers -- on April 20, 1992. The longest ever hit was by Lance Berkman, who blasted a 444-foot shot in 2011. It was Berkman's second Eutaw Street homer.

The next longest was a former Expo, Henry Rodriguez, in 1997, a 443-foot blast.

Adam Dunn made his mark on Eutaw Street for the Nationals with a 442-foot homer in 2009.

Harper may have a bum knee. But he also has stage presence. Hitting the warehouse is a Broadway show.

Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

View article comments Leave a comment