Orioles vice president for planning and development Janet Marie Smith, whose conceptual fingerprints are all over Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the newly renovated Ed Smith spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla, has accepted a similar position with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Smith was the Orioles' architectural consultant during the planning and construction of Oriole Park and also played a significant role in the stadium improvements that were unveiled at the start of this year's 20th Anniversary celebration. Presumably, she will play the same role with the group that recently bought the Dodgers and is preparing to spend more than $100 million to upgrade Dodger Stadium.
"The Orioles greatly appreciate Janet Marie Smith's efforts over the past three years, as she has overseen the construction of our widely lauded ballpark in Sarasota and many significant enhancements to Oriole Park at Camden Yards,'' Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos said in a statement released by the club. "In Sarasota, the goal was to create a ballpark that the local community and all of our fans would be proud to visit, and after two record-setting springs, this has clearly been achieved.
"At Oriole Park, we asked Janet Marie to enhance the fan experience, honor our history, and revitalize some areas of the ballpark with new, more contemporary concepts. And in this 20th anniversary season, those objectives have resulted in bringing our fans the Roof Deck, Dempsey's and the Orioles Legends sculptures.
"Janet Marie was the perfect choice to oversee these projects, and we wish her the best of luck in her new role with the Dodgers."
Her departure probably shouldn't come as a big surprise, since the two-year project to upgrade Oriole Park is complete and Smith would seem to be an obvious choice to oversee the project to modernize the Dodger's 50-year-old home.
She has had a hand in several high-profile stadium construction and renovation projects. She was vice president of planning and development for the Atlanta Braves at the time that the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta was transformed into Turner Field and she played an instrumental role in the renovation of historic Fenway Park.
"Dodger Stadium is one of the most iconic venues in sports and Janet Marie is one of the few people I would trust with its future," said Dodgers president Stan Kasten in a release by the Dodgers. "She respects baseball's tradition and knows how to retain a ballpark's distinctive charms while providing fans with the amenities and comfort they've come to expect."
Monday evening, Smith said she is excited about the opportunity.
"Honestly, I couldn't be happier with the things I did with Peter Angelos,'' Smith said in a telephone interview. "He was extraordinary. I think what we did in Sarasota was a magical transformation and I think the things we did in Camden Yards was just what the Orioles needed to freshen up the place and help keep it current.