What happened to all the O’s fans?
Last year it was early September and I was at Camden Yards, and no this was not the series that ruined the Red Sox season. But I was at the yard and for the first time in my history as an Orioles fan I was sad. Obviously, when I say this I am sure most people are thinking, “this was the first time you were sad!? I think you have missed 15 years.” The reason I was sad wasn’t because we were losing, I had sort of grown used to the losing, but loved my Orioles anyway. I was sad because for the first time as an Orioles fan I felt beaten down by the other fans at our ballpark. Yes, for the past 15 Orioles seasons Yankees and Red Soxs fans have taken over our ballpark, but this was the first time I had felt overpowered. Early September and the Orioles are down and every visiting base hit, was rewarded with a loud roar. I was sitting with my closest friends, guys I bought season tickets with and just put my head in my hands and just couldn’t belive my eyes.
This season started like any other season, impossible to get your hands on opening day tickets. Is it because most “Orioles fans” thought this was the year for the Birds? No. In fact, everyone, experts and even myself predicted this team to finish in last place. Just like every other year, it was the masses coming out to get wasted and see their friends and Pickles Pub. Not to see Arrieta, who us Orioles fans still hold on to as having a chance to be a stud. Nope it was because the girls wanted to wear their new orange t-shirts and the juice heads wanted to stare at the girls. Let me tell you something, there could be no women within 50 miles of Camden Yards and I would be in heaven (no offense to the women that pay attention to the O’s). But even all of this I could forgive because it happens every year and you get used to either getting lucky and getting your opening day tickets or having tickets to game number two and about 15,000 attending.
Well the season has now gotten into September and the Orioles are contenders. I was 9 the last time this happened. Now I am 25, I have a full-time job and I am able to buy tickets of my own. For Father’s Day I bought my old man tickets to each and every sculpture game, mainly because I knew he would love getting to the park like 2 1/2 hours early and watching the guys he watched give their speeches. I loved it too. We were at the ballpark last Saturday night and I got to watch a kid I grew up with toe the mound at Camden Yards. Those were dreams we all had as little guys playing baseball together and he got to live his dream. The Yankees, Rays and Red Sox are all still due in town and I know I will be at a multiple number of those games. What makes me sick, as an O’s fan is this team has finally started to win and we as a community have turned our backs on them.
The Orioles just wrapped up a 4-game series with the division leading Chicago White Sox. Two teams in a race to the playoffs in their respective divisions, you figure 4 games, has to be at least 100,000 to draw there right? Try 48,000, not even half. Granted the MASN numbers apparently are at an all-time high, but getting home after a soccer game and watching Nate McLouth hit a 2-run bomb in the bottom of the 8th inning in a game that felt like it was the postseason, I obviously jumped up and down on my couch and screamed like I was 9 again, but you know the next thing I did? I stared at all the green. Not the green on the field, but the green in the stands from all the empty seats.
Now I have heard every excuse under the sun as to why people don’t go to games. Bad economy, too many kids to take, superstitions that, “if I go they might start to lose, I don’t want to jinx them.” They are all crap. You can buy a 7 dollar ticket to the game and visit one of the thousand vendors outside and buy two hot dogs chips and a soda for 5 bucks. Know how I know that…because that’s what my friends and I do. $12 bucks. 12 bucks to go to an Orioles game and get food. For those of you that smoke, that’s two packs of cigarettes. In fact, you know what guys from Boston and New York tell me. They come to Baltimore because it is cheaper to get 3 game tickets here than it is to get 1 in Boston, plus they know tickets will always be available. We as Orioles fans should be embarrassed. I bet if it was a Ravens game 70,000 asses would find their ways to seats and it would be a lot of Purple and Black sitting in those seats.
Camden Yards is the greatest ballpark in America. I have been to a few others, and nothing compares to Camden. Nothing has the layout or something as cool as a warehouse standing behind their field. It is an amazing place to watch a game. There is nothing better in the world, for me at least, than parking my car, putting on my Orioles jersey, meeting my friends at Pickles for a beer or two after work and then walking into that stadium. I mean how can you beat a stadium where you can literally buy a hot dog that is topped with mac n cheese, which is then topped off with crab meat. (by the way I’ve had one they are incredible, even if you hate baseball just go to have one of those hot dogs)
I get so upset to see that people won’t go and support this team. They are making a playoff push and we are nowhere to be found as fans. For 15 years we have complained about not going back to the yard until they win, and now they do and we still stay away. As far as I am concerned the current Orioles base are a group of liars. And I don’t want it to be the bandwagon fans that “take the yard back.” I hate them more than Yankees or Red Sox fans. I don’t want it to get down to late September and have to be fighting some kid that just figured out Brian Roberts has been hurt the majority of the year for a ticket. I want our fans, true Orioles fans to come back. Guys who understood what it was like to sit out there in 110 degree heat and watch a losing squad take on the Angels. (that was last year, hot as hell). Guys that have been to the ballpark and the sexy pitcher on the mound for us that day was Adam Loewen. (if you are somebody that is reading this, as an O’s fan, and doesn’t know who that is, your the guy I don’t want buying a ticket.)
I wasn’t alive in 1983. I don’t know how it felt to have a team ripped out from our town and flee in the middle of the night. But I do know that if that were to be the Orioles, I would probably cry…like a 9 year old little boy.
There are 14 Orioles home games left. Let’s show this team our support. Go to a game, even if it is only one.