Fans at the Yard

June 13, 2012 | Tom Federline

I do not understand all the hullabaloo acknowledging Philly fans in attendance at Camden Yards this past weekend. Was the Yard packed? Was the Yard packed with baseball fans? Were Philly fans in attendance? Were Oriole fans in attendance? Were the Philly fans drowned out at attempts to cheer for their team? I believe the answer is “yes” to all. So what’s the problem? Baseball fans enjoying baseball at one of the more elite Parks in the league. Should Camden Yards be at capacity with all Oriole fans? Yes. But does that really happen? Does that really happen at any Major League ballpark? The answer would be NO to the last two questions. Home fans, opposing fans, fair weather fans all intermingled into one setting. 120,000+ fans over a weekend and O’s take 2 out of 3 – sounds good to me.

People getting a little miffed that other baseball fans spend their money and time to visit Baltimore and Camden Yards. People getting miffed that Baltimoreans are not buying tickets for a losing franchise and greedy owner. People making videos of Philly fans at Camden Yards accompanied by a cover tune of “Philadelphia Freedom”.  I don’t get it. If you’re so miffed – go buy a ticket, get your friends to buy a ticket, be content you are doing your part. If you’re feeling strong about video – make a contrasting video on the other side of Camden Yards of Oriole fans leaving the Park going to their cars and Light rail to the tune of “Orioles Magic”. Maybe even make that video after Sundays game, after the O’s beat the Phillies in back-to-back extra inning games.

Why waste time publishing a “revolting” video clip of Philly fans leaving Camden Yards? I will admit, it always compelling to “stir the pot”. Missiion acomplished. A Philadelphia take-over? No, I don’t think so. The video was shot of out-of town fans heading down Conway street towards the Inner Harbor and their hotels. Baltimore fans are not headed down Conway to the Inner Harbor. Baltimore fans are headed home. How about this notion?  Philly fans travel and support their team well. And so do Yankee fans, Blue Jay fans, Boston fans, etc. etc. Philadelphia is 90 minutes up the road. Would you rather see a baseball game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia or Camden Yards in Baltimore?

I would rather see “fans” in the stadium than “people”. The only thing “people” add to the park are lines and rude cell phone usage. Opposing fans can be obtrusive at times and so can our own home town crowd. Ever go to a Friday night student drunk fest? Respectful opposing fans add to the event.

I have experienced section 34 at Memorial Stadium. I have experienced the “Golden” sold-out Years of Camden Yards. I have experienced these past 15 “lost” years. Give me 10-15,000 true Oriole baseball “fans” over 45,000 “people” in the stands any day. I would rather spend my time and money at a game with “fans – that want to be there” as opposed to “people – wanting to be there because it’s the thing to do.” I would rather “strike up” a conversation with a knowledgeable sports fan, than “listen” to a conversation of some cell phone using moron or Betty and Sue talking about Earl from the office and their next Zumba class.

Of course I’m not the one counting on the revenue from those “people”. It’s real simple and we have all heard it before – win and more “people” will show. Do I like it when there’s a sea of red (Boston or Phillies), blue (Yankees) at the Yards? Heck no. Do I like it when they start cheering for their home team? Heck no. I don’t even like it if an opposing fan is sitting in the same section as I am. Am I at the ballpark? Do I contribute and cheer louder than they do? Depending on the individual, do I strike up a conversation with that opposing fan? Yes, yes and yes.  

 The Oriole/baseball “fans” are there at Camden Yards. Come join us. We are the ones in faded orange shirts and the ones not talking, e-mailing or tweeting on cell phones within the bowl. We are the ones that start our own cheers and not instructed to cheer by the Diamond Vision. Camden Yards is a nice evening out, at half capacity and Oriole Fans. Now bring on the playoffs, a packed house and the orange Kool-aid.

How about Roberts last night? Cross fingers. Get Markakis back, pitching holds/gets better, Andino on third,  “Orioles Magic” – make it happen.