To everyone who contributed to ’96-’97 Orioles celebration: Thanks and No Thanks

July 23, 2011 | Peter Dilutis

I didn’t want that celebration yesterday to end. I honestly didn’t. I was stuck in a time machine back to when I was six and seven years old and I didn’t want to leave because I love baseball. I love the Baltimore Orioles. I really do. That’s why I grew up wanting to do what I’m doing.

As soon as I got out of the car and went inside my house, I turned on MASN and O’s Xtra and the pain started. The pain of seeing a half empty stadium on a Friday night. The disgust of seeing a boneheaded offseason signing putting yet another game out of reach. The sadness of seeing legitimate major league players in Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, and Mark Reynolds just wallow in the O’s misery.

Honeymoon over. Celebration over. Robbie Alomar wasn’t at second base. Scott Erickson wasn’t on the mound. Pat Gillick wasn’t in the front office suite.

Those times are over. Gone.

What I witnessed in Baltimore at Camden Yards when I was in kindergarten is something that I have yet to see again. In fact, no one in my generation has witnessed it. To people my age that didn’t care about the Orioles when they were that young, the Orioles don’t even represent a relevant baseball team. The notion of going to an O’s game on a Friday night isn’t about the game for them. It’s about going and getting a six dollar ticket, sitting in the upper deck trying to get drunk and leaving in the sixth inning because there’s nothing better to do at Camden Yards these days.

An entire generation of people have lost their baseball team in Baltimore. They’ve lost it. People like us look at people like Rick Donovan and wonder where the passion comes from. How is it still there?