Why are you mad that Phillies fans took over the ballpark? You knew it was going to happen…

June 10, 2012 | Drew Forrester

I wasn’t in Baltimore for most of this past weekend, so I didn’t get a chance to witness the Orioles and Phillies live and in-person.

But I read enough e-mails and saw plenty of Twitter outrage to know what happened Friday through Sunday.  Philadelphia baseball fans took over the ballpark in Baltimore for three days.

So…that surprises you?

It shouldn’t.

And, frankly, it shouldn’t even anger you.

For starters, there’s no way to keep them out.  Second, the Orioles themselves – the front office, that is – are thrilled to see upwards of 135,000 people make their way into the stadium.  The color of the t-shirt they’re wearing doesn’t bother the organization one iota.  If you think the Orioles’ brass is miffed with the overflow of Phillies fans in the house, you’re nuts.  Out of town fans spend American money just like hometown fans would if they bothered to show up and support the Birds.

I understand why it irritates the common fan.  It’s just not pleasant to have 27,000 of “their” fans in the place and 13,000 of your own on a Friday night.  I get it.  But I’ve stopped fretting over it.  This is the way it’s going to be here for a long time to come.  Sorry to be the guy delivering that dose of reality to you, but Boston, New York and Philadelphia fans will take over the ballpark when their team comes to town.  There just aren’t enough die-hard Orioles fans left to fill all 45,000 of those seats night-in and night-out.

The Orioles success on the field this season isn’t anywhere near enough to turn the tide on the situation involving visiting fans.  It’s going to take years and years of winning and “doing the right thing” from the desks of the front office folk before a new generation of Baltimore baseball fans start bleeding orange to the point that it gets them to the stadium 15-20 times a season.

The best thing you can do right now is the same advice I gave you back in early May when the club got off to that blazing start and we had a certain segment of the fan base up in arms over “bandwagon” Orioles fans who were suddenly back in the fold because the team was winning.

Stop worrying about who is a fan, who isn’t a fan, what fans are actually coming to the games and what fans aren’t…and just watch the team play good baseball and hope they continue to do so.

It’s been so long since we’ve actually had a decent team in Baltimore that I find myself on most nights just settling in to (hopefully) enjoy a team with a reasonable chance of winning.  I’m still looking smarter-than-ever because I’m the goof in town who said they’d win 78 games…but no matter how many they win, I know for certain this brand of baseball that we’ve watched over the first 60 games is far more pleasing than the garbage teams the organization has made us support over the last six years or so.

Just watch the games.  Cheer for the team.  And stop worrying about other team’s fans coming in and taking over the stadium.

It’s not going to change.

Not for a long time, anyway.

7 Comments For This Post

  1. Winston Says:

    Big picture: the weekend put money in people’s pockets so they can pay their rent/mortgage and feed their families, so you’re right, there’s no reason to be mad about Philly fans filling seats. One point I do disagree with is the point that years of winning will have to happen for seats to be filled. For a Monday night in May, versus KC? Sure. But if the O’s are battling for a playoff spot in September, you can bet that series vs TOR in the last week will be 45,000+ a game. It won’t take years. Fans want to see a winner ASAP.

  2. over40 DON Says:

    Hey drew, Please have Nestor read this. You two are definetly Not on the same page. You are correct in that it will take years to ressurect the local fan base. Common sense PR policies would be a great start. Like no walk up fee for day of game tickets. You might be surprised how many people have never heard of it.

  3. Lisa, Aberdeen Says:

    I was at Saturdays game. I knew it would be a sea of red. The Let’s Go Phiiles chants – knew the Oriole fans couldn’t drown them out (hard to do when you are out numbered). It wasn’t until the 8th when Thome tied game, when he walked off field about 80% of stadium (in red of course) gave him a standing ovation. That made me sick. However, I got great pleasure hooting n hollering when Jones finished game with his HR. If I had my choice of “sea of red” I’d take Phillies fans over Red Sox fans. All the Philly fans I met n talked with were very nice (and a pleasure to talk to).

  4. keith Says:

    People have very short memories around here. The focus has been primarily on the last 14 seasons being well below the .500 mark.. OPACY was filled for years with not-so-good Oriole teams taking that field. Why? Because the park was new and fresh. Remember the complaints about the wine and cheese crowds and the attitude of those fans?

    The tradition of consistently winning Oriole teams stopped with the 1983 championship. Since then they’ve only been above .500 8 times, That’s 8 times over 28 seasons. From the day they arrived in Baltimore in 1954 until they won their last World Series title in 1983, they were UNDER .500 a total of 7 times. That’s 7 times in 30 seasons.

    When you talk about attendance at ballparks being down, it’s nothing to do with winning or losing. I still remember the slogan “a million or more in 74” when Chuck Thompson used to say, “it’s a beautiful afternoon and we’ve got plenty of room, so come on over..”

    The Orioles were annual contenders and made the playoffs I think 6 straight seasons from 1969-1974 and they STILL couldn’t draw 1 million people. Memorial Stadium was just a tad bit older then as OPACY is now, so the newness thing is about worn off..and no one is going just to look at bronze statues that SHOULD have been there since 1992.

    And people are JUST starting to complain????? Please….

  5. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    Every team is going to win 40 games and every team is going to lose 40 games it is what you do with the remaing 82 that decides between a great year or a bad year. Winning baseball games sparks interest back in the fans and they will start to refill Camden Yards, but you are right Drew it will take time. Let the merchants enjoy a money-making weekend, they have been suffering for a long time with losing baseball. I pretty sure Philly money is still green.

  6. Jason Manelli Says:

    Agreed Drew – it will take a long time for the fan base to really come back. A great step to getting that to happen would be to cut the PR department loose to arrange interviews with outlets all over town. Engaging fans where they seek their news and entertainment instead of the arrogance of making fans go to the rights holder, or the O’s media outlet, for evey shred of O’s news and info. I think with all the positive changes of the last few seasons this last change would finally turn the tide on the O’s resurrection as a real home town team.

  7. Eddie Says:

    Not mad at all , It was great to have a full house Sat and Sun.
    Hope The Pirates series does the same . Baseball is always better with a big crowd . It’s never about just the “home” team but the competition. It takes two teams to make an interesting day at the Ball Yard. As Pete would say ,, Ka-Ching $$, goes the cash drawer . That Bud Selig is a genius for coming up with inter league play, don’t ya think ?

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