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?
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.