Yankee Stadium at Camden Yards

July 30, 2007 | Drew Forrester

Anyone else notice it?

While 25,000 or so Baltimore baseball fans converged on New York this weekend to be part of an Orioles success story, 25,000 or so New York baseball fans converged on Baltimore to be part of a Yankees success story.

Weird, huh?

Perhaps the most antagonizing element of this “decade of despair” is the way our ballpark in Baltimore becomes Yankee Stadium south every time the Bronx Bombers come to town.

It would be akin to “y’ins” invading M&T Bank Stadium to the tune of 30,000 of so yellow-towel-waving-faithful every time Big Ben led the troops from the Steel City into Baltimore.  Stop for just a second and imagine this December 30…Hines Ward catches a TD pass in the 3rd quarter to put the Steelers up 20-10 and the place erupts in joy.  Breaking out into a cold sweat?  Me too.

Well, that’s what’s been happening in Baltimore for a long time whenever the Yankees come to town.

Somehow, it has to end.

Realize this, though.  While you and I absolutely loathe the fact that our baseball stadium is filled with New York fans 9 or 10 times a season, the front office secretly loves it.  More revenue, more tickets purchased, more beer sold, more hot dogs peddled and more commissions from the ATM machines in the stadium.  We hate it.  The team LOVES it.

But there’s NOTHING worse than going to the ballpark and having YOUR stadium invaded by THEIR fans.

I’d rather go to a game and see the O’s lose 11-1 with NONE of the New York fans there than to see the O’s lose 2-1 in a nail-biter with 20,000 of the New York faithful in attendance.  Either way, a loss is a loss, but I’ll take A-Rod hitting 4 HR’s in a 16-2 romp as long as none of their maniacs are in the stadium to cheer for them.

Side note:  I will more than likely be the first person in town to say this, so read it carefully.  It comes with a qualifier, which I’ll get to in a second…but here goes.  Ready?  Take a deep breath.  I think the Orioles are going to be playoff contenders next season.  It’s been so long since I’ve written that – or thought it – that I’m going to write again.  I think the Orioles are going to be playoff contenders next season.  Now, the qualifier.  They still need to make some off-season additions and they need a power hitter or two, at the very least.  And their off-season efforts will in some way be linked to what they do over the last 60 games this season.  But if they finish somewhere around .500 this season, and Pete lets Andy MacPhail spend the necessary money this Fall/Winter, I think next September could include meaningful baseball.  And that, of course, would be quite a triumph for a team that has patented the 4th place finish in the American League East since 1998.

This concept of “Yankee Stadium at Camden Yards” must stop.

Sure, it happens elsewhere around the American League.  In Tampa, they draw 40,000 or so for the Yankees and 11,000 for the rest of the teams (gee, that actually sounds familiar…) and they have no heritage to reflect upon, so 40,000 is 40,000.  They don’t really care how they draw ’em, they’re just happy to have the stands filled.  It’s the same in Texas, where the Yankees are a huge draw and the Rangers probably don’t mind since everyone in Arlington is just stopping-in to kill some time before Cowboys season starts.

Here in Baltimore, we care.  Well, actually, we used to care.

We don’t care anymore.

That’s why 25,000 of THEIR fans show up in OUR ballpark and make life miserable for OUR players and OUR fans.

But the reason people don’t care anymore is because it appears our franchise doesn’t care about the influx of New Yorkers.

When the O’s take steps to right their ship, the stadium will be filled with BALTIMORE people again.

In the meantime, the whole city looks like a scene from “A Bronx Tale” everytime the Yankees are in town.

Here’s to hoping next season is different.

12 hours until the start of Ravens training camp.

I’m feeling very purple tonight.

Speaking of New Yorkers in Baltimore, I’m hearing that Nestor shot some very interesting footage on Friday and it will soon be up on WNSTv for all of you to see.

Have a great week…