On April 13th, after a 37 year hiatus, the Baltimore Orioles road jerseys will contain the cursive script “Baltimore”.
While this move might not look like anything major, it was a way for the Orioles to bring fans and give people a sense of pride in their team.
For years the Orioles were viewed as “Mid- Atlantic’s team”. The Orioles marketed themselves to fans from Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, often overlooking the fans that care most, the fans that actually live in Baltimore.
The Orioles always have and always will be “Baltimore’s” team, if people outside of Maryland want to like them that is fine, but now when they buy a road jersey, it will say “Baltimore” on it.
The Orioles organization has one of the richest traditions of any team in the Major Leagues. Players like Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Boog Powell, and Rick Dempsey were not just viewed as players that represented the team; they were looked as representatives of the city.
The era that these players played in was completely different from the era today. Those players could often be seen eating at the same restaurants, drinking at the same bars, and walking the same streets on a daily basis as your average Baltimorean.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s it was not as imperative that the jersey’s say Baltimore on them because the fans saw the players everyday and the players were part of the community.
Today’s players are often viewed as money grubbers that don’t care about anyone but themselves. Many players have homes outside of Baltimore and they reside there when the season is over. The fans today do not have the same rapport that they had with players from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
Putting Baltimore on the road jerseys is a small step to remind the fans these Orioles are not just playing for themselves and a contract, they are playing for Baltimore.
Baltimore is the best sports town in America with the most knowledgeable and prideful fans of any city in this country. We have a tremendous sense of pride and often feel overlooked.
Once when I traveled to a visiting stadium, the hometown fans asked my friends and I where we were from. When we responded and told them we were from Baltimore they finally remembered that the Orioles were from Baltimore. Now, everyone will know.
Every other team that comes to Camden Yards (with the exception of the Cardinals and Phillies) comes with the name of their city on their jerseys. Those players are identified as representatives of that city.
Now Baltimore fans can hold their heads up and say that is OUR team, not Virginia’s team, not Delaware’s team and not York Pennsylvania’s team, but Baltimore’s team.
Amidst the “Mark Teixeira” circus, the Orioles front office made a move that will pay more dividends then any player would, a move that didn’t cost millions of dollars and went noticed everywhere outside of Baltimore. From now on baseball fans everywhere will know that Baltimore is the home of the Orioles.