Lonely, solitary folks

March 18, 2008 |

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Not so long ago, the entrance to the players’ parking lot at Fort Lauderdale Stadium was crammed with people at 7:30 a.m., when players started arriving for a day’s work at the Baltimore Orioles’ spring camp.

Now, on a good day, you’ll see — at best — a handful of people, clutching looseleaf binders fill with baseball cards or other items in search of autographs. And when did getting autographs become the exclusive domain of middle-aged white guys? What became of the kids?

Apparently, the national media and the local media types aren’t the only ones who figure the Birds will have a rough go at it this season. I’m not jumping on the 100-loss bandwagon, since I believe it’s incredibly difficult for a team to lose 100 games in this era. But we’re in for a long summer.

Fans are also showing their indifference, maybe because they’re tired of too many losing seasons, and maybe because they don’t see enough starpower to warrant their time seeking signatures.