9-2! That was the record of Davey Johnson when he started managing the Baltimore Orioles in 1996. That happens to, also, be the record of the new skipper of the Orange and Black, Buck Showalter. With that record, Orioles Magic seems to be creeping back in the Baltimore Sports landscape. And make no mistake, the fans want the O’s to become winners again. However, the success of the Orioles comes at a time where Baltimore sports fans have grown accustomed to getting ready for football season.
The Ravens just had their first preseason game, a 17-12 victory over the Carolina Panthers in front over 70,000 fans. The Orioles haven’t seen a sold-out crowd in quite some time. The Ravens have taken over the city. One can find it ironic that their rise to success happened during the Orioles’ slide to failure. For thirteen years, fans have watched the Orioles produce a losing record. Barring a miracle, they will do so again this year. However, there is some optimism that next year for the Orioles will be great, given their start under Showalter right now. Especially given Showalter’s success in his second year with teams, usually taking them to the playoffs.
Time will tell whether or not Showalter can turn it around. But history has shown that the Ravens will do anything to stay in playoff contention. Outstanding drafts, great offseason free-agent signings, and great coaching have given the Ravens an unbelievable fanbase. And while some would believe that having another team in Washington would damage the fanbase, the Ravens have proven that the key is winning. Winning keeps the fans coming back time after time. 13 years of losing have pushed the fans away, not the Nationals. And winning will bring the fans back.
13 years! Yes, it has been said numerous times. But that’s how long it has been since Baltimore sports fans have had the opportunity to debate which is more powerful, Purple Pride or Orioles Magic. Isn’t it great that we can have these conversations again? Isn’t it great that fans will continue to talk about the Orioles, even going into this upcoming offseason? Baltimore is a true sports town. Baltimore has always had a diehard fanbase that wants to support its’ teams. Wouldn’t it be great if we can talk about how BOTH teams were in the playoffs. Maybe 2012 will give us that opportunity. Until then, keep debating!