Orioles are finally in pennant race — but where are Baltimore baseball fans?

August 08, 2012 | Nestor Aparicio

Orioles are finally in pennant race — but where are Baltimore baseball fans?

I’ve argued with WNST morning show host Drew Forrester for a decade about this. He’s always said – much like everyone in the Angelos family – “When the Orioles win they’ll ALL come back!”

Well, in case you haven’t noticed while you were dusting off your purple gear this week for tomorrow night’s meaningless and mostly unentertaining Ravens game in Atlanta, the 2012 Baltimore Orioles are just about everything you’d want in a MLB team in a “small market” where the owner is pocketing over $100 million in profit every year.

They have young stars. They are exciting every night – including last night’s 14-inning marathon victory over the Seattle Mariners that unfolded like The Ilyiad. They seem to play sudden death baseball a lot. It’s almost like they WANT you to fall asleep on them.

And these days, it appears, that most Baltimore sports fans have in fact “gone to sleep on the Orioles.”

By and large, most of you are not coming to Orioles games right now. The Orioles haven’t inspired you to buy a ticket, despite their good fortunes and entertainment value on the field.

This is a perfect day for me to write about going to Orioles games because I’m going to the game tonight.

Why?

Well, I got free tickets.

My complaints and reasons for not giving Peter Angelos my money are legendary and well-documented. The incident when the team stiffed me on a $30,000 sponsorship, then attacked me at a game in 2004 and sent an apology note signed, “The Bird.” Then, after 21 years of covering the Baltimore Orioles through three ownership groups, they took my press pass in 2007 and have summarily lied about why, which is standard operating procedure from the Angelos family.

Hell, four months ago at a charity cocktail function, Brady Anderson told me I “should leave Baltimore if I don’t like the way the team is being run.”

But I still watch them every night – which either makes me a sucker, a fool or an eternal optimist. Or maybe just someone who loves Baltimore and the Orioles and remembers how much fun baseball was for the entire community before Angelos wrecked the franchise for anyone who takes the time to examine all of the facts.

Oh, here’s one more warm and fuzzy — this Friday will mark the one-year anniversary that one of their legendary players, broadcaster and caring front office man Mike Flanagan put a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger.

The Orioles have played 110 games this year. I’ve watched about 95 of them in their entirety. The other 15 I’ve either fallen asleep (like last night) or kept track via my mobile device on WNST’s live box score feature.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might find five games where I haven’t been live tweeting most of the evening from my couch. So, I’m qualified to bitch in many ways because I’m the biggest Baltimore Orioles fan you’ll ever find.

And, again, I’m not giving Angelos my money – not tonight or any night.

In Dundalk, we would simply call him a scumbag and leave it at that.

But he doesn’t care about whether you or I come to the ballpark. He’s sucking that $3.00 per month from my cable bill and yours, 

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19 Comments For This Post

  1. John Says:

    Always good to have an Angelos gripe first thing in the morning! I love it.
    I don’t go now because it’s an expensive hassle and too easy to watch on tv (and fall asleep on like last night). Now, if we get a playoff game or something I’d be there in a second because then perhaps I’d realize “this may be for real.” Right now I’m still in the mindset of the last decade plus: the winning won’t last, so should I really spend a hundred bucks and be exhausted the entire next day?

    Of course I will be at every Ravens home game.

  2. Brad A Says:

    I have been to more games this year than I have ever been. The Empty seats have been depressing. I wish people can put peter Angelo’s aside for a second and go cheer on this team. The players don’t deserve you neglect. You can go buy a 15-dollar ticket and not buy anything at the game. Go take your own stuff. But for the position that we are in the crowds have been crappy as hell.

  3. unitastoberry Says:

    I have not been to one game this year. Why? Well I have been fishing alot this summer but I have been listening and watching on TV. Last year I went to 1 game thats been about the average for me for the last 17 yrs. In my youth I would attend 15-20 games a year at a stadium which compared to OPACY was a dump.I was thinking this last night as the 5000 or so fans who remained tried to get the team going in the late innings.I go to almost every football game in this town going back to the late 60s and that includes the CFL Colts.

  4. Patrick Says:

    you’re forgetting one very important thing….the economy…many people just cant do it like they used to…case in point, my father does a charity golf event every august at winters run to benefit Marines Helping Marines. This year, the event is nothing like it has been in the past because sponsors are down due to the economy and the same goes for the number of golfers….we ask why and the answer is the same, “We or I just dont have it this year”….same goes for oriole games….

  5. Joe V. Says:

    I have been to 5 games this year, even paid for 4 seats on my birthday. I gave up my Sunday plan 4th years ago when I could not give them away. Why dont I go more? The experience isnt as good, I dont like all the nickel and diming, the way the staff treats you is generally poor. There is guy who demands to check your ticket as you get of
    f the escalator@club level. This is after a nice guy checks tickets as you get on it.

  6. jeff Says:

    The O’s are being challenged by the Nats, who have a new stadium, a 1st place team, and fans that haven’t seen a winning season in longer than the o’s

  7. justafan Says:

    It’s the economy that is forcing people stay home. In our tax and spend State of Maryland, A great deal of our money is going to Martin O’Malley and his cronies, not to mention the Federal Government where President Obama’s main goal is to reduce all salaries to that equal to a child’s allowance. Besides it is difficult to get out to the ball park too often when parking costs $15 minimum followed by at least a half mile walk to the stadium. Fortunately for me, as a Senior Citizen, I ride the light rail for the round trip fare of $1.10. This enables me to get to the ball park 15 to 20 times a year.

  8. Mike from Carney Says:

    Nice spin, but the Nats have the best record in baseball, and staring at a half empty stadium.

    Two dollar seats on Tuesday and still empty.

    And for the people that can only go to a few games a month, Saturday’s #33 induction will be epic.

    Why not enjoy the year? I’m still enjoying at least a winning season. Enjoy you walkout of two in the 6th inning.

  9. bill Says:

    Brady is right, heed his advice Negative Nelly….Have you heard about something called the freaking economy? It kinda has sucked for years now, okay? Jeez….

  10. Chris from Bel Air Says:

    I generally agree with you Nestor, but don’t you think Britton pitching last night had an impact. Tonight should be real interesting with the hometown angle.

  11. Oriole85 Says:

    I don’t think Drew is wrong per se, I don’t expect all the fans to comeback overnight. This will take years to rebuild the fanbase and you see this in other cities.

  12. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    After 14 years of losing , I think fans have just found other avenues to spend there money. A half of a year of winning is not enough to bring fans back to the ballpark in droves. As far as Brady Anderson telling you to leave, what in the world did he ever do in his career that didn’t involve steroids. He was a talented minor league player they got in a trade, who never blossomed into a great player. Sure he hit 50 steroid home runs and got the big contract, but was way overpaid for his talent. And today he is a Angelos LEECH and will never talk bad about Angelos.

  13. John D. Says:

    So let me get this right….First you try and organize a second protest to walk out on the Orioles to which the effect would be less people in the seats. Now you are complaining because there is no one there? You confuse me by talking out of both sides of your mouth. One minute you try to rally people to leave the stadium and the next you are mad becuase people arent going. Make up your mind Nestor, you are the type of person who tries to find something to complain about.

  14. Jason Manelli Says:

    I’m proud of the way the team is playing, but I’ve only made it to three games this season. I think Nestor is right about the apathy, it’s hard to put your finger on why the fan base is not more engaged. The empty seats are one thing, but it also comes down to day to day interactions, and the O’s are just not the water cooler subject. One thing I forget is that there is no more free tv broadcast of the games, and I think this is a major factor keeping the poorer parts of the fan base disengaged.

  15. Budice05 Says:

    I live in the Lehigh Valley PA area surrounded by obnoxious Yankees and front running Phillies fans and I still make it down to a 1/2 dozen games a year. I am even possibly planning my vacation in September to do a Disney World/Univeral/Tampa Rays clinch playoff spot trip if I can swing it with my busy work schedule. Nestor, I admire your awesome passion of Baltimore Sports but I don’t agree on this one. It is probably due to my love of the O’s as a baseball team is greater than my disgust for Angelos and his lackies in the front office.

  16. tsnamm Says:

    @Steve from Sandpoint…you hit that one right on the head concerning Brady Anderson…he ought to just shut up, and thank God that they waited a few more years before testing for PED’s…he hit 50 once and that was it…as I recall he might have gone to the Yankees in free agency, when it looked as if Bernie Williams might be following Buck Showalter to Arizona…instead the O’s overpaid for him to stay here and he never had another year like it…ever.

  17. mark Says:

    Hey ever heard of the economy??? Its not the best right now. I dont go as often because I cant afford to go to as many. The attendance is up this year vs. other years. 14 years of losing wont be forgotten overnight but its getting better. The more they win the better it will get. In closing stop looking for a reason to bitch and complain. Sense you cant bitch about the w/l record this year you start bitching about the attendance. As far as being “attacked” at the game…..boo hoo you got squirted by a water gun, get over yourself or take brady’s advice and move.

  18. Bill Says:

    Where to start? Well first you saying your the biggest ORiole fan of all time is like saying Rush Limbaugh is the biggest Obama fan of all time. I Mean what a joke you are. Second of all you would have so much more credibility if you for a minute were balanced even just a little. Where was your article when the Orioles Nationals series was packed. How about the Orioles Tigers series that averaged over 35,000 people that weekend. And Drew is right. the attendance will most likely be better this year than what it was in the last three. It will never be like it was in the 90s. By the way do you believe in history at all? The only time the Orioles did well was the 20 year period between the colts sucking and the Ravens arriving. All those great Oriole teams always played in less than stepper crowds. Here’s more research you were too lazy to do. The Orioles are averaging 26000 fans this year which although low is higher than the white sox and four other playoff contenders. It’s only three hundred less than the pirates and 3000 less than the nationals and mets. Oh by the way 2011 they were averaging 21000 which is less than 26000. You used to be a good writer when you actually wrote about more than just your utter and biased hatred for Angeloes. Now your just lazy and wrong. Call me an apologist call me a fool but at least I’m not a bitter “old” man.

  19. bill Says:

    Dumb#ss does everything he can to keep people from the stadium and then when he cant bitch about their losing, he two faces himself in the other direction, why dont more people come out? This dude and his pack of stooges are swirling the drain…

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