Ravens fans vs. Orioles fans – are we two birds of a different feather?

August 16, 2012 | Nestor Aparicio

Ravens fans vs. Orioles fans – are we two birds of a different feather?

It goes without saying that Baltimore isn’t quite yet embracing this 2012 version of Baltimore Orioles pennant fever. No matter how dramatic the victories or how unlikely this late August run for postseason glory seems, nothing about The Birds has moved the sports fans of Maryland.

Even into the great beyond via the long reach of MASN – not to mention the reach into your pockets every month like a public utility – for whatever reason people aren’t coming back in droves to give King Peter Angelos their money to watch the likes of Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis and even boy wonder Manny Machado, who has been worth the price of admission alone this week.

Oh, I know I’m being “Negative Nestor” by even writing this blog when the Orioles are winning baseball games and on the verge of a sweep of the hated Boston Red Sox. But every time the TV cameras pan the more than half-empty stadium, I can’t help but thinking the same thing you’re thinking: “I wonder why people aren’t going to Camden Yards to support this winning team?”

Yeah, we all thought Camden Yards would be packed once the Orioles started winning. And as the team closes a 10-game homestand tonight in full control of a wild card berth and still within striking distance of the New York Yankees, a true “pennant fever” atmosphere has yet to emerge in Baltimore.

It seems that a few months of prosperity hasn’t wiped out 14 years of bad vibes, bad baseball, steroid needles, lies from the owner and the emergence of the Washington Nationals as the regional team with marketing legs and, dare we say, “Natitude.”

And here’s where we’ll piss off both side of the Baltimore fence.

I have one question for you: “Are you excited about the Baltimore Ravens’ upcoming season?”

My gut is that you just yelled, “YES!”

My gut also says that your neighbor is excited, your cousins, your co-workers, the folks in your social group – wherever your friends and loved ones reside — they’re ready to don purple and are counting down the minutes until the 7 p.m. kickoff on Monday, Sept. 10 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.

I’m not sure when it became sort of fashionable to only support one of the two teams in Baltimore and perhaps for the younger generation there has never been a good time to embrace the Orioles. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m ready for Ravens’ season and that my love for the purple guys has superseded my spirit and energy for the Orioles. But I do love them both. And I will support them both equally for what it means for Baltimore to have a winning sports team and a chance to hang red, white and blue bunting here in October.

And, somehow during this emergence of the purple birds of Baltimore since 1996, this weird kind of divide has occurred here in the Charm City where some folks only have enough “love” – if not dollars and time and energy – for one of the two teams.

Do you know people who love the Orioles and have no use for football or the Ravens? Almost to the point where they root against the purple birds in football season?

I do.

And, conversely, from what I can tell there are a myriad of people everywhere around town who are fervent Baltimore Ravens fans and have long-since given up following the Orioles on a nightly basis, even now that the team on the field is representative of the community’s desire for hard work, overachieving and beating the Yankees and Red Sox.

I know many, many people who have purple “Man Caves” – an entire kingdom and closets dedicated to all things Baltimore Ravens. There are whole stores like The Raven Zone dedicated to selling merchandise year-round.

I don’t know anyone who has a basement that is an homage to the Orioles these days, despite the fact that you get 162 chances to enjoy games vs. just 16 that count.

I also admit that the amount of hours necessary to follow the Orioles is extraordinary. It’s a lifestyle commitment to watch four hours of baseball six nights a week for six months. It’s almost like a full-time job if you’re going to vest into MLB fandom.

And certainly this isn’t a new phenomenon for sports teams anywhere in America. It seems that there’s plenty of love for all four sports teams in places like Boston, Philadelphia, etc. where the seasons and the reasons all seem to blur together into a full calendar of activity and passion.

But it might be time to ask, “Where’s the emotional investment for Baltimore fans?”

Is it possible that you only have room in your heart — or wallet — for one successful local team?

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10 Comments For This Post

  1. Calvin @ JHH Says:

    I don’t get into Raven’s mode until the regular season begins. Make no mistake I’m a Raven’s fan, but pre-season football is useless and a money grab. The O’s have my undivided attention during this pennant run. I’ve attended three games this season and that’s three more than I attended last season

    The price for entry for both franchise is priced to high. Raven’s games is almost a commitment of $200.00 for a pair of tickets, food and transportation. The O’s will not quite as much is just a pricey. Make no mistake the premium game pricing that the O’s charge for NYY and BoSox game is a money grab for the well traveled fan base and quite honestly I can’t blame them.

    I’m going to the games and watching. They have made a believer out of me. Go O’s

  2. Dan Says:

    Oriles fan ? Ravens fan ? ,, Thats easy , it depends on the season . right now Its baseball season and I could not care less about pulled muscles and jock itch out at training camp . And It’s not about how much Orange or Purple junk I buy , or wear . In August I’m watching the Orioles , every night on TV. We didn’t ALL think the fans would return when they started winning again , 16,000 fans now have their own team , 16,000 are at home (like me) watching on big screen , and 16,000 are showing up at The Yard buying 5 dollar hot dogs . Some day they too will get wise. Besides baseball today is a TV show and doing quite well I think .

  3. unitastoberry Says:

    Back when the Colts were King of the NFL they sold out for 20 some years straight.The Ravens are up to about 12 yrs of sellouts now. The Orioles couldn’t get 40 thousand fans a game except for opening day, playoffs, and give away nights even after they beat the Dodgers 4 straight in 66 and ruled MLB until 83. Not until OPACY and the country club/night club atmosphere and absence of the NFL did that happen.Iif not for Anglelos it would still be going on today. So nothing really changes in Baltimore its like Groundhog day.

  4. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    I guess it is cheaper to pay the 3.50 cable bill every month, than pay ballgame prices. Maybe MASN sticking it to us every month is a good thing!

  5. justafan Says:

    The Orioles have a solid fan base but what is the point of shelling out the big bucks at the ball park when every game can be seen in the comfort of your living room, mancave, or whatever? It is a real pain in the a.s.s. to go down town, pay exhorbitant parking fees, and go through the hassle of the traffic leaving the Stadium. In this regard, I think the Baltimore fan base should be applauded for using good old fashioned common sense. And by the way, this Grand Prix racing event will as it done last year screw up downtown, another plausible reason to stay away from the ball park.

  6. John in Westminster Says:

    Switched over to lacrosse when my kids started playing and never looked back. Tough to even watch on TV now.

  7. Chuck Says:

    There’s nothing like the home town team being in a pennant race. The 2012 version of the Orioles is such a source of pride. If you gave up on the team you were never really a fan in the first place.

    And as awful as Angelos has been for the majority of his owning the team, he has never done what the original owner of the Ravens did- move.

  8. ninetysixer Says:

    “It seems that a few months of prosperity hasn’t wiped out 14 years of bad vibes,…”

    this sums it up right here. 14 years of washed up re-treads, “prime” game charges, walk up charges, the rejecting of trades that would have improved the organization, rude ushers, etc. Sorry O’s it will be a while before I come back.

  9. Jason Manelli Says:

    I’m a Ravens season ticket holder, but I am so glad to say that this year I am way more interested in the Orioles in August than I am in the Ravens. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be in my seat for MNF, but until then, the preseason and camp are not captivating me like the Orioles making a stretch run. That’s what they’re doing, even if it’s for the Wild Card, when you’re playing games in August to determine who gets into the Playoffs and who doesn’t, it’s a stretch run! The stadium is more fun to go to now then it was during the hayday of the OPACY sell outs. It;s a relally fun, local Bawlmer crowd again and the ballpark has never had better concessions. Overall I just think it;s a great time to be a fan of both of the Birds!

  10. Adam Says:

    I agree Jason. The Orioles are more captivating right now then the Ravens. I am a Ravens ticket holder also, driving down from Philly 8 Sundays a year. I watch the O’s on MASN and always go to Opening Day, but have made the trip to see them beat the A’s and will be there to honor Cal in Sept.

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