26,000 at the ballpark last night…helluva showing, Baltimore (sarcasm)

September 27, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Playoff fever sure has gripped Baltimore’s baseball community.

Unfortunately, it must have strangled everyone’s wallet and purse.

26,000 people crammed their way into Camden Yards last night for what was about as close to a “must-win” game as the Orioles have encountered since 1997.

That’s it, huh?  26,000…

Through 78 home games, the Orioles are averaging 26,067.

In other words, 26,000 is the “normal” crowd for a home game.  And 26,000 showed up last night.

I’m aware, fully, of all the excuses.

1) Ravens game on Sunday night.  2) 31,000 at the doubleheader on Monday  3) 30,000 at the Tuesday night home game.  4) Ravens game on Thursday night.  5) Everyone who wanted Orioles playoff tickets had to play the common “extortion game” all sports teams play by making you put down a deposit for season tickets that you don’t want for the NEXT season in order to get post-season tickets THIS season.

All of those excuses are reasonable.

They’re also excuses.

31,000 for the doubleheader on Monday night for a team on the verge of making the playoffs isn’t great.  It’s good.  Not great.

Same for 30,000 on Tuesday night.  Nothing special there.  It’s only a few thousand ahead of the team’s average attendance.

And then, last night, 26,000 in the place for a game the Orioles absolutely had to win.

I just don’t get it.

Are you all that disconnected with the baseball team that you can’t go out to these meaningful games?  Or is it as simple as this — “I’m just staying home and watching the games on TV”?

My guess is you’re just staying home to watch the games on TV.

But that doesn’t help the team on the field, in the stadium.

The place will be packed this weekend when the Red Sox come in to get b-slapped for three straight games.  But I’m sure we’ll see a large turnout of “Bah-stun” fans who won’t be able to watch their beloved baseball team this October…so this is their final chance to see Bobby Valentine manage the Red Sox before he gets canned next Thursday afternoon.

I expected more from Baltimore.

For the first time since 1997, these games matter.  And 26,000 of you found it important enough to show up last night.

What a shame.