I went to Oriole Park on Monday night and a Blast/San Diego Sockers game from 1983 broke out.
Yep, 11,000 people braved the elements last night to enjoy the first game of a huge 4-game series with the Chicago White Sox.
At one point I thought Juli Veee and Joey Fink were going to come out on the field.
Less than 1,000 fans “walked up” for Monday night’s thriller with the White Sox. More people walk up to see Johns Hopkins play Princeton in lacrosse on a windy, chilly Saturday afternoon in March at Homewood.
I sat in three different places on Monday evening. I started out in the upper deck, positioned high above eventual hero Nate McLouth. I surveyed the crowd as first pitch approached and surmised there might have been 8,000 people in the stadium as Wei-Yin Chen strolled to the mound just before 7:05 pm. Later, I ventured into the press box to do a little work and watched a few innings from there before eventually heading down to join a friend in Section 12.
No matter where I sat, the same thought struck me every inning.
“This is so sad…”
I’m not lashing out at anyone, here. I wrote THIS PIECE last week about what the Orioles should be doing to help bring people back to the ballpark for the final month or so of the regular season. I’m not mad at the Orioles because only 11,000 fans attended Monday’s game. If they’re not interested in thinking outside-the-box to avoid embarrassing crowds like the one last night, I have no reason to be pissed off with them. It’s their money they’re losing, not mine.
And I’m not mad at the fans. They’re clearly still in wait-and-see mode. Just because the team hasn’t played a game that matters since 1997 doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has to flock back en masse for a late August game against the White Sox with first place in the A.L. East well within the Orioles’ grasp.
I’m not mad.
I read a few lame excuses on Twitter last night. “Today was the first day of school…” was the most popular one. Oh, that’s right, I forgot…everyone in Baltimore and the surrounding suburbs is completely influenced by the start of school. (They’re not? Tell that to the excuse makers.) “It’s Monday night” was another excuse I came across quite a bit. And tonight when 15,000 are there, what do we say then? “It’s Tuesday night, crowds are never good on Tuesday night.”
(Please see next page)