I have to take a moment to call out a collective group of fans. Some are going to take offense to this, but it has to be said anyhow. As bad as the performance on the field was from the Orioles this weekend against Boston, the fans’ showing in the stands may have been worse. Where was everyone? And those who were there, were you sitting on your hands the whole time?
Let’s start with Friday night’s game, a 6-0 shutout win for the Birds. Just over 39,000 people showed up for the contest, which is great, but by watching on television I only heard maybe 9,000 make any noise. I started to think I was watching someone putt on the seventh green on a Thursday at The Masters. Even in a few two-on, two-out situations you couldn’t hear a word from the fans. Adam Jones stated after the game Friday that “Fenway South” was no more and that O’s fans had taken Camden Yards back. That may have been the case in Friday’s game, but it sure didn’t sound like it.
Move ahead to Saturday’s game, which was attended by nearly 45,000 fans. That’s even better attendance, but it seemed to me on television that the majority of fans were wearing blue and red, not orange. The noise from the stands expressed the same thing. Were folks so saddened by the news of Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta’s hip injury that they spent all Saturday night in mourning? Were Jones’ comments really just the case of one night looking good from the dugout?
Sunday’s attendance dropped to right around 32,000, which is understandable for a Sunday afternoon game. The blocks of green seats in the stands for a nationally televised game are never a fun thing to see though. As I said, it’s not like the team gave fans much to get excited about. But I would’ve thought the first series back from the All-Star break, against the Red Sox, would’ve produced a more rowdy and raucous crowd. I was very wrong. The attendance numbers for all three of these games looked good on paper, but that’s not all that matters. Baseball is also not football, where each play produces loud and ambitious cheering from the crowd. It’d be nice to see SOME enthusiasm from the fan base though. It’s something O’s fans didn’t have for 14 straight seasons. Remember that? Let’s not go there.
I watch games all the time in San Francisco, St. Louis, Los Angeles and other cities where no matter what’s going on in the game or how the team is playing; the fans are into every pitch. Baltimore used to be a city like that. Perhaps a season and a half of success aren’t enough to get that aura back.
I understand that people have lives and can’t attend every Orioles game they may want to. I spoke to a number of fans over the weekend that had weddings to attend, birthday parties to go to, and some who were even at a few of the games. These aren’t the people that I’m calling out. It’s the fans that sit back and complain about the team’s performance and how much they want to see the team play better. Get out and watch them. And when you do watch them, cheer them on to the best of your ability. What reason do you have to go to a game as an O’s fan and not have fun rooting on the team? I’m also not telling you that more fan participation is going to improve the team’s on-field performance. There’s no delusion here when it comes to that. It sure would be nice to see the team get the support at ALL times though, even when they are struggling.
As someone who lives out of state and doesn’t get to attend many games, it saddens me to see the true Orioles fans not take advantage of the luxury that Camden Yards is. It makes me uneasy to see the empty seats at OPACY. I can’t imagine this week will be any better with AL West cellar-dwellers like the Astros and Mariners coming to town. Maybe, and hopefully, I’ll be wrong.