Saturday, October 4, 2014

It's Hard Work being an Orioles Fan

Chris and I at the Orioles-Tigers Playoff Game
October 3, 2014
Orioles Baseball fans are, I believe, the hardest working fans in all of baseball. And our team knows that we are there.

I attended the greatest baseball game of my life yesterday. I have been to a lot of baseball games--I have seen the good, the bad, and the down right ugly. Yesterday, it took a combined team and fan effort overcome a daunting 3 run deficit in the 8th inning to secure victory is spectacular fashion and demonstrate to a national television audience that Baltimore's baseball team and its fans are ready for prime time!
Orioles Fan at the game

The game lasted 3 hours and 41 minutes. The cheering began well before the game amped up when the stadium announcer encouraged everyone to cheer when the national TV coverage clicked in. Joining me in the stands were over 48,000 of my new best friends--mostly wearing orange and black! It was an undulating sea of orange. It was awesome!

Why is being an Orioles fan hard work? Well, thanks to the MLB television scheduling fiasco, we didn't know the time of the game until Wednesday night--and then it was a Noon start! 

There is a lot of preparation that goes into Orioles playoff baseball game from a fan perspective. The orange jerseys and shirts must be clean and ready. Plans for work must be changed to accommodate the daytime game. Coordination with other fans attending the game must be finished. And then there is navigating the highways to get to the stadium. Baltimore constantly finds new ways to frustrate drivers in their quest to arrive anywhere on time with never-ending construction and irrational lane closures. 

All of that is just the preparation. 
OPACY, October 3, 2014
Sea of Undulating Orange

Once in Orioles Park at Camden Yards, or OPACY, the real work begins. The stadium is an awesome place in which to attend a game. The concessionaires were running at full speed to minimize wait times--but face it, 48,000 fans are no small number of people to keep happy.

The real fan work begins as the game prepares to start. An Orioles fan needs to know the multitude of cheers and be ready for the signature "O" cheer during the national anthem. The echoes returning from the surrounding buildings yesterday were fantastic and the stadium literally shook as the Orioles faithful amped up the energy level in preparation for the game. 

Any Orioles fan who is not hoarse the next day, or who does not have tennis elbow from waving their towel--didn't leave it all on the field!

The game was a seesaw affair. The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning, only to surrender 5 runs in the top of the 4th inning and then get one back in the bottom of the inning. Even though the score was 5-3 until the 8th inning, the enthusiasm in the stands never waned. Having watched this team all season, the fans knew that their moment to secure a victory would soon come--and it did. It was essentially all over for the Tigers when they added an insurance run in the top of the 8th inning, increasing their lead to 6-3. 
Zach Britton, the Closer
Securing the Win!

Down to the last six outs--it was time to play serious post-season baseball. The fans responded and the noise level in the stadium began to exceed that of a jet engine at maximum rated thrust preparing for take off. The cheer "We Won't Stop" echoed off the surrounding buildings as 48,000 plus people were united with their team and the comeback began. Four runs and two Tigers pitchers later--the victory was all but secured. OPACY was rocking! Eleven pitches and three Tiger's batters later--victory was achieved as our closer extinguished any hopes that the Tigers had of spoiling the beautiful October afternoon. 

By the time the win was secured--the fans were exhausted. Like the team, we had left it all on the field. I may not be able to speak for two days because I gave my voice to the throng. 

Orioles fans are called "the best fans in baseball," and I know we are also the hardest working fans in baseball.

Go O's!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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