Bring back my baseball town
I want the Orioles to win games. I want them to contend in the division. I want them to make the playoffs. And I want them to win the World Series. But as much as any of these things, I want Baltimore to be how it once was. Bring back my baseball town.
Opening Day in Baltimore is a bittersweet occasion. The energy surrounding the Birds' annual return to the diamond despite an extended stretch of losing is inspiring; however, the temporary buzz in the ballpark serves as a reminder that the love affair the city once had with its baseball team is now a spring fling rather than a summer love. "Ain't the beer cold" has become "Ain't the beer flat."
Orioles players are aware of this reality. It's a message they heard starting in spring training from former players like catcher Chris Hoiles, who appeared in his first games in Baltimore during the '89 Why Not? season, experienced two ALCS, and saw more winning than losing during his time in orange and black.
The baseball town messaging remains consistent now that the season has started. Consider manager Buck Showalter's statements following the O's Opening Day victory.
“I get emotional a couple times today just seeing how much it means to the people in Baltimore. I’m not going to group everybody in baseball. This is different. They grow up with the Orioles. I'll be the first to tell you, it gives me a lot more responsibility, anxiety, delivering what they deserve — for all of us.
“And we know how great it can be here. And it's our responsibility. You've heard me say it 100 times — you see a game like that, you just hope that they keep that hope like we do. That atmosphere is special and I know it used to be like that every night. Our players, I know they get a taste of it. This group of guys talks about it. They know what this fan base is like and it’s up to us to tap deeper into it.”
(Source: Baltimore Sun)
Buck gets it. Hopefully the players do, too.
Win or lose, I care about the Orioles, but it's nice when everyone else does to.