The Unofficial Camden Yards Visitor's Guide - 2012 Red Sox Edition
Boston has many great baseball fans. Unfortunately, they tend not to be the ones who show up at Camden Yards when the Red Sox are in town. With that in mind, Roar from 34, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, provides this annual Camden Yards Visitor's Guide as a free service to fans of the visiting team who need a little background in ballpark etiquette.
Welcome to Baltimore. It seems like we haven't seen you in forever. When was the last time you were in town? That's right, it was Sept. 28.
If it's not too much to ask, we'd like for Baltimore fans to enjoy their trip to the ballpark as well. It only seems fair given it's the home team and all. So here are a few things to remember as you prepare for your visit to a stadium that Luke Scott doesn't think is a dump:
1. Number 11 down there, that's Robert Andino, but you can just call him daddy. One Red Sox fan commented last year that he was "a crappy player on a last place team" and would be "out of the league in a year." Then he came to Fenway this year for the first-place Orioles and homered to help cap a three-game sweep. I bet you wish he were gone.
2. Our team's payroll ($81 million) is half the size of your team's payroll ($173 million). I suppose the old adage "You get what you pay for" is true. Why just last season you had the third-highest payroll in all of baseball and you finished in third place.
3. The Yankees aren't playing. Therefore, please don't start a "Yankees Suck" chant at Camden Yards. We understand that you guys are always in a dog fight for position in the A.L. East - currently, last place - but give it a rest for a few days. Perhaps you can come back for an actual Yankees game in the future and try your chant then.
3. There's no need for you to start the whole conversation about "Why don't fans show up every night at such a beautiful ballpark? That's what we would do if the situation were reversed." It's simply not true.
Orioles fans did fill the beautiful ballpark you're sitting in for many years. Baltimore finished among the American League's top two teams for attendance for the first nine seasons that Camden Yards was open. Most of those years Baltimore was among the top two teams in all of baseball for attendance.
From 1992 to 2002, the Orioles drew more fans to Camden Yards than the Red Sox attracted to Fenway. But that's just because Fenway's a smaller park, right? Not really. In 1997, fewer than 20,000 fans showed up for three of Boston's first five home games. The Red Sox finished in fourth place in the standings that year and seventh of 14 A.L. teams in attendance. The following season, Boston's attendance fell to ninth of 14 A.L. teams.
So it wasn't that long ago that Baltimore fans could have asked the same sort of thing to Boston fans: Why don't you show up every night to such an historic ballpark? But that's probably hard to remember given that you weren't following the team back then. As far as you know, that "sellout streak" started 100 years ago.
5. Please don't yell out a request for "Sweet Caroline" to be played. We're glad you found a song to call your own. Fittingly, it's perfect for a drunken singalong. Your former music director picked it because "she had heard it played at other sporting events." However, we have our own traditions in Baltimore. They're original and - unlike your loyalties - they're more than 10 years old. Respect them.
6. Speaking of tradition, baseball did in fact exist prior to Red Sox Nation being annexed in 2004. And the Orioles have a pretty good baseball history of their own that includes many years atop the American League East. Perhaps it's a minor detail, but the Orioles have won three championships since moving to Baltimore in 1954; the Red Sox have won two in that period.
A.L. Pennants since '54? Orioles 6 - Red Sox 5.
A.L. East titles? Orioles 8 - Red Sox 6.
Boston has had the Orioles' number in recent years, but let's not pretend it's always been that way.
7. It's pretty original that you call Camden Yards "Fenway South." Actually, come to think of it, no it's not. You know who else does that sort of thing? Yankees fans. They call it "Yankee Stadium South." Over in the National League, Philadelphia fans travel to D.C. and call it "Citizens Bank Park South." So I suppose the point is this: You can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps.
By the way, we know you like fried chicken with your beer, but why not try a crab cake instead?