I was born on October 13, 1983, which was 3 days before the Orioles took home their 3rd (and last to date) World Series title. I have always supported the Orioles, whether win or lose, in joy and despair, till death do us part. They could lose all 162 games, and I’d still show up to Camden Yards for a game and a crab mac & cheese hot dog. There will never be a day where I decide to throw out my custom “Welsh” jersey and burn my Nolan Reimold bobbleheads. I just can’t imagine myself not being an Orioles fan… Ever.
I have always considered myself a Ravens “fan,” but never really took an interest in anything football-related until after the Ravens won the Super Bowl during my senior year of high school. Winning does indeed breed a fan base, and the Ravens, who inherited a huge fan base just by coming toBaltimore, grew theirs considerably with a couple of winning seasons and playoff appearances. We are spoiled as Ravens fans – We don’t know what it is like to go years and years without a playoff appearance, save our first couple of years of existence and a few Billick years.
Ravens season for me always began in August, as soon as the players reported to camp. The Orioles are generally out of contention, so transitioning my attention to the Ravens (while still supporting my Orioles) has never caused a conflict of interest. This year, however, has caused quite the conundrum acrossBaltimore. People are feeling as if they have to choose between being loyal to the Orioles, who are fighting for a playoff spot for the first time in 15 years; or the Ravens, who are about to start the 2012/13 season on the road to the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
This is actually a great problem to have. Having two relevant sports teams is something that Baltimore has rarely experienced, excluding some great years from both the Colts and Orioles in the late 50’s/early 60’s. This is something that we need to embrace, something that should be celebrated and not hated upon. There are many Orioles fans who have been not only hating on the “bandwagon” that has developed (I welcome you all, by the way!), but also talking smack against those of us who are excited for both football AND playoff baseball. Instead of being negative about this influx of fans, we should welcome them to the Yard so that we can hopefully breed a new generation of fans who have missed out on the past 15 years of baseball due to lack of interest. We should also be pumped to have two relevant teams that can be celebrated – The Ravens have earned our fandom over the past 16 years by winning and doing great things for the community, they shouldn’t be pushed to the side just because the Orioles are showing signs of life.
I cannot wait until we all learn how to support and celebrate both of our teams. Although I don’t see it happening over night, I am more than happy to share the Yard with 40,000 new friends that I might also run into across the street at the Bank.