Preparing For Summer’s Fair Weather (Fans)
With all of the (mostly justified) optimism surrounding the Orioles this spring, a thought arises. Let’s assume for a moment that the team starts out well. That by the time baseball weather arrives a month or so into the season they’re above .500 and performing up to expectations. Will it be reflected in the attendance?
Not so much in weekend games or games against marquee opponents — most of those continued to draw well even in the lean years. I’m thinking more of those mid-week nights against teams like the Mariners or White Sox. This year, for example, Seattle comes to town on May 10-12 for a Tuesday-Thursday set. Will those games be well-attended if the O’s are playing well?
I’d bet they will. And if that’s the case, it will probably mean that some of the fair weather fans have returned. This is a phenomenon about which I have decidedly mixed feelings.
Mostly, I want to see Camden Yards strong again. I want to see it come back alive and see the players feed off of that energy. I want to see a robust hometown crowd supporting the local nine.
On the other hand, there’s a provincial aspect of my personality that anticipates the influx of folks who abandoned the team in recent years and says, you didn’t earn this.
Silly? Maybe. But I recall the conversations I had with so many people who wondered why I still cared about the Orioles because “they suck.” I recall the hundreds (thousands?) of radio callers I heard blast the team with myriad reasons for giving up, moving on. To think that some of those same individuals will be back disturbs me.
To be clear, I’m not talking about folks who were always casual fans anyway. I’m talking solely about the ones who spoke out. Those who expressed, in one forum or another, their willingness — their pride — in abandoning a team that wasn’t giving them the wins they felt they deserved.
To them I say, stay away. Don’t come back just because the team is doing well. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
The Camden Yards I want to see is one filled with die-hards who never left the team and regular folks from all across the Baltimore region who find themselves reinvigorated by the possibility of an improved team. The whiners and complainers of the past two, five, ten years have no place in that. They signed their name to abandonment, and they should own it.
Most of them won’t, of course. I know that. But a man can dream.