I want to continue to take the angle looking at the fans of the Orioles, baseball, and sports in general. I was going to write about the Orioles abysmal play recently during their 4 game losing streak and losing 11 of their last 16 games. The Orioles are now firmly out of the playoff race (which was never really a realistic goal) and they are 9 games under .500. Again, I’m not going to jump the gun, even though it is tempting. There is still plenty of baseball to play this year so I won’t write about what I think the Orioles need to do, but instead, I want to talk about how losing effects the fans.
As Orioles fans we have all gotten way to used to watching the Orioles lose games and becoming frustrated with our favorite baseball team. Every year it seems we try to find reasons of hope going into the season, then the team starts playing the games and the hope slowly fades. So, what I want to know is how should loyal fans react when their team loses? The Orioles are a perfect example. The Orioles were contenders during most of our lifetimes (I’m 25 and even I can remember in the mid to late 90s when the Orioles were relevant) so we can remember what it feels like to be following a team that were buyers at the trade deadline. However, over the last decade the Orioles have not only been a sub .500 team, but have also become the butt of jokes for others around the league. They have been looked at as a once great franchise that now is dysfunctional at best. So when another losing streak comes and another losing season is on the horizon how should loyal fans of the Orioles react?
I am a New Jersey resident, so I will still try to get out to a game or two this summer whether the team is good or not. I’m sure if they were in contention for the playoffs I would be making much more of an attempt to see more games in August and September, but they haven’t been in contention since I have had my drivers license. Recently though I realized when I had the chance to watch the Orioles on t.v. (which is extremely rare being that I live in New Jersey) I couldn’t watch an entire game. The team’s recent woes have become too frustrating. I didn’t stop watching or following the Orioles as closely because I don’t love them as much, but rather, because it is too difficult to watch them struggle. Does this make me a bad fan?
I feel like there are two types of loyal fans. There are the fans that will continue to go to the ballpark and watch the games on tv no matter how frustrating it gets. I am not this type of fan, I just don’t have the temperament to remain positive and watch while my team is in the midst of its 14th straight losing season. Obviously, this is the type of fan organizations hope for. These are a large majority of the Orioles fans wearing the jerseys on a Tuesday night game in September when the Orioles are 10 games under .500 and 20 games out of first place. The other type of loyal fan (and some may argue that this isn’t a loyal fan) is the fan that will criticize and insult their team when they make a move they don’t agree with or start losing too many games. This fan will find it difficult to watch their team on tv or go to watch the game live when their team is struggling. I feel I have qualities on both sides of the fence, but when the Orioles start to go through a losing streak like their most recent one, I start to turn into fan #2 who grows tired of the losing and can’t help but criticize the team. On the other hand, when I read various Orioles blogs and websites there are those “loyal” Orioles fans who seem to criticize every move and I wonder if they will ever be satisfied with the Orioles. These fans can really grow tiring and tend to wear on me. Of course though, when your a fan of a team like the Orioles who have been so poorly run the last decade, you can’t blame fans for being frustrated.
I want to know from Orioles fans, does another losing season effect the way you follow the Orioles? Will you go to less games at Camden Yards? Will you watch less games on tv or listen to less games on the radio? Do you watch and listen no matter how the Orioles play on the field? Let me hear your thoughts!
Even though another season of losing and poor play will disappoint me and make me even more frustrated with the organization, I will always be an Orioles fan. I may change my habits and not follow the Orioles as closely simply because it frustrates me when the Orioles lose games, but that doesn’t mean I will be any less of a fan. I truly believe in sticking by the Orioles through the good and bad as well as the ups and downs. By sticking with a team like the Orioles through these losing seasons it will make it much sweeter when the Orioles finally do win that championship. Knowing as a fan that I stuck by my team when they hit rock bottom and I can celebrate with them when they reach the top is what keeps me going through times like these.