Go figure, the Maryland Terrapins’ men’s basketball team is going down to play Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium today. As much as I may not want to admitt this, Cameron is probably one of the biggest home court/field advantages in all of sports. The students are right there on top of the action, and they seem to take pleasure in watching opposing teams get rattled by the spectacle of it all. There’s no question that those fans have helped the Blue Devils onto victory on numerous occasions over time. (Having said that, Maryland has been one of the best and consistent visiting teams at Duke.) Yet, apparently Duke is currently having trouble with student tickets this year. The games are sold out, however they’re having to take what used to be student seats and sell them to normal people.
So you might ask what this has to do with an Oriole column? Duke has lost it’s last two games at home. Who among us can really say if this is due in part to the fact that there are fewer students at the games. They would probably argue that the seats are still filled and the games are still sold out. Be that as it may, I think there’s a big difference in the tone that an 18-22 year old might take at a game as opposed to someone in their 30’s or above. So perhaps the crowd doesn’t have that same spunk that they once had, and the home team is indirectly not getting that extra lift…?
My point is that big boisterous crowds do in fact lift a team up. You can see where I’m going with this I hope…the O’s need derriere’s in the seats. To anyone that attended the September 28th season finale against Boston last year, you know what I’m talking about. The Orioles seemed to feed off of the enthusiasm of their fans, and will themselves onto victory. Oriole attendance may be down from years ago, but I will say that the fans that attend the games are all very much into the games and a part of the action. Rarely do I see people arriving late and leaving early. I’ve heard that Dodger fans have a reputation for getting to their seats in the last of the second or third, and leaving for the parking lots after the last of the seventh. Not in Baltimore; beginning to end, the fans that show up are there and rooting on their team.
Ultimately the O’s just need more people willing to come to the games. As has been stated time and time again, there’s no doubt that the offseason maneuvers of Dan Duquette and the O’s have been a bit underwhelming. I think that most of the moves were probably good moves that may have been necessary in the name of depth, however there weren’t any big splashes. That might be tough to justify asking someone to pay for tickets. However, is Camden Yards still not a beautiful ballpark? Are the Orioles still not #1 in people’s hearts?
Hometown crowds can definitely affect the game. I’m not sure that Duke University losing two straight at home has anything to do with students not coming. More realistically it’s probably just them getting beat. However it’s food for though; one can hope the Terps make it three in a row.
Follow me on Twitter @DomenicVadala