Can the Orioles benefit off the Ravens’ success?
As we sit on the eve of Orioles’ FanFest we’re also two days removed from the Ravens taking on the New England Patriots in the AFC title game. If you’re strictly a baseball fan and have no knowledge or interest in football, this means that they’re a game away from the Super Bowl. I suspect that we’ll probably see some sprinklings of purple at tomorrow’s FanFest celebration. Is this a good or bad thing, and one way or the other can the Orioles capitalize on the success of the Ravens?
The first question that I posed was whether or not this is a good thing…survey says: it’s a good non-issue. If someone wears Ravens garb to FanFest I would take that to mean that they want to represent that they’re rooting for the Ravens, but they’re also a Baltimore sports fan. Would anyone be criticized for wearing a Ravens jersey at an actual game? Probably not.
The second question was could the O’s capitalize on the Ravens’ success. I believe that sports in a given city works best when teams work together. I suspect that most Baltimore NBA/NHL fans probably support the Washington Wizards and Capitals. It’s easy for these franchises to work together because they share a building and an owner. However that’s not necessarily the case in sports such as baseball and football. (Ironically many cities including Baltimore used to have one stadium which would serve as a home for both the baseball team and the football team.) I think that the Orioles would be well-advised to attach their name to the winning ways of the Ravens in any manner possible. What have they really got to lose?
If I owned a franchise, I’d latch myself onto a event such as Oriole FanFest. I’d approach the Orioles and see if my team couldn’t have a booth at the event so as to have a presence. Sports are partially about civic pride, and I think that most locals are proud of what Baltimore’s football team is doing. Regardless of the complaining, the ineptitude, and even the 14 straight losing seasons, I suspect that most locals still maintain a certain level of pride in Baltimore’s baseball team as well. The Ravens don’t have a FanFest per se, however they do have numerous off season events onto which the Orioles could try to latch.
People might look at this and say that I’m trying to argue that the O’s are so inept that they need the Ravens to help market them. I still firmly believe that Baltimore is a baseball town with a rich baseball tradition (as well as a football tradition). However I’m coming at this more from the angle of teams with the same civic name coming together. This is already happening incidentally; the O’s and Ravens normally pair up and offer a joint-giveaway at an O’s game. Poe, the Ravens’ mascot is in attendance, as is the Ravens’ marching band, and they’ll give away an Oriole cap in Ravens’ colors to the first 20K fans or something like that. That’s exactly the kind of co-existence that should go on between teams of the same city. We’re not talking Yankees and Mets here; the O’s and Ravens don’t compete on the playing field. They compete for the same reason: for Baltimore to win.
To further this point, look merely at the fact that in Sunday’s AFC Championship game in Foxboro, MA, the great Cal Ripken Jr. will serve as an honorary Ravens’ captain. Cal’s presence may well represent the Orioles, however he’s also perhaps the best ambassador of the city of Baltimore that exists. See you at FanFest tomorrow!
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