Apr 7, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles first basemanChris Davis
(19) at bat in the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Twins defeated the Orioles 4 – 3. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
The 2013 season is officially 11 games old, with the Orioles standing at 6-5, and how many games have this California-based Orioles fan seen? Zero. I follow Orioles news on Twitter, so I’ve seen the heralds of Chris Davis after his amazing start, four homers in the first four games, but I also quickly see the bad news like Davis’s error in game five and Adam Jones‘s error in last night’s loss to the Yankees. Because the Orioles got off to such a surprisingly hot start last season, they were all over the sporting news and that was music to my misplaced fan heart. I was able to reconnect with the team I’d grown up rooting for, just now I was doing it from 3,000 miles away. This year, with the .500 start and the endless reports of PEDs (again) and the recent “base-brawl” between the Dodgers & Padres, among other headlines, news about the Orioles hasn’t popped up as often and I have suddenly encountered the conundrum that faces many sports fans; my team is doing well but I don’t live near them anymore so I’ve found myself out of the loop.
March 30, 2013; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcherMatt Wieters
(32) against the New York Mets atEd Smith
Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
I am certainly not the first person ever to face this dilemma. I moved from Baltimore when I was 12 because of my dad’s job, but because it ended up being another 12 years until the Orioles had a winning record, I never felt like I was missing anything. It feels somewhat sacrilegious to say that, but the ups and downs of those 15 years left this Orioles fan a bit bruised, so my cheering had developed a healthy dose of skepticism. That being said, watching fans find their way back to Camden Yards last season as the team began to succeed again was amazing; it felt like the beginning of a new chapter, a really good chapter for a team like the Orioles with such a storied history.
I know sports fans move cities for various reasons all the time, but living in California as a baseball fan means that I’m in the minority and surrounded by lots of Giants, Padres, Athletics, Dodgers, & Angels. Whenever I turn on the TV, those are the uniforms I see along with names like Barry Zito, Matt Kemp & Albert Pujols. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun experience to live in the city home to the most recent World Series champions, but they are not the team I cheer for, that’s the Orioles. I want to see Adam Jones rob someone of a home run in center field, Matt Wieters throw out a runner at 2nd base with ease, Chris Davis clear the bases with one swing of his bat, and Jim Johnson strike out the side in the 9th inning. I’m a recent college graduate, so it’s not really in my budget to invest in MLB network, and I’m on the phone during the day at work so much that it’s hard to justify paying to listen to the games on the radio because I probably wouldn’t be able to do that anyway.
March 25, 2013; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles relief pitcherJim Johnson
(43) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
I do my best to catch highlights on the late-night Sportscenter or baltimoreorioles.com but there’s so much I feel like I’m missing! There’s no use in complaining about it because I enjoy living in California AND I enjoy being an Orioles fan. I also root for the Ravens, so I feel like I’ve been spoiled because their prolonged success, especially their recent Super Bowl victory, has kept them consistently in the public eye (and on national TV). The Orioles are just beginning their ascent back to success, but it won’t happen overnight. Fans can see the ebbs & flows continuously throughout the season through social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, & Vine, but there is something to be said for going to the stadium on a muggy summer night or sitting in front of the TV with friends watching a game, it feels timeless. This post may be coming at the completely wrong time since the Orioles are scheduled to play primetime Sunday Night Baseball tomorrow against the Yankees 🙂 but since the season is a marathon, not a sprint, I wanted to pose the question, what should I do? Help this Orioles fan get back in the loop!