Baltimore Orioles: How To Be An Orioles Fan Through The Rebuild
In his debut piece, Josh Sroka offers some advice for fans of the Baltimore Orioles as the 2019 season grind settles in.
This year’s version of the Baltimore Orioles will not be good. They will lose more games than they win. They will strike out, they will give up home runs, they will misplay balls, they will blow leads, and they will get thrown out on the base paths. The negatives will greatly outweigh the positives.
How then, do you enjoy being a fan of a bad baseball team? If you are the type of fan that jumps the bandwagon when things get hard then goodbye, enjoy your life in Severna Park, rooting for the Red Sox. But if you are like me, you bleed orange and black. You have been a fan through the bad years and the good years. You are prepared for this rebuild.
This will not be like the Buck Showalter years, we have already seen many differences. However, this will also not be like the 14 years of losing before Buck, the dark years. So what do you look for and cheer for this season?
Enjoy when things go right for the Baltimore Orioles.
The season started in a fun way, winning games they weren’t supposed to. They came home for the home opener without a losing streak. No one predicted that this season, so enjoy it, baseball is meant to be fun. Enjoy the game but do not think a series win against the Yankees means this is the Why Not Orioles, just enjoy your team winning and leave it at that.
Think of every game as an exhibition.
Losing sucks, but try to look at this season as individual performances. We have learned to watch spring training baseball this way. Win and loss stats for pitchers are overhyped anyway, so let’s focus on performance. We want to root for Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner to have good years, but do not get attached. The better years they have, the better chance we have of flipping them in July.
They are not part of the future, but a trade in July could bring in players who will be a part of the future. Dylan Bundy needs to prove himself this year. There is no longer an excuse for his inconsistency. The pitchers have more analytical information available than they have ever had. The coaches are using and speaking analytics. Dylan Bundy will make it clear this year, if he is part of the future in Baltimore.
Nate Karnes, John Means, Paul Fry, David Hess, Mike Wright, and the rest of the pitchers all have a chance to prove they can contribute to the future in Baltimore. It is a great chance to see if the Dan Duquette regime did ok with prospects the way Andy McPhail’s prospects helped Dan Duquette. Think of every game as an exhibition game for the future.
Celebrate Camden Yards.
We are blessed in Baltimore. It is hard to believe that Camden Yards is currently the 10th oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. It truly did change the design of ballparks across the country and continues to be in the top three of every great stadium list. I went to the Orioles game on Tuesday and even the weather was beautiful. They have made some nice updates to the stadium this year, including new signage all over the park and new lights over Eutaw Street, to name a few.
The Baltimore Orioles are continuing the Kids Cheer Free promotion from last year, so take advantage of it and share the beauty of Camden Yards with your kids. Walk them through Legends Park and recount memorials of O’s legends. Take a stroll down Eutaw Street and point out the home run plaques, especially the Ken Griffey Jr.plaque on the warehouse. There is so much baseball history inside of Camden Yards and this is the year to take advantage of small crowds to pass on the love of the game.
Spend time with the Baltimore Orioles minor league affiliates.
The future is now! Literally, if you want to see the future (hopefully) World Series winning Orioles, they are not that far of a drive away. Minor league baseball is fun, geared towards families, affordable, and the home of future Baltimore stars.
The Norfolk Tides, the Orioles AAA affiliate, is four hours away from Baltimore. That is the furthest minor league affiliate from Camden Yards. Delmarva host the Shorebirds, Aberdeen host the Ironbirds, Frederick is home to the Keys, and Bowie the home of the Baysox. Four of the five teams are located in the state of Maryland.
All five of the teams have future prospects that will make an impact. MiLB also has many games available through the MiLB app as audio or live play by play via video. Get to know the Baby Birds! They also have great promotions and events throughout the year. Check out their schedules, pick a day, and take your family and friends. Each year my podcast, Section 336, puts a group together to go cheer on the Orioles. This year we have decided to take our cheering to the minors. We will be hosting a group for Father’s Day in Bowie. Side note – group rates are an even better deal for minor league games.
Misery makes victory so much better.
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If you cheered through the 14 years of losing and then made it to 2012, you know how wonderful that was. I feel sorry for the modern Yankee and Red Sox fans and it must be hard to be a Patriots fan, because all your team does is win. You cannot truly understand what it means to be at the top until you spend time at the bottom. You have a chance to become that core fanbase that is crying when the Orioles finally win it all.
Remember Nick Markakis in right field looking at the scoreboard when the Baltimore Orioles won the division? Markakis and so many Orioles fans had the same feeling that night. All the hard work and years at the bottom of the division, fans were able to enjoy the view from the top, with a little better perspective. Sure, he worked out every day and worked on his game, but so did I. I committed many nights to watching the Orioles, I believed in the cavalry, I was prepared for Jesus in cleats, my hopes were crushed over and over again, and finally, we won the division. Chills, that’s the only way to explain it. We have great memories and still no World Series (since 1983), just imagine how great that day will be.
Join us on this rebuild journey and follow us on Twitter @BirdsWatcherFS.