If you went to an O's game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards a couple of years ago, you probably did not enjoy your time there. The Birds likely lost the game there were few supporters there to cheer with. This year, however, everyone loves attending the Orioles games, and you have plenty of fans to shout that "O" during the national anthem with.
New attractions on and off the field make downtown Baltimore the place to be
Residents of the counties surrounding Baltimore City have been "flocking" back to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. What used to be a quiet stadium no more than a quarter of the way full, the Yards now has packed sections full of fans who cannot wait to see the Birds play. It is driving up the revenue of multiple key infrastructures within the city.
Once in their seats, these supporters are raucous and always seen having a good time. But it is not just their favorite players getting them hyped. Now, more than ever, these past few seasons the green seats of the Orioles' home are rocking for more than just a home run.
1. Yes, the team is playing well
Alright, a big part of why people are coming back to OPaCY is because of the Birds. But who can blame them? The Orioles have the second-best record in baseball, and are close to clinching the top seed in the American League playoffs.
Fans who had sworn to only return when Brandon Hyde brought back October baseball have returned from their self-imposed exile, and an exciting squad of good hitters and strong pitchers have kept fans of varying loyalties coming back to Camden Yards this season.
2. That "Splash Zone" section
A new addition to the stadium this year, Baltimore's "Splash Zone" in left-center field is meant to copy the player celebrations in the dugout that usually appear whenever someone gets an extra-base hit. Acting like sprinklers, players not at the plate will squirt water out of their mouths.
This season, Birdland faithful have been given the opportunity to buy tickets in a section that gets sprayed with water for every double, triple, or home run. Maryland Governor West Moore has even been a guest "splasher" in this fan-favorite section of the ballpark.
3. An "O" that surprises any away fan
Yelling "O" during the national anthem has become as synonymous with Orioles baseball as singing "Thank God I'm a Country Boy' at every 7th-inning stretch. Recently the "O" has been getting louder, with Birds fans themselves admitting they are not always ready for how blaring that part of the anthem is.
For an away fan, it is a unique experience that is either sought after or totally shocking. A regular at OPaCY can see a few bewildered faces on fans with out-of-town gear on when that "O" rings across the Yards.
4. The classics never get old
Some things are better shared with as many people as possible. These things, such as the hot dog race, crab shuffle and singing "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" have been around for years, but now they can be experienced with a packed Camden Yards.
T-shirts with "mustard," "relish" and "ketchup" dot the stands. Straw hats are not impossible to find. And Old Bay memorabilia, a must-have for any expedition into Baltimore, can be seen on talkative fans who might have only just started chatting over their affinity for OPaCY culture.
5. The promise of a bright future
The farm system is booming for the Orioles. Not just that, but expected Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson and the return of ace pitcher John Means further bolster the young squad. Adley Rutschman and Jordan Westburg are also two names fans can expect to get used to. These names have drawn an array of supporters to the Yards this season.
Upon their arrival, they are happy to chat with the people sitting next to them about how good this O's team is and can be in the future. No longer does Camden Yards look desolate and depressing as it did just a couple of seasons ago, now it looks like a stadium filled with all types of baseball fans, ready to see their team compete for the World Series.