Monday, June 02, 2008

Fenway Park at Camden Yards

I don't think any development in sports in the last decade has out and out depressed me as much as the complete domination of Oriole Park by Red Sox fans when Boston is in town. Manny's 500th homer Saturday night could not have been better for Sox fans had it been hit in Boston. It may as well have been. After all, our gorgeous ballpark seats some 15,000 more fans than Fenway, and most of its seats were filled by Red Sox faithful. Watching the highlight on sportscenter, all you could see were Sox-clad fans screaming and jumping up and down after it was hit in celebration.

As an Orioles fan, you just want to turn and look away. I cannot blame Sox fans for coming down and making a weekend of baseball in Baltimore a part of their annual tradition. After all, what's not to like? We have an amazing stadium situated downtown in walking distance to plenty of hotels, we have thousands of face value seats available, our team doesn't put up much of a fight, and you get to party with your friends and/or family as if you were home.

If the Orioles were great and our park was an outdated Matchbox car of a stadium where you couldn't even buy an obstructed view ticket without paying triple digits, I'd take a road trip too.

(That's the best I can do, by the way, in summoning some form of zinger to Red Sox fans, who have us beat, up, down and all around.)

But that's not really what this is about. This is about the visible, emotional, painful evidence of one team at the very top of popularity and success and another continuing to try to find its way. I believe in Andy MacPhail and the current rebuilding process, but it's going to take years and years to reverse the decay of the Orioles franchise and distrust of its fan base. Placing Baltimore on the road jerseys is a good first step. Becoming less hospitable hosts to our guests from the North is another. Someone make it stop.

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