When I moved to Baltimore in the spring of 2006, baseball was just getting underway. I wasted little time in taking in a game at Camden Yards. I immediately fell in love with the stadium and the atmosphere that surrounded it. Many aspects of the fan base mirrored that of my beloved Cleveland Indians. I have long said that Baltimore is a baseball town and would take a World Series over a Super Bowl every year.
I am a well-documented Ravens hater, but I have always found myself pulling for the O’s. Although I will always be a Tribe fan through and through, it’s enjoyable to see the hometown team win (as long as that team isn’t the Ravens). I felt like the way the team was run was much like that of the Tribe; frugal ownership that depended more on player development, rather than spending money on big free agents to compete. It helped me really understand the fan’s issues when it came to rooting for a small market team. Following that first season, all I asked for was to see playoff baseball in Baltimore before I left. With how much this city loves their O’s, I knew it would be a great environment to be a part of.
As a Tribe fan, my team has left its mark on this city. The last time they experienced playoff baseball, the Tribe was busy wiping them off the map in 1997. Since then it’s been 15 years as tough luck losers not being able to spend with the likes of the Yanks and the Red Sox. Attendance has gone down by more than 50% and it took all the way until September for the fans to return to the Yards for fear of getting too excited only for a letdown.
Now the energy has returned to this “baseball town.” Everywhere you go, people want to talk about the O’s. The Ravens have taken a back seat, something that hasn’t happened in this town in over a decade. Every year I enter the Tribe season optimistic, hoping a great start carries over into the second half. I buy into whatever cheese ball slogan the marketing team is trying to sell us. For once it’s nice to be a part of a city where it has all panned out.
While I will never turn my back on the Tribe, in a mere couple hours I will know if we have playoff baseball actually coming to Baltimore. While the tickets will I’m sure be well out of my price range, I will definitely head over to the stadium to take part in the celebration.