I wrote this last week for MASNSports.com...
The Orioles are fast approaching the quarter-pole of the 2012 season, and I'm sure many fans are asking themselves these questions:
Are the Orioles for real? Can they keep this up? Or are they pulling the wool over our eyes, and will the team that we've seen for the last 14 years make an appearance?
Right now, I'd say they are for real. I am still having a hard time believing it.
The Orioles are winning games that would not have won in the past, plus they are getting excellent starting pitching, timely clutch hitting and the bullpen has been phenomenal.
They sit at 24-14 as of this morning and tied for first place with the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East.
However, it does not seem that fans have turned out Camden Yards in large numbers at all.
I went to the Yankees-Orioles game Tuesday night with a co-worker, a buddy and some of his friends. My co-worker is a Yankees fan and it made for some interesting conversation during the evening. Although the forecast for that day was for rain to appear off and on in the area with thunderstorms, at game time, the weather was nothing short of wonderful. There were blue skies with some clouds in the air, and the temperature was in the high-70s. Alas, it seemed as if only half the ballpark was filled.
It was surprising for my co-worker to see and he was completely dumfounded. Granted, it was only his second game ever at Camden Yards and he is a transplant from northern New Jersey.
He said, "The Orioles are off to a hot start and they are beating up on everyone. Your park is beautiful, you all have great pitching, you're winning. It's a lovely night, but where the hell is everybody?"
I remarked, "Well, I don't know. Yeah, it is a nice night out, but I think fans are still wondering about the team. Honestly, they have sucked for so long that it's a wait-and-see mode for many people. They have given us very little to cheer about. Why should fans put their financial and emotional investment into something, if there's been little reward since Clinton was president. If the Orioles are in it - in the wild card, or divisional hunt - after late June or July, then the fans will start to come back in numbers."