The Orioles can’t seem to do wrong this September.
No, I’m not talking about Buck Showalter’s magic with the lineup card or the bullpen—though they should just give him the manager of the year award with some of the Houdini-like maneuvers he’s made in 2012.
I’m talking about the organization as a whole.
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After years of appearing completely disconnected from their quickly-unplugging fan base, the Orioles seem to be making all the right moves as they near the end of an exciting season.
A few things I’ve noticed from observing the team’s actions and being at the ballpark in recent weeks.
- Discounted September tickets have been long overdue. The stadium once seated 48,000-plus. Renovations and upgrades have knocked that down to 46,000-plus. But filling it with 13,000 fans each night was an embarrassment. The homestand against New York and Tampa Bay made it exciting for Baltimoreans to be a fan again.
- The game day atmosphere has improved. The Orioles have acknowledged the Ravens exist and they’re even picking up some of their traditions. The Orioles entertainment crew mixed in—at strategic moments—the song “Seven Nation Army” that gets M&T Bank Stadium rocking. It worked at Camden Yards, too.
- The cartoon bird was a great call. I was on board with this when it first happened. But making the Orioles cool means more than just putting exciting talent on the field—it comes down to a cool lid, too. And whether you have the road or home hat, the throwback hat fits everyone.
That’s just three ways the Orioles have done exceedingly well surrounding this talented club with some smooth community-first decisions.
It wasn’t always that way.
For example: remember the outcry from fans clamoring for the return of “Baltimore” on the road jersey? That plea wasn’t exactly answered in an expedient manner.
There have been plenty of other great moves in 2012—the statues in the picnic area, the center field bar and some of the more subtle changes to the stadium experience.
But with all of the changes, the experience is still uniquely Baltimore—the ‘O’ in the anthem, the 7th-inning stretch, the history and the passion.
The Orioles got much better in 2012—in more ways than the standings will indicate.
TELL US: What—aside from winning—is the best thing to happen to the Orioles in 2012? Leave a comment.
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