Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cry me a river

After last night's 6-5 come from behind victory over the Boston Red Sox, Brian Roberts had this to say about the amount of Red Sox fans at Camden Yards...

"I don't know why so many Red Sox fans want to be here and Oriole fans don't," Roberts said. "You look around and you realize that you're swamped in red. It gets really old. To see Wily Mo [Pena] run off the field to a standing ovation after just tying the game is annoying.

"[Orioles fans] are missing out on an opportunity to watch one of the best pitchers in the league against a first-place team. Bedard was phenomenal tonight and deserved a lot more than what he got. I thought what we did in the eighth and nine innings was pretty impressive, too.

"You'd just like to have the support of our fans. We have a pretty darn good team. When we win, I know people will come out. But it would nice if they came out to support us when we're in the process of developing a winning team."

I like Roberts, I really do. He plays the game the right way and has kept his emotions about losing to himself for the most part. But I 100% disagree with his comments.

Here's why...

The Red Sox are what they are, a phenomenon. And winning the World Series only made that phenomenon even worse than it was. Now you've got the green and pink hat wearing fans acting like they know what the hell they're talking about when they probably couldn't tell you the name of the street where Fenway Park is located.

In simple terms, their World Series victory created what is called "bandwagon fans." Bandwagon fans are either from Boston, have family in Boston, know someone in Boston, or just want the attention that comes along with being a Red Sox fan.

And these bandwagon fans sprout up all over the country and go to see the Red Sox play when the team comes to their town.

In Baltimore, it's multiplied by a thousand because of it's closeness to Boston. A lot of former Boston natives live in the Baltimore and DC area.

It also doesn't help that the Orioles are a terrible team, not having a winning season in what will be 10 years. So it only takes common sense to know that when the Red Sox are in town, there will be a lot of Red Sox fans there. It's the same when the Yankees are in town too.

We've been over this, how many times now? Yet each time the Red Sox or Yankees are in town the bitching resurfaces somehow.

It's not our fault. It's the front office's. When they give us a reason to see a game when the Red Sox or Yankees are in town, it'll be harder for opposing fans to get a ticket.

I promise.

So when Roberts makes a comment like this, it makes me mad. Because after all, we're hard-working people. We don't have a large disposable income like Brian Roberts has. So when the Orioles are fumbling their way toward their 10th straight losing season, you can bet your ass that Orioles fans aren't going to spend their hard-earned money to see a losing team, especially when they know that they'll be surrounded by rowdy Red Sox bandwagon fans, looking to start a fight with an Oriole fan, proving their Red Sox fandom.

So if Roberts is frustrated, and I understand why he would be, he needs to storm into Andy MacPhail's office, slam the door behind him, put his finger in Andy's face and say, "I'm sick of this shit. You better do something about it."

Taking it out on the fans is wrong. Besides, last night's game sold out months ago, so it's not like O's fans saw that Bedard was pitching and then turned on the TV to watch So You Think You Can Dance instead.

And finally, the more and more sports are viewed as a business, the more and more we need to start viewing fans as customers. And if the Orioles are going to keep trotting out a crappy product each season, then those customers are going to find something else to do with their hard-earned money and free time. After all, we shouldn't be psyching ourselves up to go to baseball games. Do you psyche yourself up to go to Wal-Mart when you know it will be crowded, with long lines and 3 lanes open? No, you either wait until there's a NASCAR race on when crowds are at their lowest, or you go some where else to spend your money.

The same thing applies here.

Oh and one more thing. When Brian Roberts is playing for the Red Sox or Yankees in a few years, I'm sure he'll be talking about how great his fans are, to support his team on the road.

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