Always Orioles

Always Orioles (Sun file photo / October 10, 2012)

NPR sports commentator Frank Deford threw propriety to the wind Wednesday morning in favor of hometown pride and loyalty, admitting on air that he was rooting -- hard -- for the Orioles.

Deford, who grew up in North Baltimore, first explained that when it comes to sports teams, folks need to dance with the one that brung ya.

"My first protocol in rooting in sports is you should stick with the teams you grew up with," he said. "Continuing to cheer for your original hometown teams is one way of displaying the old-fashioned value of allegiance."

And Deford is nothing but old-fashioned faithful.

He told listeners about the long-held practice among sports reporters to keep their personal feelings to themselves. Moreover, he said, "We're supposed to look down at you sappy fans getting all worked up about your silly teams while we must be neutered, remain objective, above the fray, no cheering in the press box is our equivalent of don't mention bombs when you're in the airport security line."

And yet, he couldn't hold in his loyalty to the hometown birds that he still likes to call "the flock."

"OK. Everybody is coming out these days so yes, I am too. I have known since I was a child that I love the Baltimore Orioles. I loved them before they were the O's as they are regrettably known today.

"I don't care what it does for my reputation as a hard-hearted sports scribe...I've suffered with my beloved flock, losing for 14 years in a row. And now that they are actually in the playoffs, I must go public."

And he added for good measure: "I'm not crazy about the New York Yankees either."

jill.rosen@baltsun.com

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