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Are the fans starting to return to Camden Yards?

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis could feel the energy back at Camden Yards.

As the Orioles rallied from a six-run deficit Sunday against Tampa Bay in Baltimore’s eventual 9-8 loss, Markakis – the most veteran player currently on the team’s 25-man roster – took notice of more fans in the the stands.

"It's awesome,” Markakis said. “A packed house, going into the ninth inning down by two runs. It's just momentum. Crowd is in it. That's all you can ask for.

“It's all about the fans. That's what we play for. A lot of people say we're playing for ourselves.  A lot of guys in this clubhouse, we're playing for other purposes. We just want to go out there and put a good game together, and these fans have been great to us so far. We've just got to continue it."

An announced crowd of 29,552 filled Camden Yards on Sunday. And yes, some of that could be attributed to Mother’s Day and some nice weather, but this weekend’s series against the Rays, which drew an average of 29,634, was the most attended series since Opening Day weekend. Saturday’s announced crowd of 32,862 was the largest since Opening Day on April 6 (46,773).

Through 19 home dates this season, the attendance at Camden Yards (an average of 21,571 a game) is just slightly up by an average of 2,022 fans a game, an increase of 10 percent over this time last year.

Maybe, just maybe, the fans are starting to come back to Camden Yards. Despite Sunday’s loss, the Orioles (22-13) are nine game over .500 and with a one-game lead over the Rays in the AL East standings.

And it will be interesting to see how many fans show up for a two-game series with the Yankees today and tomorrow – and how many will be wearing orange and black and not pinstripes.

So let’s throw it out there: Is the Orioles’ hot start making you more likely to come out to Camden Yards or are fans still in wait-and-see mode?

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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