These weren’t the same Boston Red Sox who used to regularly come to Camden Yards and bully the Orioles in their own ballpark.
And the crowd at Tuesday night’s series opener didn’t seem to be the same crowd we’re used to seeing in these parts for this kind of series.
There was a lot more orange among the announced 26,204 at Camden Yards for the Orioles' 7-1 win over the Red Sox than even during Boston's first trip here in May.
The moment I took notice was when reliever Darren O’Day escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh by striking out Cody Ross swinging and Ryan Lavarnway looking, prompting a loud standing ovation going into the seventh-inning stretch.
As loud as it was, it was kind of surreal.
When manager Buck Showalter took over just more than two years ago, he said he wanted to build a winner in Baltimore so successful that Red Sox and Yankees fans couldn’t get a seat at Camden Yards.
They could Tuesday, but it was definitely a different atmosphere.
“Better than it was two years ago,” Showalter said. “There's a little bit more to be proud of, too. They still will be able to get tickets, I'm sure. It would be nice if we could get to that point where they're listening to it on the radio outside.”
And yes, the Red Sox are now floundering three games under .500 and the Orioles are 10 games over .500 and in one of the two AL wild-card spots. And there still was a share of Red Sox fans Tuesday night – they made their presence known by booing Josh Beckett off the field in the sixth.
But it’s a step toward changing the culture of baseball in Baltimore, a step toward bringing Orioles fans back to Camden Yards.
I'm just glad people are coming to games and enjoy what we're doing out there,” Showalter said. “There's a lot of people who made a decision tonight to come to Camden Yards and watch a major league baseball game. I'd personally like [them] to be wearing orange.
“I've been here when it was hard to get a ticket, and hopefully one day it will be again.”