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Orioles fans gear up for a postseason run

Hand printed Orioles and Ravens merchandise at Write-On! on Frederick Road in Catonsville on Monday, October 6.
Hand printed Orioles and Ravens merchandise at Write-On! on Frederick Road in Catonsville on Monday, October 6. (Staff photo by Brian Krista)

It has been 17 years since supporters of the Baltimore Orioles had to worry about altering their plans for mid-October, but local fans are happy to do it this season after the ballclub swept Detroit and advanced to the American League Championship Series.

Debbie Welsh, owner of Write-On Inc. on Frederick Road in Catonsville, had a sleepless night after the Orioles defeated the Tigers, 2-1, on Sunday to close out the series.

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"I've been up all night trying to think of slogans that rhyme," said the Catonsville resident whose most popular T-shirt has the slogan "Talk Birdy to Me, I'm a Baltimore girl."

The shop, which features Orioles and Ravens gear and promotional items, is usually closed on Mondays, but she was open this past Monday so people could dress for success when the home team takes on the Kansas City Royals, beginning Friday night at Camden Yards.

"It [business] has been non-stop," said the Arbutus native. "It's just been a little bit crazy. I am ordering everything orange."

Among her newest favorite items is a tailgate Orioles sweatshirt, which features a holder for a beer koozie.

Edmondson Heights resident Ann Peters is no stranger to wearing Orioles gear. In addition to the usual clothing, she also has Oriole beads and jewelry.

"I'm wearing my lucky earrings," she said. "As a matter of fact, I came home from a Ravens game one day and the Orioles were losing and I changed earrings and we wound up winning that game."

Peters has kept her orange porch light on around the clock since the Orioles started in the playoffs and is  planning her wardrobe for the cooler weather.

"For the next round of games, I just have to make sure I have all my fall orange ready to go because we have a long haul ahead of us," she said. "I have my summer orange, but now if the weather is chilled up, I need my fall orange. And I will be wearing orange from this point forward."

Peters compares this year's Orioles to the ones that won the World Series in 1983.

"This isn't the superstar year," she said. "These are just a bunch of guys and we have grown to love them through this season. This is the team. I got my warm-and-fuzzy for them."

Peters' brother, Steve, an Arbutus resident, said this year's team reminds him of the 1979 squad that lost the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates after being up three games to one.

"It reminds me of Orioles Magic team," he said. "It's been a great run and I hope it continues for a couple more weeks."

The last time the Orioles were in the American League championship Series in 1997, Catonsville High wrestling coach Eric Warm was 17, living in New York and rooting for the Orioles.

The Orioles lost that year to the Cleveland Indians.

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Warm, 34, became an Orioles fan because they were his dad's favorite team.

He still remembers the loss in five games to the New York Yankees in the 1996 championship series. That series included fan Jeffrey Maier's catch of Yankees Derek Jeter's fly ball to right field that was ruled a home run in Game 1.

"We always followed the Orioles and the Jeffrey Maier thing happened and they threw the kid a parade," he said. "They treated him like a hero for doing something bad."

Warm is coming home early from a wrestling convention in Grantville, Pa., so he can go to the Saturday playoff game and keep his perfect record intact. "I'm 6-for-6 [Oriole victories] this year in games I went to," he said.

Catonsville resident Andre LaBate altered his return flight plans from Las Vegas because he thought the Orioles might be playing against the Angels on Oct. 13 at Camden Yards.

Instead, they will be playing in Kansas City in Baltimore that night because the Royals swept the Angels.

"We are coming back at 6 a.m. because we thought we were going to host a game on Monday afternoon," said LaBate, who is still coming back early. "I don't want to be in the air while the game is going on."

Catonsville native Paul Cush didn't hesitate stalking tickets as soon as the Orioles won the nail-biter in game three in Detroit.

"I'd rather be in the stadium," Cush said. "I put it on Facebook, 'Need two?'"

Cush said the Orioles' victory Sunday "eased the pain of the Ravens loss [to the Indianapolis Colts]."

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