With the Baltimore Orioles on the verge of Game 3 against New York on Wednesday night in the Bronx, the return of the Birds to baseball's elite has been the stuff of sweet conversations all around town.
In Towson, one place for a little Orioles chatter is Hairway to Steven, a barber shop on York Road with two seats and lots of optimism for the O's chances against them dang Yankees.
"Everybody's been coming in and talking about it," said Charlie Helmlinger, who works at the shop owned by Steve Rowell. "I pretty much ask everybody who sits in the chair if they're an Orioles fan."
Helmlinger enjoys talking to customers about the team's playoff run — from those who remember Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer to the new crop cheering on Nick Markakis and Wei-Yin Chen.
"It's definitely cool when the Orioles are doing good," he said. "I think this town has been waiting for the Orioles to break out for a long time, and its finally happened. So, it's exciting. I think it brings back a lot more memories than anything — people thinking about the old days.
"Seeing the stadium packed is pretty cool," he added. "I forgot that Camden Yards could get that loud."
Not everyone has the "old days" to look back on — but that doesn't make the Orioles' run of 2012 any less sweet.
Among those in the barbershop on Wednesday was Eric Denicolos, a freshman at Towson University who came in for a cut — and to share his Orioles' optimism.
"Everyone feels the same way I do about it, everyone is so happy," he said, noting that O's fever has swept across the Towson campus. "Everyone has their Adam Jones and Markakis jerseys. Everyone's got their hats, everyone's supporting their team.
Denicolos was 3 when the Orioles were last in post season play in 1997. "This is a completely new, strange experience," he said.
But he knows it's one to savor.
"I don't really care how far we go. I'm just so happy that we're playing for a World Series," Denicolos said.
His barber agrees to a point — but can't trim his great expectations.
"I just hope they go all the way," Helmlinger said. "It would be awesome if they make it to the World Series.