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Jimmy Rill, of Hampstead, and Oriole fans gear up to to cheer the home team on against the Kansas City Royals for the American League championship.
Jimmy Rill, of Hampstead, and Oriole fans gear up to to cheer the home team on against the Kansas City Royals for the American League championship. (Photo by Phil Grout)

Baltimore Orioles fans around Carroll County are excited to show their pride in the AL East Champions as the home team takes on the Kansas City Royals for the league championship.

Whether proudly wearing the team's colors or toasting a victory at a local restaurant, the Birds' fans in the county are celebrating the team's first appearance in the American League Championship Series since back-to-back losses in 1996 (New York Yankees) and 1997 (Cleveland Indians).

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"It's exciting to see people excited about the Orioles again," said Tammy Waechter, store manager for Home Games, a sports memorabilia store in Westminster Town Mall. "People are very excited."

While the store always stocks a variety of Orioles' items, it has increased its inventory with the Orioles' success, especially after the thrilling 2-1 win on Oct. 5 capped a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers that set the stage for the matchup with the Royals.

"We sell everything," Waechter said. "Things for children as well as adults. We have lots of stuff."

Fans can find lanyards, pennants, flags, fuzzy dice, magnets, lunch boxes, puzzles, seat cushions and toys. They can wear socks, jewelry, jerseys, T-shirts, sweatshirts and hair accessories.

"Our Orioles business has increased," Waechter said. "It's huge."

Over at 140 Village Shopping Center in Westminster, John Conigliaro, owner of Great Moments, has also enjoyed an increase in sales Baltimore Orioles' clothing and other items.

"It's been healthy," said Conigliaro, of sales.

Like many in the area, Conigliaro is already looking ahead to perhaps seeing the Orioles reach the World Series for the first time since 1983, when the home team defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in five games to win the championship.

"I'm sure if the Orioles go further it will be a lot healthier," he said.

The store has seen a steady of sales of AL East champions merchandise, Conigliaro said, especially T-shirts and baseball caps.

"Those have been the most popular items," Conigliaro said, though he also always offers pennants, bumper stickers and other Orioles' apparel.

"Every day, people are coming in talking about the Orioles," said Conigliaro, who has been in business for 19 years.

Westminster Antiques has also seen a spike of interest in Orioles' memorabilia, according to Carrie Riggin, manager.

"You can see an upswing of Orioles items selling," Riggin said. "We have had more people buying autographed baseballs. We have had older mugs that are here sold and pennants."

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At Serra Bros Sports Bar in Eldersburg, the O's run for the World Series has brought in a healthy crowd, according to Dave Norwood, bartender.

"We definitely notice a difference," Norwood said. "The wins have created a celebratory atmosphere. Go Os!"

Greenmount Station in Hampstead has also seen an influx of both old and new customers for the Orioles games, Ken Krieger, a bartender said on Oct. 7, two days after the two-run home run by Nelson Cruz in the sixth inning eliminated the Tigers a week ago.

"During the playoffs there have been a lot more people coming in," Krieger said. "What the Os are doing is amazing for the city (Baltimore) and even for a little small town out here like Hampstead."

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