It was enjoyable reading about the markedly improved Orioles and the resulting increased attendance at Camden Yards (“Orioles’ 2023 attendance up 24% compared with last year at same point; MLB attendance up 6%,” June 2). If Hollywood ever makes a movie called “Field of Sports Marketing Dreams,” its slogan would be: “If you win it, they will come.”
My wife and I have been decades-long season ticket holders for both the Orioles and Ravens. We have noted this clear uptick in attendance at Oriole Park. Yes, the pandemic was a factor in the lower fan numbers during recent seasons. But the lengthy rebuilding process did strain the patience of many more casual fans. We welcome them back — even though the concession and stadium entry lines are now longer. As The Baltimore Sun article reports, the Oriole players appreciate, and are energized and motivated by, the fan support. With a heightened excitement level in the stands, games are more fun. The roar of the crowd is back!
As more fans return to the ballpark, perhaps a reminder of some do’s and don’ts is in order. Let’s call it “Stadium Etiquette 101″ or “Miss Manners for Sports Fans.”
Do shout “O” during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I admit that many years ago, I was a little ambivalent regarding this tradition. I pondered whether it would be disrespectful to our country or its veterans to yell during the national anthem. After careful consideration, I believe that most people take no offense and consider it a unique and endearing homage to Orioles baseball past and present.
Do not curse in front of young children. Look around and be mindful of who is near you. An occasional off-color remark among adults is sometimes a welcome and amusing diversion at a ballgame. But you wouldn’t want someone spewing expletives in front of your young kids, nieces or nephews. As they say at M&T Bank Stadium: “Have fun, root hard, show respect for the fans around you, but don’t be a jerk!”
In a related matter, do not discipline someone else’s kid. Nowadays, parents are rightfully wary of strangers and many do not take kindly when it comes to correcting their child’s behavior. If a child is kicking the back of your seat or poking you with their newly-acquired foam finger, politely bring it to their parent’s attention. Most will quickly correct the situation for you.
Do be kind to out-of-town fans. Camden Yards is known as “The Ballpark that Forever Changed Baseball.” It is a source of civic pride and a draw for baseball fans everywhere. As such, it helps to generate hotel and restaurant business and is an important source of tax revenue for Baltimore. It would be admirable for Orioles fans to be known for being warm and welcoming to visitors. After all, this is Charm City. Even though they may be rooting against our O’s, visitors do have every right to enjoy a day at the ballpark (even the sometimes-boorish Yankee and Red Sox fans). When my sons were children, I explained visiting team fans to them simply: “They’re very much like us. They just live somewhere else.” And always remember, no matter how intense the rivalry, it is just a game.
Finally, do not constantly get up and down from your seat, obstructing other peoples’ view of the game. Combine your concession stand and restroom trips to minimize interruptions for your fellow fans. Enter your section from the side that inconveniences the fewest people. Do wait for a break in the action before making others get up for you to be seated. At baseball games, there is ample time between pitches or innings to do so. During football games, wait for a TV break or when the players are in the huddle. At Ravens games this fall, let the football players be the ones doing the blocking.
At Camden Yards, enjoy the return of winning Orioles baseball. But don’t be that person who literally stands in the way of fans witnessing some extraordinary Orioles Magic.
— Eugene Wu, Sparks
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