For two intense nights, Baltimore was a baseball town again

Fans greet the Orioles as they take the field for the start of Game 2 against the Yankees in the American League Division Series at Camden Yards.
Fans greet the Orioles as they take the field for the start of Game 2 against the Yankees in the American League Division Series at Camden Yards. (Karl Merton Ferron, MCT)

Orioles fans, take a bow. You deserve it.

That was some show you put on at Camden Yards the past two nights. I've never seen anything like it. And I've been around sports in this town for a long time.


For two wonderful nights in October, you showed the entire country this could still be a great baseball town, no matter how big the Ravens are.

For two nights, in the kind of dreary weather that makes London look like a terrific place, you filled the Orioles' jewel of a downtown ballpark, twirling your orange-and-white rally towels and making enough noise to shake the place — literally.


There's this notion that Camden Yards is full of uninterested fans who ask, "Which one is Adam Jones again?"

Forget it. These were real, loud, knowledgable baseball fans. And they were having the time of their lives as the Orioles evened the series with a 3-2 win over the Yankees.

In one sense, what we saw the past two nights was this mass exorcism of 14 years of losing. In another sense, it was a celebration for something precious that had returned for the first time since 1997, and that was postseason baseball.

You were ready to party, Orioles fans. And you sure did.


If the smattering of New York fans started that obnoxious "Let's go, Yankees!" chant, you took a meaty fist to them — I'm speaking figuratively here, don't get any ideas — and drowned them out with Orioles cheers.

You came up big when your team needed you. And you made this city proud.

On Monday night, with more rain falling and a chilly wind cutting through the ballpark, you ignored it all again and gave it up for your team.

You twirled your white "BUCKle Up" towels until your arms seized up. You sang along — if "sang" is the right word — to "Seven Nation Army." You joined — at least some of you — in the inevitable anti-Yankees chants.

You howled with rage when Ichiro Suzuki scored on that close play at the plate in Monday's first inning to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. And all night long, you gave your heart to this team.

But it was during the Orioles' 7-2 loss to New York the night before that you were truly legendary.

The fact is, that 2-hour, 26-minute rain delay had the Orioles worried about your energy levels.

"It was a topic [that] three or four guys mentioned: 'Gosh, they've waited so long for a moment like that, and now they're sitting around underneath,'" manager Buck Showalter said before Monday night's game. "But it didn't seem to dampen their enthusiasm. No one went away."

No, no one did. Instead, you fans waited patiently for your moment, all that intensity on hold as you checked the weather forecast on your iPhones and milled about the concourse. But as soon as the grounds crew pulled the tarp off the infield, you were ready to explode.

And when starter Jason Hammel threw the first pitch, the roar from the stands made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

The Orioles ended up losing, sure, but you fans hung with them all night.

You were tired. You were wet. You had to wake up early the next day to get the kids ready for school.

But you stayed until the bitter end. Well, most of you, anyway. When Russell Martin hit that ninth-inning shot into the left field stands off Jim Johnson to begin the Yankees' five-run rally, sure, some of you headed for the exits.

Who could blame you? It was after midnight. It felt like Tuesday morning. Or maybe even Wednesday.

But you fans, Showalter said, "were part of us being in the ballgame. ... Our guys fed off it."

The atmosphere, Showalter added, "was everything I thought it would be, and more. I was real proud of our people. Our fans showed up."

Speaking of that, it would be nice to see some of this great enthusiasm carry over to next season.

I say that because there were a few series at Camden Yards toward the end of the season when, let's face it, a lot of you didn't turn out.

I don't know why, exactly. Maybe you still didn't think this team was for real. Maybe it was because the kids were back in school. Maybe the Grand Prix road closures downtown made you wuss out.

Whatever, it was embarrassing.

But that's a quibble, Orioles fans.

Today, we should focus on this: On the two biggest nights of this magical season, you were among the best fans on the planet.


Listen to Kevin Cowherd at 7:20 a.m. Tuesdays on 105.7 The Fan's "The Norris and Davis Show."