Wednesday, September 01, 2010

This is Birdland

The Beach Boys once sang about loyalty:
When some loud braggart tries to put me down
And say his school is great
I tell him right away
Now what's the matter buddy
Ain't you heard of my school?
It's number one in the state
I was one of 18,247 people who saw the Orioles beat the Red Sox fair and square on Tuesday night.  A brief visual survey suggested that perhaps 12,000 were Red Sox fans, 6,000 were Orioles fans, and at least one guy was a Twins fan.

Brian Matusz started the top of the 7th by walking J.D. Drew.  The Buckwalter Show visited the mound, and Jim Johnson jogged out to keep the Orioles' 3-2 lead safe.  A Jed Lowrie single and a Bill Hill sacrifice put runners on 2d and 3d for Daniel Nava (pinch hitting for Darnell McDonald).  After two pitches, Johnson was ahead in the count, 0-2.  Two of the next three pitches were balls (and one foul), so after five pitches, the count stood at 2-2.  With the go-ahead run in scoring position, we started to hear this mysterious chant:
Let's go, Red Sox
[clap, clap, clap clap clap]
Let's go, Red Sox
The chant began in one guy's lungs but was quickly taken up by the crowd, and the strength and volume of the chant made me fidget in my seat.  The guy behind me started yelling things like, "Let's go [Nava]!!"*  And most of the crowd agreed.  If you've ever attended an Orioles-Red Sox game at Fenway Park Camden Yards, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  You start looking around for the Green Monster.

*He actually yelled, "Let's go, J.D.!!" about eighteen times before somebody corrected him about who was batting.  I kinda thought I was at a Lakers game in the Staples Center for a second.  (Since that guy was probably a Celtics fan, did I just compare a Celtics fan to a Lakers fan?  I think I did.)

So I did what any self-respecting Orioles fan should do in that situation.  I stood up, I clapped, I whooped, I yelled encouragements to Jim Johnson.  I made people behind me start calling out "Down in front!"

Wait a minute.  You want to come into my house, wear your nasty dark blue and red (and green), chant your chants, and sing your songs?  Fine.  But now you want me to take it sitting down?

Don't tread on me.

I turned around:
Me: "Hey---you're in Baltimore.  You wanna support your team, you can stand up, too."
Red Sox fan: "Well, do you wanna be a jerk about it?"
I guess that depends.  Do you want to be a jerk about coming into my house, wearing your nasty colors, and chanting your stupid chants?  Then, yeah, I want to be a jerk about coming into my own house, wearing my own colors, and chanting my own stupid chants.  Yes, I will be a jerk.  It's called "loyalty."  I think you're familiar with it.  It's the kind of thing that makes you drive 400 miles to see your home team.

So, Orioles fans, listen.  I know the glory days are all in the past.  I know that you may not be the biggest fan of the current ownership.  I know that you hate paying money to see your team lose.  But you should hate even more that Red Sox fans feel welcome to come into our house, wear their colors, and chant their chants.  You should hate even more that they chant and cheer and jeer louder than we do.  You should hate even more that they're starting to think of this as their house, their home away from home, where they can give you dirty looks and tell you to sit down because you're making too much noise for the other team.

You should hate even more that "Let's go O's" gets smothered by "Let's go Red Sox" every f'n time.

So, Orioles fans, there are 15 home games left, including two against the Red Sox and three against the Yankees.  Show up in droves.  Wear our colors.  Chant our chants.  Give Camden Yards its name back.

This, mis amigos, is Birdland.

1 comment:

Jada Masten said...

You sold me! Maybe you should be in marketing! :-)