Among the many sad realities of Baltimore Orioles baseball is this: after Opening Day, the most anticipated date on the schedule is floppy hat night.
With the O’s eliminated from the pennant race after their annual June swoon, meaningful late-summer match-ups or—ahemmm—playoff games just aren’t in the cards at the Yards. Last year’s Buck revival aside (a two-month stretch of winning baseball, the Washington Post pointed out Tuesday, that makes this season’s collapse even tougher to swallow), following the All-Star Game in early July baseball dies a slow death in this town.
That makes floppy hat night - July 22, this year - the pinnacle. Despite the heat (it’s going to be as hot as Ichiro describes Kansas City in August - YouTube it, trust me) expect a big crowd at the stadium tomorrow night. They won’t be there to watch Michael Gonzalez turn a two-run deficit into four or someone named Matt Angle patrol left field. This year’s camouflaged style floppy hat is the most radical offering in the years-long promotion. After what soon-will-be 14 straight losing seasons, perhaps the team thinks its fans don’t want to be seen. Or maybe they let Luke Scott design it.
It’s looking like the NFL lockout also could end Friday, meaning the actual beginning of the Ravens' season and the symbolic ending of the Orioles’ one might coincide. In the battle for Baltimore sports fans, there’s no mystery as to who’s going to win that collision.