It doesn't take a baseball insider to know that the Orioles have stunk so far this season. Our 3-16 record is, by far, the worst in the league and our upcoming schedule (Yankees, Red Sox, Yankees) doesn't bode well. But the best thing about us as Orioles fans is that we support our team through good times and bad—or so I thought.
I attended the April 12 game when the Orioles managed to draw the lowest attendance in Camden Yards history. I remember looking around and thinking that the crowd was sparse, but I had no idea it was a mere 9,129. Camden Yards has never had a crowd less than 10,000 in its 18-year history.
Some can blame the owner or the manager or the bullpen (and they have), but when it comes down to record-low attendance, the only people to blame are ourselves. Yes, it's embarrassing to have one of our worst Aprils after 12 losing seasons, but it's even more embarrassing to have out-of-town fans outnumber us in our ballpark.
The Sun's Peter Schmuck had a great column, in which he tried to surmise the reason for such low attendance. It could have been the fact that it was a Monday game following Opening Day on a Friday. Or maybe it's because the Orioles have imposed a $1-5 surcharge on tickets bought day-of.
But Schmuck hinted at something towards the end of his piece. The heart of the matter is that low attendance can be cyclical—the players notice it, it drops morale, the game suffers. When I interviewed pitcher Chris Tillman for our April Orioles feature, he said, "You know, just looking at the Orioles record, I wasn't sure how the fans were going to be. But Baltimore has some of the most loyal and supportive fans in the league."
We should prove him right. Starting tonight, the Orioles are back in town for six games. I encourage everyone to cough up $8 for a ticket, drink a few cheap beers outside of Pickles, and fill out the seats in our gorgeous ballpark.
[Image: courtesy of photo.net]