Last Friday night was another student night at the Orioles, and this time the Yankees were in town – and when the Yankees are in town, baseball takes on a whole new life in Baltimore.
Camden Yards was packed – and with mostly O’s fans. (We’ve all known for years that when the O’s play the Yankees there are usually more New York fans in the stands, so we were pleasantly surprised to see way more orange shirts than pinstripes on Friday night.) The crowded atmosphere made the game much more exciting and intense as the fans were extremely vocal and rowdy. Plus, the O’s performed well – giving us all the more reason to cheer.
The game got off to a slow start, but when the 6th inning hit, the O’s went on a tear, demolishing 2 Yankees pitchers and making them bring in a third just to stop the onslaught. Racking up 7 runs the old-fashioned way (with good hitting strategies and base-running instead of just trying to blast the ball over the fence) the Orioles showed that this year has the potential to be different than anyone thought it would be. The Orioles are a team of “little men.” We don’t have the player with the quadrillion dollar salary, the high-priced endorsement, or the television career, but what the O’s did have was a great day of hitting and the pitching to back it up.
Almost as exciting as the actual playing on the field, was the off-field antics the fans put forth. The Yankees are more than just the O’s division rival – they are the essence of evil to Baltimore baseball fans. (Who can forget when the 13-yr old Yankees fan stole our hopes of a world series birth the last time the O’s had a serious chance of making it?) So when fans from the two teams mix it isn’t always pretty. The stadium erupted several times in boisterous chants of “Yankees Suck” and every time a fan in pinstripes walked by they were berated by the O’s fans in the crowd. And when our monstrous 6th inning came it gave these hardcore orange and black devotees the perfect ammunition to let out all their years of frustrations with the Yankees, at their fans who dared to enter “The Birdhouse.” Fan fights erupted (we’re talking drink pouring and spitting here) and the police escorted several fans from both sides out of the stadium. Plus with the stands packed with students, the game became more like a college football game than a professional game, as there were faces painted, loud and creative rhyming cheers, and rowdy fans who were acting like this game was being played in September rather than April. The atmosphere was unlike any other normal student night and we think it made the game much more exciting.
For just $6 we were able to see a great game, witness some crazy fan antics, and watch the hated Yankees lose miserably to our beloved O’s. Not bad for a Friday night.