Prior to last season, I always thought the Opening Day crowd at Camden Yards was a soft, corporate crowd. Everyone knows someone who got tickets from their office or their boss, or spouses company, et cetera. But in 2009, the fans booed the Severna Park phenom Mark Teixeira when he made his Yankee debut and this year they reserved their boos for an Oriole, new closer Mike Gonzalez.
I’m not here to lecture the fans, I’ve been outspoken about trying to get good fans to return to the Yard. However, I do hate knowing that if I cheer too loudly in the wrong section I’m going to get glares from the crab shuffle faithful. Last season I coined the slogan “I went to a hot dog race and a baseball game broke out” about Camden Yards. But there’s just something about that Opening Day crowd isn’t there? The fans vocally booed Mike Gonzalez during his introduction in the Opening Day ceremonies and I just have one question for the record 48,607 in attendance. Where are you going to be in a month?
I needed some time to cool off after tonight’s game to post an article about it. And the longer I let the topic stew in my brain, the further I got from wanting to write about what actually took place on the field today in Baltimore. I don’t even want to give you my opinion of Mike Gonzalez in this article and I hope the comments in response to this piece reflect the topic I’m addressing. I’m not here to talk about Gonzo’s role as closer or my thoughts on moving him out of that spot or keeping him in it.
What I do want to talk about are the fans. You want to boo an Oriole, that’s fine. But prove me wrong and come fill up the Yard in May, push the Yankee and Red Sox fans out of the park and get excited about watching baseball. Don’t tell me to sit down when there’s two strikes on a batter and don’t, for the love of all things holy, scream louder for the stupid games on the jumbotron than for the talent on the field.
To me, the fans that booed Mike Gonzalez are in all likelihood the same fans that won’t show up to another game all season. They’re the same fans that can’t name the Orioles rotation, tell you who’s playing at every position or what the Orioles’ schedule looks like this week. And I understand having bad fans, but if you’re going to boo your team then back it up with some passion and desire to win because there is nothing worse than a fan that doesn’t care.
Philly fans are ridiculed all the time for being negative or hypercritical of their team, but I respect them for their passion to win. You don’t run into too many negative fans from Philadelphia that don’t care about their teams or know what’s going on. They might bash every move the Phillies or Eagles make, but they sell out Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field and I respect that.
If Oriole fans want to become critical of this team then they need to back it up and history has taught me that they won’t.