If you want to know what is the ultimate sign of optimism for Orioles baseball - or at least the ultimate sign that things have really, really turned around this year, you need look no farther than this article from the Baltimore Business Journal with a very direct and awesome headline: "Baltimore Orioles to put playoff tickets on sale"
This is a routine step for a team that's in contention. Of course a team can't just put playoff tickets on sale once they know that the team is in the playoffs. That would be asking for chaos. The first step is sending out invoices to season ticket holders, which is what the article notes will be done. Then, when they know how many tickets will be purchased by season ticket holders, "some time in mid-September" single-game tickets will go on sale.
If you've been like me and waiting for that last sign that you might as well just take the leap of faith and go all in on hoping for this team, even though you may still be burned, this could be your sign. It's a small thing, probably even smaller to fanbases that are used to their team going through this process on a yearly basis. For Orioles fans, the idea of printing playoff tickets has been ludicrous for over half of my life.
In 2012 the idea is not ludicrous. It's August 22 and the Orioles are in one of the wild card spots. That wild card spot does not currently guarantee them even one playoff home game, but it's best to be prepared, isn't it? Tomorrow, they will be selling playoff tickets. The Orioles will be selling playoff tickets. The only thing more Birdland than that would be winning the World Series.