It's no secret to anyone reading this that the Orioles were terrible for a lot of years. And for most of those years, the Red Sox and Yankees were very good. Those things combined with a few other factors have resulted in a lot of games at Camden Yards over the years where our beautiful stadium (and the entire downtown Baltimore area) has been overrun by fans of those two teams. If you have been to those games or have even just watched them on TV, you know how miserable they are.
My problem with those fans was never that they were there in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I didn't want them there. But it's not like they were out beating up Orioles fans in the street and taking their tickets. They were buying tickets to seats that probably would have just sat empty otherwise. What I really wanted was an Orioles team good enough to drive those fans away.
My problem with the Yankees and Red Sox fans was the way some (not all) of them behaved when they were there. They brought signs that read Fenway South and wore shirts that said, "Camden Yards: The house that Jeter built." They talked trash and started fights and behaved in a mob mentality that was unbecoming of decent human beings. They made going to Camden Yards, which has always been my happy place even in the darkest times, miserable.
The tables have turned, this year at least, as the Red Sox sit in last place and the Yankees just barely hang onto the hope of a postseason berth. The Orioles are a good team now and headed for the playoffs. This year is so much fun and, I'm not going to lie, part of the fun is that the Red Sox have been so terrible and that the Orioles have beaten them and the Yankees over the course of the season. That's all part of sports fandom.
Now that the team is good it has led some Orioles fans doing things that are unbecoming, such as the gentlemen in the picture above. They watched their team, their stadium, and their fanbase suffer at the hands of the Red Sox for many years and they wanted to dish out some revenge.
I get the temptation. Really, I do. But I am imploring you all not to become those fans. Don't stoop to that level. You remember what it's like to be treated that way. You remember how awful it was. Why would you ever subject anyone to that?
I'm not saying that you shouldn't go see the Orioles on the road. On the contrary, I recommend it. I've been to see the Orioles at three different out-of-town stadiums this year, most recently at Fenway Park on Monday. The majority of the fans there are just like the majority of the fans at Camden Yards. They love their team and they're not bothering anyone. In fact, they were pretty nice to me.
I want the Orioles to be a classier fanbase than those of the Red Sox and Yankees' who come to Baltimore. I want the Orioles fans to fill Camden Yards when the O's are home and represent on the road with cheers, draped in orange and black. But I want our fans to be there to cheer on their team, not to jeer the fans of the opposing one. When it happens to us, we complain about how it's disrespectful and douchey and boorish. We know what it's like to be that miserable, and we're better than that.