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The Baltimore Orioles Back In The Playoffs
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October 8, 2012
After 14 years of frustration, the Baltimore Orioles are back in the playoffs. They opened the American League Division series at home last night before a packed house of full throated fans and WYPR’s Joel McCord was there.
Joel McCord: The roar from section 34 of Memorial Stadium was loud, but never this loud. Some 47,000 screaming, towel waving Orioles fans—the largest crowd this year-- filled Camden Yards last night, wearing orange t-shirts, sweatshirts, and jerseys to cheer on their favorite team. In fact, the stadium was a sea of orange. If the towels weren’t enough they brandished home- made signs declaring “You can’t spell October without the O,” or “O boy, what a team,” with a drawing of the Mr. Bo logo. In the midst of all the mania, usher Pat Wiskman, slapped a high five with a man in the stands. It’s been a long time coming, they agreed.
Pat Wiskman: “He’s a season ticket holder and he’s suffered through almost as many games as I have in this section. And that’s why we said it’s been a long time coming; because we waited and waited and waited and here we are.”
McCord: Like many, she was happy to see all the orange in the stadium; and not near as many Yankees fans as usual.
Wiskman: “That’s very exciting. And we started to see it about the middle of August. We started, every game, seeing more and more orange. And they’ve just kept increasing.”
McCord: Crowds began pouring into the stadium two hours before game time. A few found their seats quickly, but others crowded into the first rows behind home plate to watch the Yankees take batting practice. Brad Hawn and his younger brother, Matt, drove down from Hanover, Pa. They had painted their hair and beards orange and were waving homemade Orioles signs. Brad, the older brother, said it was a last minute thing.
Brad Hawn: “We decided to paint our faces, paint our hair, you know. Do everything. Try to get stood out. Most exciting game I’ve been to my whole life. I can’t wait.”
McCord: Matt said they had suffered through the 14 losing seasons and this is “the best.”
Matt Hawn: “Don’t have to take all the crap about how they’re doing bad any more. We have a team that everybody’s proud of and they want to talk about.”
McCord: Nearby, Anita Moore, of Ellicott City, was drinking it all in. She’s been an Orioles fan since the 1990s and says she stuck by the team through all the down years. She’s not a fair weather fan.
Anita Moore: “I came tonight because of the energy. I’m just like so excited that the whole town is behind Baltimore Orioles, finally. And there’s no trash talking them any more. We can hold our own.”
McCord: But then the rains came; a string of showers that delayed the game for more than two hours. The fans who had been anxiously awaiting the first pitch fled their seats to wait it out in the shelter of the concourse. And they waited. And waited and waited. There were, however, some hardy souls who stuck it out in the rain. Dick Grohs, from Newark, Delaware, relaxed under a red umbrella in section 70, way down the left field line.
Dick Grohs: “I was thinking about getting up, but then I gotta wipe my seat off again. But I got the umbrella and I’m dry, so, hey, I’m waiting for the game to start. I hope it does.”
McCord: He said his grandson, who was staying dry out in the concourse, made him promise they wouldn’t leave early. At last the game started. Yankees lead-off hitter Derek Jeter singled and scored. The Orioles struck back in the third inning and took the lead, two to one. But the Yankees tied it up in the fourth, then erupted for five runs in the top of the ninth. And the Orioles had no answer. The teams meet again tonight at the Yard. With Mike Lurie, I’m Joel McCord, reporting at Camden Yards for 88.1, WYPR.
You can reach the WYPR Newsroom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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