Olivia Witherite: Fans, please stay seated past April

When it comes to the Orioles, I usually have a great idea of what to say about the team, and generally, it's some kind of justified gripe. However, with the team off to a solid 9-7 start, I find myself slightly conflicted.

I'd love to be one to take the optimistic route and say that the start is a sign. No, not even a sign for a pennant win or playoff security, but rather a sign to finish above .500 in what I believe is the toughest division in Major League Baseball.

But I can't.

Because I know what happens in my lifetime as a fan when the Orioles get off to a solid start. It ends. The team starts to slip, and the fans die off. No offense to honest, true, be-there-until-the-end fans, but generally speaking, it's the truth.

To equate how I see a season from the fans' perspective, I have to flash back to 2008. I still remember that May 30 so clearly. It was a night game I attended with my father. We had upper deck seats, and I remember everything from walking in past all the vendors to the Boog's pit sandwich I ate that night.

What is most prominent that night, though, was the free baseball that I had the chance to watch. The game was tied after nine innings, but I insisted on staying with my dad, (who mostly watches baseball because I love it) to root for the Orioles until the end. It was not a game that would ever make it to a top moments countdown. The Orioles went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 11th. They were stranding batters left and right.

And with those stranded batters came stranded seats, seats once occupied with orange and black snapping up to that ugly, folded-up position. By the end of the game, I was sort of disgusted with how much blue and red occupied the park that eventually got to see the Red Sox win in 13.

The extra innings made the game one that I will never forget for excitement value. The mass exodus of Orioles jerseys and colors made the game one I wish that I could forget for the feeling of disgust I felt. Reflecting upon it now, I realize that this game is sort of a symbol of how many watch the Orioles: enjoy it while it's easy to watch, desert it when it gets difficult.

Now I know that this opinion is generalized. I have met and interacted with some of the greatest fans in the world. However, I have seen the aforementioned fan much too often in Baltimore.
It's still April, and the Orioles are above .500. It's still exciting to hear friends in Baltimore talk about how they love the Orioles, love Adam Jones, cheer for the home runs, bought tickets for Friday's game, etc. But I hate knowing that their enthusiasm will die out once the team loses some more games.

When the going gets tough, fans need to buckle down and continue to root for the Orioles. Stay in your seats for all 13 innings, and one day, just one day, you will be glad you stayed for the game of your life.

Olivia Witherite blogs about the Orioles at Birds Watcher, and her opinions appear here as part of MASN's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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