Neal Shaffer: The other side of success at Camden Yards

As fans, we all want the Orioles to win. That's a fair statement, right? In fact, it's probably the only thing we all agree on. Finding common ground can be hard, but there's always the team. We want it to do well and, there, we're actually united.

In a lot of ways that's enough. A winning team. It's just sports, after all, right? To some extent, yes, but there's another layer to it, this thing over which we bond. Meaning that when the Orioles win, we in fact are together in a less obvious way.

I went to the O's-Nats game Friday night and, despite the rain delay, the area around Camden Yards was buzzing. It was a sellout crowd and I saw good vibes everywhere I looked. Downtown was alive and it was great.

Downtown being alive, of course, means downtown gets a jolt of economic activity, which is exactly what we need, and we need more of it. Not just downtown but all around the area. Out in the suburbs at restaurants and sports bars and local businesses. Down in Bowie and up in Frederick and Hagerstown and over on the Eastern Shore. Everywhere.

I bring this up now, while things are relatively good and the team is bringing us together, because I hope that there might be room for it to become a lasting lesson. I hope that maybe when we head out to watch the game and generate economic activity, we realize that it can always be this way, that we don't necessarily need to use the Orioles as an excuse.

I'm not so naive as to believe that going out to eat or watch a ballgame can fix the economy. I do believe, however, that small things like that make a dent. Every time you buy from a local business, or tip a bartender or server, you're oiling the machine just a bit (and having fun doing it). These things can, when considered the right way, be a powerful antidote to malaise. Macro, micro, you name it. Action is a tonic.

Just something to consider. Dragging ourselves out of this mess is going to take a lot of work and part of that means investing in each other. We can't solve the big problems, but there's a lot we can do to solve some of the smaller ones.

So as you enjoy the fact that the Orioles are still hanging tough with July just around the corner, tip well. Buy a hat or some peanuts from a vendor. Shop local when you can. And remember that these things still matter, still count even if the team takes a turn for the worse.

Which, yeah, still might happen.

Neal Shaffer regularly blogs about the Orioles at The Loss Column, and his work appears here as part of's initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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