A whole lot will be written and even more will be said following the Orioles' recent 4-4 road trip to the West Coast. There was a whole lot that went down on the field that led to a 4-1 start to the swing but saw it finish with three devastating walk-off losses to the Diamondbacks in Arizona. Let this be a bit of a break from all of the on-the-field talk and chatter. I was able to attend four out of the eight games on the trip and had an outstanding experience everywhere I went. As an out-of-town fan, I try to take every chance I get to see the team in person. It looked to me like other fans had the same idea.
Living in Arizona, I was able to attend all three of the games at Chase Field in Phoenix. Prior to that, my fiancÃ© and I made the trek out to San Diego for the Wednesday afternoon game against the Padres. It's always great to explore a new ballpark, but the experience was enhanced by walking into Petco Park and seeing so much orange. The stadium was overrun with Orioles fans from all over. I met a number of people from all different parts of the country and all walks of life that cheer for the Birds. That Wednesday matinee was filled with chants of "Let's Go O's!" that could be heard loud and clear throughout the ballpark. After a long Chris Davis home run and an offensive explosion, the O's had a 10-2 victory. By all accounts, the road trip had started off on the right foot and all was good.
Moving ahead to the weekend series in San Francisco, the fan support continued. I wasn't able to attend any of the games in the Bay Area, but I know many people who were there sporting the orange and black. It was obviously tough to see a lot of Orioles fans in San Francisco because the Giants wear the same colors, but they were there and making their presence felt. Many fans from the East Coast even traveled out and decided to make their entire summer vacation full of baseball by attending all three of the series over the past week and a half. The end of the series in San Francisco was marred by an incident in which a Giants fan tossed a banana onto the field in the direction of Adam Jones. It was a moment that brought out the ugly part in what had been a fairly successful weekend for the Birds, as they took two out of three games.
When the team made its way to Arizona, I couldn't have been more excited. Seeing the O's take on the D-backs just 20 minutes from my home for three straight days was something I had looked forward to since the schedule came out late last year. Obviously, the bad part of this road trip occurred on the field during this series. There was a lot of good that went on off the field, however. Not only were the Orioles well-represented in the stands during all three games as they were in California, but I got the chance to meet and talk to some fans who have loved watching this team play the game over the past year and a half.
There's no doubt that winning baseball has brought many fans out of the woodwork. After 14 seasons of losing, the Orioles have not only made a charge to receive support locally in Baltimore, but nationally, as well. A number of the fans I spoke to over the week were not O's fans, but loved watching the team play anyhow. I was asked a number of times about players like Chris Davis, Manny Machado, Jones and J.J. Hardy, and told how much of an impact they are having on the game.
The Orioles may have only taken four wins out of a possible eight over the past week out west, but I took a lot more than that. I took a chance to see my team up close and personal, something I don't get to do often. I was able to enjoy the experience with my family and some friends and cheer on the Birds. I'm really just happy that so many Orioles fans took the opportunity to do the same and enjoy the West Coast along the way.
Andrew Stetka blogs about the Orioles for Eutaw Street Report. His thoughts on the O's appear here as part of MASNsports.com's continuing commitment to welcome guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. 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.