Walking the concourse during the recently concluded Nationals-Orioles series, I couldn't help but notice the relatively large number of fence-sitters. You know, the fans wearing the gear of both teams. A Nationals' jersey topped off with an Orioles' cap, or vice-versa.
It's been clear since baseball returned to the District that there were a lot of Orioles' fans on the south end of the Parkway. That's fine and quite understandable, considering a couple of generations grew up with the Birds as the closest big league club. The Nats' inaugural season attracted a lot of tire-kickers, fans who'd never really experienced the National League brand of baseball. Many stayed, and likely, just as many stuck to the AL. Nothing shocking about that.
That first season at RFK, you'd still hear a pretty loud "O!" during the anthem, despite the fact that the Orioles were nowhere in sight. Some fans back then said they thought that was a baseball tradition, that fans in every big league park did that. Over the years the number of fans who did it at Nats' games shrunk to a mere handful, but this past weekend it was back in full force. I've never been a big fan of that. To me, it's disrespectful to the meaning of the song, but it seems to be here to stay.
The rivalry today seems a little on the tepid side. The players don't really feel anything, and until both teams are competitive at the same time, it may not mean a whole lot to either fan base. I still see a lot of Oriole games in person, and the fans who show up in Nats' gear don't seem to get hassled the way, say, a Red Sox or Yankee fan might. A little decorum is a good thing.
A couple of other things: I hope the Orioles don't opt to fire manager Dave Trembley, but if they do, then what? How would anybody else do any better missing the same personnel Trembley's missed? He's never really had a full complement of players this year. The idea that anyone else could have gotten any more out of that roster than he has just isn't very credible.
Also, I referenced here a while back a scoreboard snafu at Oriole Park, when the Nationals won-lost record wasn't posted and everyone else's was. The temporary fix was not to post anyone's W-L until that homestand ended, which they should've done in the first place. I'm advised the glitch has now been repaired.