It was just about 10 p.m on the dot last night and I grabbed the headphones and pulled up to the microphone.
I was about to begin another night of my baseball radio show, talking for two hours about the Orioles on 105.7 FM The Fan in Baltimore. With the team just minutes away from an eighth straight loss, I had to wonder - would this be the night?
Would this be the night that the fans were so beaten down by the recent losing that no one would call in to talk about the Birds?
The show started off kind of slowly. But within minutes, the phone lines lit up yet again with callers from Towson and Chestertown, Havre de Grace, Perry Hall and all over Baltimore.
Some fans may not go to as many games as they used to, but they still care about their team enough to call. Sure, it’s a sports call-in show and some just want to vent and rip into team management.
But others just want to be heard and share thoughts on how the team can get better or their concerns about the future. Many do so in well-thought-out monologues. Others just have a question to ask.
Some calls you remember. Like the father who told me how much his 8-year-old son still loves his O’s and was telling him at the game last night, “Hey, Dad, we just need a grand slam.”
Or the 13-year-old that called to tell me about attending some games with his grandfather. Sure he was down on the team, but I reminded him that many years from now he will look back on this season and not remember all the losses, but that he spent time with his granddad, brought together again by a game and a team they both love.
Sure, I’m a big sap about some of this, but calls like that just make me feel good.
I think the show has become its own on-air community of sorts, where we come together for two hours late each weeknight to vent and share thoughts and frustrations about the Orioles.
Once, when I was much younger, I would have been a caller to a show like that. Now I feel lucky I get to host it and talk about the team I have followed since I was 6.
After two hours of calls last night, somehow I felt better - not so much about the team and its current or future outlook, but it was just nice to spend time with the fans on the other end of the phone line.
All around Baltimore I meet people who tell me, “No one cares about the Orioles.” Sure, 14 years of losing has cost this team many fans who have checked out or are about to check out. The losing has worn on too many.
But don’t tell me no one cares about the Orioles.
Even when they have lost eight in a row.