What defines a true Orioles fan?

I noticed on one of the comments on a recent blog here where one reader, when responding to another, said he was a "real fan." It got me to thinking. What makes for a good and true Orioles fan?

This is one very subjective topic and, of course, there is no right answer like there would be to a math problem. What impresses someone about one fan, may not another.

To take the subject a step further, what defines a true Orioles fan after 14 years of losing?

Over the years I have heard a lot of comments like, "That's it Steve. I'm fed up finally and I'm out of here." While some of those fans may have followed through on that, I suspect many were just venting and when the next game came on TV, they were probably tuned in.

Some fans say they will no longer spend any money on the team. That is clearly their right and I would never tell a fan where or how to spend his or her hard-earned money.

While my take is subjective of course, here are a few thoughts on what does make up some of the characteristics for a true Orioles fan:

* Someone that watches or listens to many games. You care about the team enough to pay attention to most of the games.

* Someone that has been around for a while. If you have been a fan for 10, 20, 30 years or more, you are a pretty good fan. This is your team, for better or worse, and you've been here a long time and you are not going anywhere.

* Someone that reads blogs like this just about every day. Even if you don't spend a penny on the team, you clearly care enough to keep up with what is happening.

* Someone that attends several games or more a year and has for a while. You spend your money to buy tickets and that gives you the right to call yourself a fan.

I have heard fans say it proves how much they care that they are angry about the team and vent on these blogs often. Nothing wrong with being critical of the team, but that doesn't, in my opinion, make you a better fan than someone that remains mostly quiet and "drinks the Kool-Aid." Some fans have a more positive outlook and seldom criticize, and there is nothing wrong with that either.

In fact, any regular reader here could clearly identify several posters here that complain about everything and anything. While I agree there are things to complain about with all the losing over 14 seasons, some of these commenters to me have a bigger agenda and use the losing as an excuse to be heard every day. They want attention or to try and tick me off or to stir the pot with other fans. I don't get that, but we have some of that going on here disguised as the "I'm fed up" take.

By the way, no names here and I don't want readers to call anyone out on this either. It would just give the few who do this the attention they crave. We all need to just leave that alone.

Here is what I would call a lame fan: Someone that switches teams because their friends have or they are tired of being ridiculed as an Orioles fan. You know what? Your friends will secretly be impressed that you held up under the pressure when they couldn't and you didn't give up on the team. And if a few words from someone makes you switch teams, you weren't much of a fan to start with.

There are some of you that have never written a comment here and have never called a talk show about the team. But you listen and read and you are out there, I know that for sure. That doesn't make you less of a fan because you like to read, but not react. Not at all.

Fans come in all shapes, sizes and ages and some react to everything and others never react to anything.

What is your take?: What defines a true Orioles fan? Has that changed as the losing has mounted? Is someone that buys tickets more of a fan than someone that doesn't? If you feel you are a true O's fan, what makes you a true fan?

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