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Orioles fans exempt from no crying in baseball rule

August 13, 2011|Tony Mulieri

Anyone can root for a team when it's winning.

It takes a real fan to stay with a team when it's losing.  

Baltimore Orioles fans are suffering through a 14th consecutive losing season. The last time I looked at the standings, the O's were in last place, 27 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.

There's no hope for this season. All is lost.

Forget the bobbleheads. The Orioles should give each of their fans a medal when they come to the park.

And yet, there I am most nights watching the Orioles on TV, hoping for the best, expecting the worst. A couple of weeks ago, they gave up 12 runs to the Yankees IN THE FIRST INNING.

Where do you go from there?  

The season started out promising. The Birds were in first place the first week of the season.

And then, they had the second week.

Actually, they were competitive until about June, and then the wheels came off the cart.

It has gone downhill from there. Manager Buck Showalter probably wishes he never took the job. He, like the rest of us, had to be encouraged after the second half of the season last summer. The team played well then.

But in baseball, it always comes down to pitching, and the Orioles' pitchers just haven't been consistent.

This is the same franchise that once had four 20-game winners in the same season.

And I guess that's why I stick with the team.

This is the franchise of Brooks and Frank; the 1966, 1970 and 1983 World Series winners; the club of Boog, Cal, Eddie and Jim Palmer.

Fans come from Takoma Park, Severna Park and Lexington Park to watch the O's. It's crabs, beer and the Birds.

Memorial Stadium was like a cathedral to me when I was little. My dad would take me to the game, and my eyes would grow wide when we walked up the ramp and I saw that lush green field against a blue sky on a hot summer day. And Camden Yards is 10 times nicer than the old stadium.  

I often wear an Orioles T-shirt when I'm out and about, and it invariably evokes comments. One guy the other day told me I had a lot of nerve wearing that shirt. The team is pathetic, he said.

That's hard to argue. "The Oriole Way" has become one of losing. They've lost their way.

But the Orioles are my team. It's Earl Weaver kicking dirt on the umpire's shoes; Jim Gentile swinging so hard that his backswing would catch him in the side; the team of Big Money (catcher Earl Williams), Stan the Man Unusual (relief pitcher Don Stanhouse), Cal's streak and "Wild Bill" Hagy doing his famous O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheer.

I can't just walk away.

It's like when your kid messes up. You don't just give up on him. You give him a second chance, and a third.

That's how I feel about the Birds, but after all of the losses, it's tough.

There's no crying in baseball, but I'm getting close.

I'm trying to take it one game at a time. It's like each game is a season in itself. If the O's win, the season is ours. I think I need to see a sports psychologist.

And the worst thing for me is that when the season ends, I'm a Redskins fan. 

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