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Area Nationals, Orioles fans excited about upcoming baseball season

April 01, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34) hits his second home run of the game in the fourth inning of the opening day baseball game Monday against the Miami Marlins in Washington. Harper's two homers were the lone scores of the game as the Nationals defeated the Marlins, 2-0.
Associated Press

After the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals each lost in Game 5 of the first round of the 2012 playoffs, fans of both teams have been waiting for Major League Baseball’s Opening Day with high expectations.

“I’m looking forward to the season and seeing how far we can go,” Orioles fan Fred Parson, 26, of Chambersburg, said Monday. “I think it’s time to make that next step and go to the next round of the playoffs.”

Mike Mason, 46, of Hagerstown, is a Nationals fan who said he had been waiting for Opening Day all winter.

“We’ve got nothing but expectations after the heartbreaking game that took us out of it,” he said, referring to the Nationals’ 9-7 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals that eliminated them from the playoffs. 

Mason joined other Nationals fans at Greene Turtle in Hagerstown to watch the team beat the Marlins 2-0 behind two home runs from former Hagerstown Suns outfielder Bryce Harper.

Bob Hutzell, 45, of Hagerstown, who grew up an Orioles fan but now follows the Nationals, Orioles and Suns, also watched the game at Greene Turtle. He said he expects the success of all three teams to be even better this year, and he was excited to see Harper hit two home runs Monday.

“Watching him come through Hagerstown has been really fun,” Hutzell said. “This year shows every sign of more success, and coming from last year into this year, there’s a lot of expectations.”

The Orioles begin their season today in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Their home opener is Friday against the Minnesota Twins.

The Suns begin their season Thursday at the Delmarva Shorebirds, with their home opener next Thursday against Delmarva.

Since the modern World Series era began in 1903, last year was the first that a team from Baltimore and a team from Washington made the playoffs the same season. It was the first time the Nationals made the playoffs since they moved to Washington from Montreal, and the first time the Orioles made the playoffs since 1997.

Jahaziel Merlos, 21, of Silver Spring, Md., a Nationals fan, said he is expecting a World Series title this year, especially with no limitations for pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who had to sit out the end of last season due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

“Last year, I really wasn’t expecting much, but this year we want a World Series,” Merlos said. “I’m going to watch every game I can.”

John Flowers, 28, of Baltimore, an Orioles fan, said he has tickets to see the team play the Rays at Camden Yards on April 17 and is glad that the “core players” on the team were kept.

“We had a good team last year, so why mess with a good thing?” he said. “We also have some of the injured guys coming back looking strong.”

Jason Files, 37, of Boonsboro, said he has been excited about the beginning of baseball season.

“We love baseball,” he said. “My son plays baseball, and my daughter plays softball.”

His son, Braden, 8, of Boonsboro, said he began following the Orioles two years ago and considers himself good luck since they made it back to the playoffs after he became a fan.

“I’m looking forward to the Orioles making the playoffs,” he said. “I think they are the best team.”

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