Interesting dichotomy observed at the Orioles – Nationals game last night in DC. With roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of the house rooting for Baltimore, the normal sense of nastiness when an opposing team’s crowd invades one’s home turf was not prevalent. Sure the fans engaged in dueling “Let’s go O’s – Let’s go Nats” chants, but the behavior inside and outside the park was civil. O’s and Nat’s fans mingled on the concourse before and during the game, imbibed and chatted each other up at the bars, and piled by the thousands onto the Metro for an uneventful ride home.
I’ve attended several O’s – Nats games in both Washington and Baltimore and the experience is quite different. In DC you have the long time cross pollination fan such as myself. Left without a team to call home, we adopted the Birds of Baltimore as our own and remained loyal ever since. In Baltimore, you’ll find a very low rooting interest for the Nats because O’s fans have their team and no cross pollination has taken place. It’s as if the Indians or Royals are in town with just a smattering of representation for the visitors.
I root for the Nats at every opportunity except when they’re playing the O’s, and I sensed the same feeling among many last night. Waiting for the post game train, I interviewed an elderly gentleman who told me he had attended the last 38 opening day games in Baltimore and showed me both a Nats and O’s hat in his possession. I asked him who he rooted for and the O’s were his pick; clearly in the same boat as myself. I concluded that the majority of O’s fans in attendance were local adopters who bore no animosity towards the home club and unlike when Phillies fans invade Washington, did not boo the home club and pulled hard for their side while keeping it clean. I was left to ponder: If only parents were as well behaved at youth soccer games. . . .