The Washington Post published a very complimentary article September 1st on Oriole’s right fielder, Nick Markakis and it’s rubbing some Nationals fans the wrong way. Everyone needs to relax a bit and understand the dynamic. As the Nats breeze their way through towards the NL East title, The Post continues to give considerable print support to the Orioles, but the paper is simply responding to the laws of supply and demand in this unique and complicated baseball market.
The Nats are arguably the best team in the National League, yet the Orioles have a deep and loyal fan base in DC and the surrounding suburbs, primarily established from their adopted home team status from the last four decades. When a new team enters an established market, it’s unreasonable to expect a large segment of loyal fans to abandon their team, and O’s fans have remained loyal. This is a completely different dynamic from the professional football markets where Redskins and Ravens fans don’t have much of a presence in the other’s metropolitan area. I count myself as one of the many hybrid fans who grew up supporting the Orioles and Redskins and continue to do so.
I was at the July 7 game between the two at Nationals Park and it offered a glimpse into how a World Series might play out, with literally the whole stadium divided in half with their rooting interests. Pitcher Stephen Strasburg was upset with the heavy support shown by Orioles fans but he should be aware that O’s games in Washington are virtual home affairs and are not about folks making the trek down I-95 to take over a visiting park. The ramifications could be pronounced if the Nats and O’s actually make it to the World Series. With the American League already entitled to home field advantage, the O’s would be presented a tremendous home field advantage. At any rate, it would be odd when Fox comes on the air showing the stands in Washington half full of orange.
I’m getting a little ahead of myself, and while both clubs are playing great ball, there’s a long way to go. But I’m betting Nats fans are pulling hard for anyone but the O’s. How do you think this plays out?