There is a whole lot of hype round these parts about the Orioles… with a 4-1 record to start the season, some new acquisitions over the off season and a new manager last season, for the first time in a LONG time, things are looking up for the Baltimore Orioles.
And I feel the need to 1. explain the weird circus family sports allegiance when it comes to Baltimore and Pittsburgh and 2. let the record show that my son is not jumping on the bandwagon.
1. How is it that we are nuts about the Steelers and then route for the Orioles? My family came from Pittsburgh and we lived in MD for 13 years before my parents moved back to PA. My dad is a huge sports fan and one way we bonded through the years was by watching sports together. He raised me a Steelers fan true and true. My dad is also a Pirates fan but while living in MD he did take me to several O games. I recall watching Cal Ripken and Rafael Palmeiro at Camden Yards. I even remember a few games at Memorial Stadium. I was never a huge baseball fan, though I loved the atmosphere of going to a game. Dad didn’t mind cheering for the O’s as they were an AL team and the Pirates were NL. The Ravens are different story. They came to Baltimore when I was just about out of high school. They came from Pittsburgh’s long standing Rival (the Cleveland Browns) and not only are they in our conference, they are in our division. Simply put, you can’t route for the Ravens and the Steelers.
So, that is why we have no aversion to the Orioles.
I really didn’t start for real caring about the Orioles though until my son started liking them a few years back. Which leads me to point number 2.
2. My son is a baseball fan and more importantly an Orioles fan, on his own right. He routed for them in September when no one else would bother showing up for a home game.
Neither Scott nor I really cared much about baseball. When our son was two, his aunt Karen and Uncle Jim mailed him a tee ball stand for his second birthday. And he was hooked ever since (wouldn’t you be if you could swing a bat at a ball in the house) That’s circus life for ya. He would ask to watch baseball on TV and then sit and watch (for waaay longer than I found interesting) whatever game I could find on tv. For awhile there Sports Center was the perfect show b/c he could watch clips of baseball and we could get clips of football, all in the same program. After that I would start dvr’ing (yes, I am sure that is a word) baseball games for him to watch. It made sense to Scott and I that since he came about his love of baseball on his own, he could route for the hometown team. We had no aversion to the Orioles, nor love for the Pirates.
So, through the years, we have tried to make it to a few games a year… some Baysox (our local minor league team) and some Orioles. I have always been impressed with his attention span when it comes to watching the game. He always wants to stay till the end. My favorite memory of taking them to a game was last summer. It was a beautiful night and the kids were well behaved and enjoying the atmosphere. It was one of those nights where I truly enjoyed life through the eyes of my children. For my oldest son, however, the night was bitter sweet. He had heard talk of the new manager that had come to Baltimore and how he was going to turn things around for the Orioles. And so, unlike the previous times when we came to Orioles games, this time, my son came expecting to see them win. And as the game went on it became quite clear to Scott and I, that it wasn’t going to happen that night. We were ready to go, but my son insisted we stay longer. Finally in the 9th inning when the other team scored 3 runs and the O’s still had nothing on the board, he realized the inevitable. He looked over at me with tears coming down his cheeks and said so forlornly, “Mom, they aren’t going to win, are they?” I told him I didn’t think it was possible and he said with all the sweet innocence of a 6 year old, “Mom, I Just wanted to see them win. I’ve never seen the Orioles win and I just wanted to watch them win.” And that is why years ago his Uncle Jim told him, “Well, kid, no one can ever accuse you of jumping on the band wagon.” To which my son replied, “What is a band wagon and what does that have to do with baseball?”
We had some friends over a few weeks ago and the subject of baseball came up. The husband was a huge Orioles fan and when we told him our son was, he then started asking him questions about his favorite players and all. It was in that moment, I realized what a horrible mom I am. I have done nothing to educate him on the players or the team. I don’t want to raise one of those fans, ya know the ones who say, “Yea… we love the <insert name of team here>!” And then when asked to name 2 players on the team they give you a blank stare. I find those kind of football fans to be so obnoxious… my son deserves better than that. So today we sat down after doing our school work and read the sports page together. I told him we could do this each day. We can read it together, learn more about the players, and follow how they are doing. It will educate us both on the team and the sport and provide a sweet mother/son bonding moment at the same time.
And if the Orioles winning streak continues and they end this season, for the first time in 13 years, with a winning record, I want the record to show that my son was a fan way back when…