The Baltimore Orioles, my childhood baseball team that I lived and mostly died with, made their once in every so often interleague trip to Atlanta. For the first time since interleague play began in 1997, I did not make the trip up I-85 from Montgomery to see The Birds.
In previous seasons, I would attend atlest one and sometimes all the games in a series in Atlanta. Of course, it did also help that I lived 20 minutes from Turner Field during some of those years, but 2K11 was a no show for me.
What are the reasons why I did not go this time? In no particular order A) too much money for tickets, gas, food etc. even though I usually stretch my dollar pretty good, just didn't want to spend the money, (Cars 2 was a better option with the fam)B) its baseball and I really don't watch it at all. Its too boring and the season is too long C) its too hot to sit and sweat at a game D) my son wouldn't sit and watch because of previous reasons E) maybe a lack of interest in the Orioles as a whole, even though I do follow if they win or lose each day. But most importantly F) they just aren't that good and not worth the time.
At some point, baseball lost me as a fan, or more specifically, the Orioles have lost me as a fan. Yeah I care about them, but how much am I willing to go forward with them. Wife, kids, family, job take more precedent now as I get older then following the trials and tribulations of baseball's demise in Charm City.
But there was a time the O's were all that mattered and other teams I cheer for (Alabama Crimson Tide, Temple Owls, Boston Celtics, Detroit Lions) didn't come close to moving the barometer. But my how things change. Maybe it was the baseball strike of 1994, even though I routinely skipped college classes and work in 1996 & 1997 to watch the Oriole's afternoon playoff games. Even 0-21 in 1988 didn't do it to me. Niether did getting rid of Jon Miller as the radio voice or Davey Johnson as a manager. Maybe it was Cal Ripken's retirement, but I still made trips to Turner Field in 2003 & 2005 to watch the O's, even have taken my wife and my oldest daughter to Camden Yards during the post Ripken era.
But at the end of the day, its the last 13 years of losing seasons and the inept ownership of Peter Angelos that have probably ultimately driven me to this point. He's killed baseball in Baltimore and has hung me and numerous others out to die a slow and painful death as an O's fans. He's driven us away in droves and lost generations of fans as I've written about before.
If anything, at this point I seem to have just as much interest in the Tampa Bay Rays since I work part time in the summer for their double A affiliate the Montgomery Biscuits and have seen several of the Biscuits work their way up and have success for the Rays as they challenge for the AL East each year.
As I worked outside on Friday, ESPN's Doug Gottlieb was talking about a coded level for a fan, much like we have codes for air quality, national security, etc., he was trying to apply one to sports fans. A D-1 being a guy who likes the team, may even go to games, but its not like and death, doesn't know all the histroy, etc. to a D-5 being the guy that runs a message board, knows all the history, team's prospects, the pitching rotation/batting order even in the really bad years.
At one point, I might have been a D-4 with the O's, from attending games to knowing who all the players were, even the obscure O's, but now I'm a D-1 at best on the Gottlieb Scale. I don't know all the players, haven't been to a game in several years, I keep up the wins and losses, I know the bullpen sucks but can't name anyone besides Keving Gregg (only cause he's blown 3,000 saves this year) but thats ok too.
So as I watch the O's lead the Braves here in in the early parts of Game 3 of this series (they'll blow this lead before its over), I'll still hold a soft spot for the O's in my heart, but I just won't be puttin forth extra effort to watch, or plunk down hard earned money to follow the team until they make it a little more worth while.