Guys. I love the Baltimore Orioles. Despite never having seen them in the World Series in my lifetime, I will forever be a permanent resident of Birdland. They actually had a surprisingly exciting couple seasons between 2012 and 2016. But this year…they’re just bad, y’all. No easy way of saying it. We have a player who is on his way of having statistically the worst season in MLB history. Bru-tal. Having lived through my share of painfully bad seasons growing up, I’ve found ways to keep things exciting, even when the games are not. So join me as I discuss “Enjoying Baseball Season when your Team is Terrible.”
Attend Special Events
Earlier this month, I had one of the best experiences of my life at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This year in honor of the 25th anniversary of The Sandlot, MLB team have been showing screenings of the movie. One of the ticket options for the Orioles allowed fans to watch the game on the field. ON. THE. FIELD. I mean, come on, look at this face and tell me that’s not pure joy:
There are always a number of exciting events throughout the season that any fan would enjoy. One of my favorite events each year is Birdland Social, which gives fans a chance to ask questions of Orioles players. Other theme nights this season include yoga on the field, Star Wars night, and for the first time ever, Bark at Oriole Park where canine companions can join their owners at a game! Most teams offer similar experiences, so always check out the promotions and events schedule.
Take Advantage of Ticket Availability
It makes sense that when a team is playing poorly, people are less excited about going to games. This includes season ticket holders who can’t attend all the games, but have difficulty finding people to use their seats. As a result, there are fantastic deals for tickets on StubHub for seats that typically may exceed your budget. Earlier this year, I was able to obtain the seats pictured above for under $15 each. If you have ever wondered what it’s like to watch a game from behind home plate, next to the dugout, or on Club Level, when the team is struggling is a good opportunity to find out.
Remember Better Days
Did you know that Major League Baseball occasionally uploads complete games to YouTube? I can’t say for certain this is true of every team, but the Baltimore Orioles official YouTube account contains a playlist of the Top 25 Memorable Games at Oriole Park. I also find it impossible to not cry happy tears while watching the Orioles celebrating their 2014 AL East championship or their 60th anniversary as a franchise. Good times.
Look Towards the Future
This could also be called the “WOOO ROAD TRIP!” option. If watching your team play poorly is bumming you out a little too much, consider checking out the talent of tomorrow. Visiting the minor league affiliates of your favorite team should be on any fan’s bucket list as it is. The atmosphere is more laid back, you can see the exciting players who may be a season or two away from their major league debuts, and talk about fun special events. Minor league teams have some of the most creative theme nights – from a 90s themed night, complete with Mr. Belding to a Cowboy Monkey Rodeo (?????? – I didn’t know this existed before I started writing this post, but this is now something I need to see IMMEDIATELY).
If you’re in the mood to do something more extravagant, you can look a little farther into the future and plan a trip to see your team in Spring Training. Sarasota, the winter home of the Orioles, has become one of my favorite cities. Regardless of what has happened the year before, seeing a game at Ed Smith Stadium in a guaranteed way to get me excited about the upcoming season.
Adopt a Secondary Team
I know this suggestion is bound to generate a lot of grief directed towards me, but hear me out. I’m not talking about going full bandwagon for another team who is playing well at the moment. But when the season starts to wind down, it’s natural to look at the teams in contention and pick one to root for. I’m simply suggesting to do that a little earlier in the season, so there is time to get to know the players and get some good baseball in front of your eyes.
Maybe there’s a team where several of your former players have been signed and you want to see them succeed. It could be an “enemy of my enemy is my friend” situation, where it’s less about cheering for a team and more actively rooting against another. I am lucky enough that one team in particular checks both boxes for me this year, on top of being in a different league. So let’s go Braves! Take down the Nats and get my boy Nick Markakis a chance for a ring. (I miss you, NickyMarks).
So fans, I know sometimes these seasons seem longer than others. It can be hard to remain excited through 162 games. But there’s still always a lot of fun to be had, whether it’s getting out to the ballpark for some fun events, wandering down memory lane, or planning ahead for a spring adventure. And even on the rough days, I think we can all agree – at least it’s not November through mid-February. See you around the Yard.