The return of the BALTIMORE Orioles
“I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t witness it myself!”
“I never thought I’d live to see this day!”
No, I’m not talking about Barack Obama winning the election. (Well, that too). I’m talking about the BALTIMORE Orioles new road jerseys, unveiled today at a rally in downtown Baltimore.
Following the 1972 season, then-owner Jerry Hoffberger dropped the city’s name from the uniforms with the excuse that he didn’t want to alienate Washington-area fans who might be looking for a new team to support after being abandoned for the second time by their own Washington Senators.
Through several ownership changes, “Orioles” was all you’d see on the Baltimore club’s uniforms. In 2005, Washington, DC became the new home of the Montreal Expos and proudly outfitted their new Nationals in caps with a “W”, road jerseys with “Washington” on them and alternate digs featuring a “DC”. Good for them. I lived in DC for years and very much liked it.
However, that turn of events made it more and more imperative (at least to me and a decent portion of the fanbase) that the Orioles embrace their own hometown and show “Bodymore, Murderland”, or “Bal’mer” if you prefer, a little love. Whereas late PA announcer Rex Barney once proudly name the starting lineup of “your Baltimore Orioles”, the ballclub left the city’s name off all official corresposndence, with the business card I received from GM Andy MacPhail only referencing Baltimore in the mailing address. I wrote to owner Peter Angelos and told him so, called the club’s public relations office a few times and signed a handful of petitions.
An off-season or two ago, rumor had it the the club was about to make the change, but childishly changed their mind when premature media reports leaked the good news. Ridiculous (if true).
Today’s announcement makes me smile, though, even if I haven’t lived in the Baltimore area full-time since the team still played in Memorial Stadium. I dig the Maryland flag patches they’re putting on the sleeve, and don’t even mind the almost imperceptible, what’s the point-type tinkering with the orthonologically correct bird on the cap.
The Orioles got this one right, so hat’s off to them! It might take them a while to resemble the 1969-71 juggernaut when the umpire hollers “Play ball”, but at least they’ll look a little more like them in visiting ballparks.