On Friday I donned native garb and went to walk among the infidel in Baltimore. It was a special occasion - the arrival of Matt Wieters. Maybe you heard something about it.
Once I got accustomed to the weird accents and garish orange garb of the natives, I realized something: I was having approximately a million times more fun than I ever did at a Nats game. Approximately.
It's not because I'm an Orioles fan. I've been to scores of meaningless, indifferently-played O's games that left me with the same "Hey, at least it's baseball" feeling as most Nats games gave me. This time was different, though, because the Orioles are a team on the rise, and their fans are keenly attuned to it.
Wieters didn't do anything, but it didn't matter. There was enough spillover excitement for Nolan Reimold and Luke Scott and Brian Bergeson to carry everyone through Wieters' fruitless at-bats. The fans, their sweat reeking of Old Bay and National Bohemian, were satisfied that their team had good, compelling players and a rotation filled with talented, homegrown pitchers. Perhaps they reflected on the twin masterpieces of the Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard trades. It also helped that they won.
The good news about the Orioles is hugely magnified because I'm looking up at it. Fans of the even competent teams would scoff. But as a Nationals fan, I couldn't help but envy every single thing I saw, from the pretty ballpark to the 8+ inning pitching performance to the complete lack of a Nat Pack.
Meanwhile, the Nationals have lost . . . what, five or six or ten or fifteen in a row? All to the sound of Josh Willingham bravely throwing himself into outfield walls but forgetting the part where he catches the damn ball? People are now talking openly about poor Manny Acta being led to the altar to appease the bloodthirsty gods of Base Ball. I'm a diehard - I'm still here. But who can blame the casual fan's eyes for drifting Wietersward?