Dear Orioles fans,
Let’s talk. Last night our respective teams (the Nationals and your beloved O’s) clinched first place in the NL and AL East Divisions. This is an amazing and great thing for all of us.
No longer do we have to suffer the incessant and repugnant gloating of fans from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. For the next month and a half we can revel in our success and enjoy the drama of the playoffs while our rivals are forced to eat a steaming bowl of STFU.
We can dream, collectively, of a Beltway, or Chesapeake, or 95, or whatever series as the final expression of our baseball dominance. We should be shaking hands and back-slapping, not sniping and back-biting.
Yet all is not well among the Beasts of the East. For some reason, we Nats fans (ok, me Nats fan) have endured a spate of ill feelings and vitriol from those who follow the Oriole Way.
I’ve been called a traitor to my boyhood team (the Orioles), accused of abandoning the O’s because they struggled for years and had terrible ownership, and told my team/stadium has no soul or history.
Let me set the record straight: I have no ill-will toward the Orioles at all. I’d count them as my second favorite team. I’ve been to an Orioles game this year, my kids have Orioles caps and pennants — they have the complete team set of Topps baseball cards, which I bought for them in Camden Yards. I have nothing but good feelings for your club and fond memories of cheering them on in Octobers past.
But yes, I am a Nats fan first, and foremost. I am a Nats fan because they are my hometown team — I have lived in the Washington, DC-area for almost half of my life, and all of my adult life. I am a Nats fan because my kids are Nats fans and whatever your children love, you better damn-well love it too. I am a Nats fan because they’ve been able to unite this riven city in a way that few things beyond an enemy attack can.
I didn’t abandon the Orioles, and if I did it was only because I found a team I could love just a bit more. I didn’t leave them because of bad ownership or losing seasons — I sat through Nationals games in RFK stadium during 100-loss seasons.
Finally, our team isn’t soulless, it’s just new. You can’t look at players like Zimmerman, La Roche, Werth, Rendon, and Harper and say these guys have no soul — no personality.
So please, let’s put whatever perceived differences we have aside — we’re not even in the same division for Pete’s sake! — at least through the playoffs. Let’s enjoy and congratulate each other on our shared success and hope to celebrate a friendly rivalry in the Fall Classic.