The Baltimore Orioles now find themselves in a situation in which several other teams have been – sharing a regional area or a market with the World Series Champions. The Washington Nationals defied all odds in winning the World Series, to their credit. But where does that leave the O’s?
First off as I alluded above, the Orioles aren’t the only team to whom this has ever happened. Both NY teams, both LA teams, both Chicago teams, and the two Bay Area teams have all dealt with this. As did incidentally…the Washington Senators. When the Orioles won their first World Series in 1966, here were the Senators right down the pike having to share their area with the World Series winners.
The question a lot of Orioles fans are asking is whether or not Washington being the world champs will negatively effect the Orioles. And my response to that question is and always has been the same (back when this scenario was only “in theory): unequivocally, the Orioles’ fan base will not be affected. Some people disagree, and that’s fine. But I just don’t see it happening.
And I say that on two fronts. First off is a semi-emotional one. Little Johnny from Dundalk isn’t going to grow up with a Washington Nationals pennant on his wall. Sure, anything’s possible. However regardless of geographic location, most people want to raise their kids to root for the same teams for whom they root. So if you’re from an Oriole family, odds are you’ll remain as such.
But does that argument apply to areas not quite as defined as BALTIMORE or WASHINGTON as Dundalk? In places such as Laurel, Davidsonville, Frederick, etc, you might have kids with Oriole fan parents who might rather pull for the world champs. But whether that lasts forever is another story. But regardless of who’s good and who isn’t, you aren’t going to have people in the Orioles’ primary area converting. Just like had the O’s won the World Series odds are people in Fairfax, VA wouldn’t become Orioles fans. (Or perhaps return to Orioles’ fandom is the better term.)
That’s the semi-emotional argument. The second one is purely logical. I mentioned teams above who have dealt with what now faces the Orioles. Did the NY Mets gain a better stronghold as opposed to the NY Yankees after 1969 or ’86? How about the Los Angeles teams? Most recently, did ChiSox fans become Cubs fans? Or vice-versa when the Sox won the World Series?
A friend of mine is a Chicago Cubs fan. I asked him about this when the ChiSox won the fall classic, and his response was over my dead body (would he ever root for the Sox). He’s always seen the Cubs as “Chicago’s team,” whereas the Sox were just another run-of-the-mill American League team. That may be a bit narcissistic, but that’s his view and I think it’s shared by a lot of people in the Cubs’ fan base.
There was a portion of the Orioles’ fan base that did pull for Washington – in this World Series. But will they remain on the bandwagon and abandon their childhood team? That I think is doubtful. And I say that based on the fact that other fan bases that have been through this didn’t seem to waver. But time will tell.