I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: If you put a quality product on the field, people will come to watch…unless of course you’re the Tampa Bay Rays. Then you’re just screwed no matter what.
Currently, the Baltimore Orioles are in first place by seven games over the Toronto Blue Jays, and as of Monday, Aug. 18, they are averaging 30,410 fans per game. The last time they averaged more than 30,000 fans per game was back in 2005: 32,404 fans per game en route to a 74-88 season. After that, those Oriole teams were less than stellar and their attendance dipped down to the low 20,000’s, bottoming out at 21,395 in 2010 when they went 66-96.
If their current record holds, the O’s will finish over .500 for the third year in a row. Not bad considering they had 14 consecutive losing seasons before this stretch. The last time they were over .500 for three years in a row was from 1992-1994. (Technically 1994 ended in a strike, but they were 63-49 at that time.)
The 2014 O’s seem to be a well-rounded group. They are 34-26 at home and 36-26 on the road. They have played well in extra-inning affairs, going 12-5 in such games, and have also done well in all close games, going 24-18 in one-run games. Those numbers are always helpful come late September and October, when games will most likely be one-run contests.
The O’s have been extremely hot of late, going 17-8 in July and 10-5 in August so far. Actually, since the end of May, when they were playing .500 ball with a record of 27-27, they have gone 43-25, a .632 winning percentage. That’s a pretty good stretch.
It’s not going to be easy however, as they finish the season with a seven-game road trip against the New York Yankees and then the Blue Jays. September in general is going to be rough: The O’s play the Yankees eight times and the Red Sox and Blue Jays six times each. While the road to the playoffs is tough, I think these Orioles have what it takes to get it done.
by Andy Mindzak