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Orioles Need Fantastic Fans To Provide Spark

By Stan "The Fan" Charles

Nah, this could never happen with so little time between my writing this and first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Aug. 16. I mean, it took longer than 35 hours for the Egyptians to overthrow their government.

I know I am 61 years old, not exactly a kid anymore, but I still have a lot in me. Could Orioles fans, disappointed and ticked off as they are about the team's three straight walk-off losses against the Diamondbacks in the desert heat Aug. 12-14, pack Camden Yards in an instant?

Could Orioles fans all dress in orange, some bring signs, have 100 guys dress up like Wild Bill Hagy and bring back a night I'll never forget -- Fantastic Fans Night (in May 1988)?

That night, the O's came back from Chicago to play the Texas Rangers. It ended up being the last game Edward Bennett Williams attended as team owner. It was also the night he signed the long-term lease that then-Gov. William Donald Schaffer needed to get the new stadium at Camden Yards built.

The Orioles had started off the season 0-21, and jettisoned skipper Cal Ripken Sr. after the first six games. Williams was in rapidly declining health, and hadn't wanted to hire Ripken Sr. in the first place, but with Cal Ripken Jr. being a burgeoning star and the fact that the Orioles had bypassed his dad in '83 to hire Joe Altobelli, it had to be Ripken Sr. to start 1987.

But after a disappointing '87, and with '88 turning into a disaster from the get-go, Williams' decision was final. Out went Ripken Sr. and in came Frank Robinson. True, Robinson didn't work miracles that '88 season, but he did during the "Why Not?" season in 1989.

But I digress. The point of this column is to rally the orange inside everyone that reads it.

Yes, Baltimore had those long 14 years in the wilderness between 1998 and 2011, but those days are long gone. O's fans have a team that is in the heat of a pennant race, a wild-card race, whatever you want to call it -- the Birds are in contention, baby.

So closer Jim Johnson blew a few games. So the offense has not been up to speed. These are the Orioles, dammit, and if the road trip didn't work miracles, then maybe it's time for a heady home stand.

The Orioles open up Aug. 16 against the Rockies, a team with a losing record, and sales are probably in the mid-20,000s for the game. There is no way in hell this can happen. But what if it did? What if 46,000-plus people were waiting to rock the yard?

What if Baltimore fans showed up with signs galore for their heroes? What if they showed up in all their orange glory? What if 100 people dressed up like Hagy and lifted up their Birds from what seems likes the ashes? What if WNST had a night to come and stay at the ballpark?

Nah, it could never happen -- we have less than 48 hours. Wait a second, this is Baltimore. You're damned right it could happen. Fantastic Fans Night No. 2, anyone?

Posted Aug. 15, 2013