“But if it doesn't happen, that's fine, too,” said fan Mike Nastanovich, 40, of North York. “We got a good season. The Orioles made it to the playoffs. Anything else is icing on the cake.”
After a 15-year absence, the Orioles are in the playoffs and are battling the New York Yankees in the best-of-five American League division series.
Carl Bass, 56, of Mechanicsburg said he believes the Orioles can beat the Yankees in the playoffs. The team has defeated the Yanks several times during the regular season.
Nastanovich and Bass were among several Baltimore fans buying items at the Orioles store in the York Galleria mall Monday.
A real team: “(The Orioles) play hard and someone different always steps up when the team needs it,” Bass said. “They don't rely on one person. They're playing as a team.”
Bass said he enjoyed watching the Orioles this season and will be glad with whatever they achieve during the playoffs. He said he's just glad to finally see some baseball success for the Orioles after 15 years.
“I saw my first (Orioles) game in '66,” he said. “I know what it's like when they're winning.”
Dal Shelton, of Red Lion, said he became an Orioles fan in 1991 and remained faithful to his team during its playoff slump.
To get past the Yankees, Baltimore's starting pitchers would have to pitch more innings than usual and the bullpen has to keep Yankee batters in check late in the game, Shelton said.
“I want them to go all the way, but get past the Yankees first,” he said.
Batter up: The Orioles also need some power hitting to score runs, said James Wilkens, 48, of Laurel, Del.
“They need to hit a little better, need to step up a little,” he said. “But with what they've done this year, getting back into the playoffs, I can't ask for anything more.”
Brad Leber, 44, and Jenna DeStephano, 31, both of Hellam Township, said they are being “cautiously optimistic” about the Orioles' chances in the playoffs.
“We're really excited, but I don't want to talk about this too much,” Leber said. “I don't want to jinx it.”
“I'm just thankful they've gotten this far,” added DeStephano. “It's very exciting, but we're trying not to bite off the rest of our nails.”
Nastanovich said while he has high hopes for the Orioles at the start of every season, he didn't think the playoff breakthrough would come this year.
“If someone told me at the season opener that this would happen, I would have said they were nuts,” Nastanovich said. “I'm just happy baseball is back in Baltimore.”
— Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.