Jules and I attended the “Take Back Our Yard” event May 18th with members of the Buzz Brigade. Take Back Our Yard, or TBOY as it said on our shirts, is a grassroots movement to increase attendance during “prime” games such as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Since the stadium prices are so high (for Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium respectively) the fans find it cheaper to travel to Baltimore to catch a game (or the series). This has become a popular event for those fans, and often during those series, the attendance for the home team (Orioles) suffer. This group
(known on Twitter as Operation Orange) aimed to change that.
Edit: Chad from Operation Orange contacted me today about my post. I was incorrect is my facts- specifically the link (or lack of) between TBOY and Operation Orange. Here is what Chad had to say:
“I read your post about TBOY and packtheyard. Although I’d love to take credit for what TBOY has accomplished, I needed to let you know that we are actually two separate initiatives. TBOY, from what I’ve learned, was created (like you said) as an attempt to put more Orioles fan in the stadium as opposed to Yankee fans (or Red Sox fans). I love the concept and came down to support (individually with my wife) when the Yankees were here last time.The initiative I have created (Operation Orange: Pack the Yard) was simply to pick a random, non-premium game, and sell it out. Now, a sell-out is very unlikely for our first attempt, but you have to start somewhere… Take a look at my facebook page and read “the story” to find out what motivated me to start this group.My fb: http://www.facebook.com/operationorange (like our page while you’re there too
They focused on one thing- increasing attendance. They buy out sections for resale for Orioles fans only (even though some Yankees fans got in) and offer custom orange t-shirts free with the ticket. Combine this with a Facebook page and the
@Packtheyard twitter account and you have an effort that begins to get noticed. There was a lot of attention from the media that night in our section (as 98% of us were wearing matching shirts).
#B3′s own Alexa P. gets a pic with the Orioles mascot!
This brought up an interesting conundrum for me. Here I am with a bunch of people who were chosen to promote the city supporting a grassroots effort that actually clashes with the Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) training. Isn’t forbidding Yankees fans to sit with us actually harming the cause to visit Baltimore? Is this the image that Baltimore wants to project? (Don’t get me wrong- I am NOT a Yankees fan by any stretch of the imagination)
Amy (also a #B3 member) zooms in to action on the field.
The answer hit me in the bottom of the 9th inning after the Orioles tie up the game and send us into extra innings. It wasn’t about not allowing Yankees fans in, it was about promoting Orioles pride (and thus Baltimore). Baltimore is a proud city with a long and diverse history, much like Boston and New York City. However, Baltimore has made it so attractive to attend (by offering significantly lower ticket prices in an awesome stadium and cheaper lodging) that many fans choose to visit because of the better value proposition Baltimore offers.
Joan and her husband.
So Yankees and Red Sox fans, we are happy you are here. Thank for visiting us- there is nothing we enjoy more as a city then beating you in our own house.