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Baltimore Orioles

Affectionately known by their fans as the O’s and the Birds, the Baltimore Orioles are a major league baseball team rooted in Baltimore, Maryland. They are owned by Peter Angelos, an attorney. They play in the American League’s Eastern Division.

The Orioles’ history dates back to the year 1893 and the town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when the team began in the minor Western League. That minor league would become the major American League in the early 20th century, and the original Baltimore Orioles, who were in the National League, relocated around this time to New York, where they became the New York Yankees. After a stint as the St. Louis Browns, the team would be moved again to Baltimore and become the present day Orioles in the early 1950s.

One popular tradition at Orioles games that dates back to the 1970s is the accenting of the letter “O” when singing the line “Oh, say does that…” from the Star Spangled Banner. The “oh” is accented by yelling out “O!” The pronunciation of this vowel also distinguishes the Baltimorean accent. Some argue that the shrieking of the “O” is disrespectful. But Baltimoreans argue that, since Francis Scott Key wrote the Anthem in their harbor during the 1812 War, then they have a right to sing it however they want.

The tradition is also carried out at other sporting events throughout the region, particularly at home games of the Maryland Terrapins and the Baltimore Ravens. It is even yelled at home games of the Washington Redskins. Some schools in the region have tried to ban the chanting when the Anthem is being sung, but to little effect.

This “O” chanting caused a storm of controversy in 2005 when some fans started chanting at RFK Stadium during Washington Nationals games. A lot of people felt that the chant was not appropriate at RFK. Still, a lot of Washingtonians are also fans of the Orioles. After all, the Orioles were the closest team after the Senators were relocated. Still, by the time summer rolled around, the “O” chant was next to nonexistent.

Submitted by:

Jake Truman

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