61st sellout in row crowds out Jays for all-time mark

April 08, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer Staff writer Jon Morgan contributed to this article.

With 160 games remaining, the Orioles already have topped the Toronto Blue Jays in one race: consecutive sellouts.

Last night's sellout crowd of 46,447 -- the largest to see a game at Oriole Park -- marked the 61st straight time the ballpark has been sold out, setting a major-league record.

The Orioles have sold out every game since May 23, 1992, and have topped single-game attendance marks in their first two games of this season.

Orioles president Larry Lucchino said: "It's a great tribute to the fans, to the players and to the ballpark. I think the three of them can share the credit. Everyone's very proud of it at the Orioles."

The record was especially sweet because it knocked American League East rival Toronto out of the history books. The Blue Jays, who topped the Orioles for the division title last season before winning the World Series, had sold out 60 straight games, through the final 59 home games of 1990 and last year's home opener.

To mark the record's significance, the Orioles announced it to the crowd last night by playing the Blue Jays' seventh-inning stretch song, then stopping it in the middle. The message on the JumboTron screen in center field said, "Take that, Toronto." The crowd roared.

"We're a competitive bunch and we're especially happy to beat Toronto," said Lucchino.

Last night's crowd, combined with the 46,145 who saw Monday's Opening Day game, helped the Orioles set a record for attendance for a two-game series, 92,592, which broke the mark of 81,962, set last May 4-5 also against Texas.

Leaders of Baltimore's effort to obtain an NFL expansion franchise jumped on the news as further evidence of the city's sports fanaticism.

"We have always felt that one of our strong points is that the fans in Baltimore are unlike any other in the country," said Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority and coordinator of the city's football bid.

"The fact we now have accomplished the longest consecutive sellout streak in major-league history shows these fans support their team," he said. "This may be another marketing point with the NFL."

Bob Leffler, a sports marketing consultant working on behalf of prospective Baltimore NFL owner Malcolm Glazer, said: "Camden Yards is like a letter of credit. The market is performing at record levels."

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