If you're one of those gloom-and-doomers who wondered whether you'd ever feel baseball fever in this town again, I hope you were at Camden Yards on Sunday.
What a great scene this was.
You had an announced sellout crowd of 45,267 in the house. You had a game against a National League team, the Philadelphia Phillies, that would be a great Interstate95 rival for the Orioles if they weren't now playing the Washington Nationals twice a year.
(Baltimore versus Washington — that's still the Hatfields versus the McCoys for Orioles fans)
Finally, you had another inspiring come-from-behind win by the Orioles, this one 5-4 over the Phillies in 10 innings as struggling Matt Wieters doubled home Adam Jones and the home fans screamed their lungs out.
Remember Oriole Magic? From the old days? Well, this is Oriole Magic Redux. This was the Orioles' ninth straight extra-inning win, a franchise record, which tells you how special a stat it really is.
OK, as usual, Camden Yards was pretty much taken over by Phillies fans. There were big pockets of red caps and T-shirts and jerseys everywhere. And I know this will shock you: The Phillies fans were loud, too.
Louder than the Orioles fans, at least early on, when they seemed either sun-addled — hey, it was 90 degrees, I was sun-addled in the press box — or hung over, depending on your point of view.
My highly unofficial read had the ratio of Phillies fans to Orioles fans at about 60-40. And if you were out there and want to argue with that, be my guest.
All I can tell you is, the pregame traffic outside the ballpark was a nightmare, too, with dozens of tour buses rumbling off I-395 and clogging things up as they disgorged wave after wave of Phillies fans.
But this was the kind of big-game atmosphere that's been missing for so long around here.
And if the Orioles want to see more days like this, it's pretty clear what they have to do.
They have to rip a page from the old Al Davis handbook and just win, baby. It's as simple as that.
Win and the fans will come back.
Win consistently and the big crowds will return. And the house count won't be papered by huge numbers of Phillies fans, or Yankees fans or Red Sox fans, either.
“This is what it's felt like in Philly for 10 years now,” said Les Fisher, a lifelong Orioles fan from New Holland, Pa.
Fisher should know, too. His wife, Carey, is a big Phillies fan. So are his four kids. The family takes in a lot more games up at Citizens Bank Park in Philly than they do at Camden Yards.
I didn't ask Fisher what the ride home would be like, with him gloating over the latest Orioles win, the rest of the family wanting to smack him in the back of the head with a shoe.
Why ruin a beautiful day for the guy? A beautiful day for the Orioles, too, who seemed to feed off the crowd big-time to run their record to 34-26 and hold onto third place in the American League East.
“Oh, it was great,” Buck Showalter said of the atmosphere. “Regardless of who they're pulling for, I'm always honored — and we should be — that somebody wants to spend a day at our ballpark, whether it's watching Philadelphia or us play.
“We're just hoping to get to that point where [Phillies fans] can't get tickets. That's what we have to get back to. In the meantime, we'll take whatever [Phillies fans] have to pony up to get in here.”
See, that's the thing about these big crowds at Camden Yards. No, it's not ideal that a ton of Phillies fans were in the house Sunday. But the Orioles are still making money off the crowds. Say what you want about Phillies fans — their money spends, too.
But no matter how many of the other team's fans were in the house, there was no underestimating the lift the big crowd gave the Orioles.
“It's big on a day like today, when it's a challenge to play,” Showalter said. “Most of our guys got out of here at 8 or 9 o'clock [Saturday] night. You need that pick me up [from the crowd] because you feel that it's important for 40,000 people in the ballpark. It does bring a sense of urgency. It shouldn't be that way. But, you know, we're human beings. [The crowd is] part of it. You feed off that emotion.”
Oh, there was plenty of emotion at Camden Yards this weekend. Sunday's was the third sellout of the season, the second in a row. The announced crowd Friday night was 40,459. Saturday night it was 46,611.
The Orioles noticed. And they fed off it all three days, no matter how many red T-shirts and jerseys and caps they saw.
“It's lot of fun playing in that” atmosphere, said Jason Hammel, the Orioles' starter Sunday, after the game. “You get great energy from both sides.”
Then he paused, and a wistful look came over him.
“Now we gotta see more orange,” he said. “Gotta see more orange.”
If they keep winning, the Orioles will see plenty of orange.
You could bet the house on that.
Listen to Kevin Cowherd Tuesdays at 7:20 a.m. on 105.7 The Fan's "The Norris and Davis Show."