2012: Reliving the tradition of Opening Day for the Orioles

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While the official start of spring in the United States comes in late March every year, baseball fans nationwide mark the beginning of the season at a different time — Opening Day.

And, for Orioles fans, hope springs eternal for that one special day every year.

Although the average attendance for a game at Camden Yards has barely surpassed 21,000 in each of the past two seasons — less than half the ballpark’s capacity — Orioles fans continue to show up for the Opening Day festivities.

Fans pack bars and restaurants from the Inner Harbor to Camden Yards before making the trek into the stadium for the game. That’s if they go to the game at all.

Some people travel into the city for the social aspect of Opening Day, without actually having a ticket into Camden Yards. Some businesses around the Baltimore area close early — or for the entire day — so employees can partake in the partying. To them, it’s more than just the start of another baseball season.

It’s an opportunity to celebrate one of the city’s great traditions.

No matter how dismal the prediction for the Orioles in 2012 — another last-place finish is projected by most analysts — Camden Yards will be filled to near-capacity and fans will be optimistic for a victory.

Once again this year, for Orioles fans, hope springs eternal for that one special day.