The Baltimore Orioles, a team of history, just like the town that has embraced and loved them from the inception of this proud franchise. A team that has developed a fan base as prolific and vast as the players who make up the team.
Like the city of Baltimore, the Orioles are rich with history. History of significance, yet each a building block in what makes their baseball team what it is and what it means to the city today.
On Monday, May 22, 2023, the Orioles unveiled their Nike City Connect jerseys. Of course, many expected flare and specific elements that would shape the jersey to make it flashy or even the next cool sporting jersey to spend our money on.
A leak a few weeks ago started a debate of how simple and boring the jersey was. Of course, there were specifics missing from it, but the leak was fairly close to the final product.
Many fans looked down in disbelief that a city so rich with culture and significant contributions would miss so much and release something so simple. Birdland was coming out disappointed and let down, and I will admit, I was even skeptical at first.
Then the release day arrives, and a video, with a poem written by Kondwandi Fidel, was released. The words reigned through the video with encouragement, with passion and hope and reminding us, “You Can’t Clip These Wings.”
Simple, yet direct, it identified the profoundness of the blue-collar town of Baltimore. The city known as Birdland or the Flock and labeled Charm City is so much more yet nothing over the top.
It echos through the streets from artists, writers and poets to civil movements and war. From our National Anthem being written over a harbor lit by explosions to the railways that push industry across the nation.
How does one event outweigh the others? How does one industry or trade take precedence over another and deserve to be the profuse center of what connects it to Baltimore?
In the end, the Orioles went simple, not basic. They decided that there was so much history that would connect Baltimore that it didn’t define Baltimore. That this blue-collar town was not identifiable by one thing, but many.
Each historical brick, moment or culture was comprised of Baltimore and helped to define and make the city one. It wasn’t specific fans or parts of the population but the whole city that defined Baltimore and connected them together.
Through baseball, we join together to celebrate the team, but we stand proud because of who the team represents. The rainbow outline on the sleeves and inside the neck are the various colors that unite us together. The simple word “Baltimore” doesn’t need flare for this hard-working town.
Instead, we need nothing more than the name, the blank canvas that will flow with the various colors, not just one, that makes up our city. In the end, we just need a statement to show our dedication.
After all, “You can’t clip these wings.”
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