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Orioles fans catch first-place fever

The O's began a four-game home series with Tampa Bay leading the AL East division.

BALTIMORE — It's understandable if Orioles fans have been a little cynical in recent years. 

The team has been a perennial loser until the past two seasons.  After barely earning a winning record in 2022, fans have first-place fever.

"To me, they are a young, hungry team," admitted Steve DeFrank, an Orioles fan from Harrisburg. "It took me a while to get all of their names and who these kids are because all of the other ones like Trey Mancini left. I've been impressed with them."

Some fans thought the team would have a better season this year but not many anticipated a division title run this deep into the season.  

The O's started an important four-game series with second-place Tampa Bay at Camden Yards on Thursday Night. These are the final head-to-head matchups with the Rays, Baltimore begins the series only two games in front.  

"These definitely are meaningful games," said Orioles manager Brandon Hyde before game one. "We're playing against a great club, two really good teams in a weekend series in the middle of September. I just really want our guys to relax and enjoy it."

Tampa Bay had 17 regular season games left on their schedule heading into Thursday Night's action. The Orioles had 15.  

Both will almost certainly clinch a playoff spot. 

One of them will be the American League East Division champ and the other will have to settle for a wildcard berth.  

Game one of the series was broadcasted on FOX43.

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