by Matthew Taylor
The Birds' Opening Day Sweepstakes offers fans the opportunity to win two Lower Box tickets to the April 6 game. A look at the contest guidelines offers fans a better understanding of what the organization considers to be "O's territory."
According to the team's official website, "The Sweepstakes is open only to legal residents of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Delaware, North Carolina or the District of Columbia who are 18 or older at time of entry."
So O's territory is essentially an eight-state region, including some areas more obvious than others.
Maryland is a given, and I don't think anyone honestly thought that returning "Baltimore" to the road unis functioned as a white flag of surrender to the Nationals in the battle for the hearts and minds (more accurately, dollars) of D.C. and Virginia fans.
West Virginia and portions of Pennsylvania are fertile marketing territory given the Pirates' continuing struggles (yes, there is a fan base that has it worse than we do).
Which leaves the curious case of New Jersey.
New Jersey is schizophrenic about its sports loyalties, but it stretches credibility to argue that we're in the mix with the Yankees, Mets, and Phillies for the Garden State's baseball bucks. That is, unless the Yankees are visiting Camden Yards, in which case we take in lots of Confederate money.
It just so happens that the Yankees are visiting Camden Yards on Opening Day. Here's hoping that the only reason that the lucky winners of the Opening Day Sweepstakes might wear pinstripes is for their slimming quality, because we know how Peter Angelos feels about Yankee fans sitting in box seats.
[Did I leave out Delaware? Apologies to the First State. Go Blue Rocks!]