As a child, I was raised an Orioles fan. My grandparents, my parents, etc., all cheered for the Orioles. They all had relatives that lived in the Baltimore suburbs, or even in Baltimore proper, so to them, the Orioles were *the* home team to cheer for.
There was also the issue of the fact that D.C., after the riots that followed the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., was not seen as a friendly place to take children, and families, and eventually there was the loss of the team in D.C. to another town -- an event that had already happened some years before.
All of these things resulted in my allegiance as an MLB fan being to the Orioles. The Orioles of Powell (as in Boog), Robinson (as in Brooks), Palmer, Cuellar, and a host of others who eventually gave way to Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, and others that helped bring on a pennant in the early 1980s.
Sadly the Orioles fell on hard times over time. They made bad moves, they suffered from poor ownership, and they wound up being sold to an egomaniac by the name of Peter Angelos. A man that has pretty much single handedly turned me away from being an Orioles fan.
From trying to keep D.C. from getting a team, to making stupid personnel decisions -- including firing a manager of the year, including letting an executive of the year leave, etc. -- and other stupid ownership moves, there have been any number of little reasons to dislike the Orioles, or at least to despise their owner.
I sincerely wish the man (and I use that term lightly) would sell the team. Sell it to just about any body. But mostly, sell it to someone that is smart enough to employ a good General Manager, a good field Manager and coaching staff, and good personnel people. Sell it to someone that is smart enough to deal with checks -- writing them, and cashing them. Stay out of the limelight otherwise, stay out of the day-to-day operations and decision making, and let the personnel you hired do that work. Give them money to reach the goals you establish, and then get out of the way and let 'em do the job.
It's something that the current owner just can't do, and just won't do. He has to remain involved at times when he shouldn't be, isn't involved at times when he has demanded that he must be consulted (isn't readily available, takes a long time making decisions, etc.), and has basically let the team slowly but surely detoriate.
As franchises go, the Orioles are a little further along towards a competitive team currently than the Washington Nationals are. The big difference between both being that the Orioles are a mid-level competive team at best, and will likely remain no higher than there for some time to come. They have a depleted farm system, get players via free agency -- when they can convince them to come play for them -- and are not at a point where they can add just a few pieces to make the improvements for the current year, or even the future, that they would need to if they want to remain competitive.
The Nationals have a plan. The Kasten plan. They are purposefully rebuilding slowly but surely. They're taking their time to get their farm system back to proper levels, to get youngsters that they can groom in their system, and that they can watch improve over time. In a few years they hope to be ready to be very competitive, and hope to be at a point where they could add a player or two to the big team and be challengers to the division crown, or at least for the wildcard spot.
I wish that the Orioles had a plan. Any plan. A plan that would indicate intelligent ownership. Instead, they have Angelos.