And until now, I thought the biggest problem at Camden Yard was Jimmy McNulty (above, right) being restricted to the cheap seats. From the Baltimore Sun’s Rob Hiassen.

As the Orioles wind up an expected ninth consecutive losing season with their last extended home stand of the season, fans at these coming games will again have to sit next to Boston and New York reminders that fourth-place in the American League East remains Baltimore’s lot. Remember a long time ago when these series were … competitive?

Downtown will again be transformed into a sort of Times Square or Boston Common. If you’re in earshot of any of the games, you won’t know from the cheering who just scored. It’s all very wrong, and for years now it has become depressingly routine. Still, sporting questions remain – if only to provide local fans ways to stay engaged in our imaginary rivalries with both teams:

Have Red Sox fans surpassed Yankees fans in behavioral issues at Oriole Park? In other words, are they more obnoxious? (All that Boston gear worn by all those bandwagoning Red Sox fans!) Have Yankees fans at Oriole Park toned it down a bit? Are we such a nonthreat they have grown reserved? Will Joe Torre actually play his starters?

As always with sports, inconclusive answers can be found in a bar.

Which reminds us of a story. A guy walks into a bar, say The Wharf Rat on Pratt Street, and asks a manager, say Joe Cimino, how he can distinguish the Red Sox fans when their team is in town. It’s a loaded, planted question, but Cimino jumps on the answer. He sees them all – New York, Philadelphia, Boston fans, all of whom flood his joint when it’s their turn to buy Orioles tickets on eBay and have a mini-vacation in cheaper Baltimore.

So, who are the Red Sox fans?

“The guys with a tan line where their wedding rings should be,” Cimino says. “They didn’t bring their wives. They are 50 years old and acting like they are 22, running around drunk in their flip-flops. They are knuckleheads.”

To their credit, they don’t insist on drinking Sam Adams beer when in Baltimore. “They’re not looking for clam chowder, either. They try to adapt a little,” he says. In fact, he’d rather see a Red Sox fan than a Yankees fan. “Red Sox fans are slightly more fun.”