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How U.K. Scouts attending the 2019 World Scout Jamboree helped make the Baltimore Orioles popular overseas

Anthony Santander tosses a ball to his new fan club — a group of Scouts and volunteers from the United Kingdom. (All photos courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles)

From the cheers nearby, you would’ve thought Anthony Santander had just caught the final out in the World Series.

But it was just a routine catch in the fourth inning of an Aug. 4, 2019, game between the Baltimore Orioles and the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.

The cheers were coming from the left field seats behind Santander, where more than 4,000 U.K. Scouts — all conspicuously wearing red, white and blue neckerchiefs — were wildly celebrating every time Santander caught a fly ball.

The Scouts had just completed 12 transformative days at the 2019 World Scout Jamboree, held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia — a six-hour drive from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The United Kingdom was one of 152 countries with Scouts attending or serving on staff at the 2019 World Scout Jamboree. Like the Boy Scouts of America, the U.K. Scout Association is a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, which unites all 54 million Scouts around the world.

Before heading back across the Atlantic after the Jamboree, the U.K. Scouts did one of the most American things imaginable: They attended a pro baseball game.

Santander prepares to catch a fly ball, and the Scouts prepare to go wild.

‘It just happened’

Many of the Scouts and their adult volunteers were attending their first Major League Baseball game, and they quickly made their presence heard. They would’ve been hard to miss. With an announced attendance of 18,837, the U.K. Scout contingent made up more than 20% of the entire crowd.

Because of the left field location of their seats, left fielder Santander made a convenient choice for the Scouts’ favorite player.

As documented in Joe Trezza’s story on MLB.com, the Scouts showed their fandom in a number of ways.

It started when Santander caught pop flies on consecutive batters in the fourth inning, causing the Scouts to erupt with cheers.

“That’s when I started hearing the roar of the fans,” Santander said. “I have no idea why. It just happened.”

They cheered every time Santander made a defensive out. They booed when a Blue Jays outfielder caught a fly ball off Santander’s bat. They went absolutely bonkers when Santander tossed a souvenir ball into the stands.

The Orioles broadcast crew caught on, too.

“He’s their favorite player,” Orioles radio broadcaster Jim Hunter said, “and they just met him!”

The U.K. Scouts cheered for everything Santander did.

The Anthony Santander International Fan Club

After the game, Santander tweeted his appreciation to his cheering section, which was recognized on the scoreboard during the game as “The Official Anthony Santander International Fan Club.”

“I want to thank the boys and girls Scouts that attended our game today,” Santander tweeted. “Interacting with them was an unbelievable experience and something I will never forget.”

It was something the Scouts never forgot either.

One of the U.K. Scouts, Sarah from West Sussex, even purchased Santander’s No. 25 jersey from the Orioles team store, according to a story in the Washington Post published the day after the game.

But it didn’t end there. Nearly two years later, according to Trezza’s story, Santander is still beloved in the United Kingdom. He’s an “overnight sensation,” Trezza says.

“He’s become a bit of an adopted Brit, in a really strange way,” Matt Casbolt, who runs the British Baltimore Orioles Fans (@BritishOrioles) Twitter account, told Trezza. “It’s one of those things that came from nowhere, but he’s become synonymous now with the British fan base.”

Tweets from the game

Thanks to blog reader Thomas Jones for the tip!

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