A big part of being a Baltimore sports fan is holding a grudge against other cities. We all know the routine: New York people are pretentious. Boston people are rude. Pittsburgh people are white trash. Indianapolis stole our beloved Colts, etc. etc. Yet this winter I’ve felt a conspicuous void in my life that can only be attributed to not having a city to hate and ridicule.
Of the aforementioned cities–or the “big 4” as I call them–the obvious choice for this season would be Pittsburgh. Yet I can’t seem to muster up my usual anger towards them because the Steelers just flat out blow. Not that I feel bad for Ben Roethlisberger or wouldn’t mind seeing Hines Ward crying in pain after a career ending injury, it’s just that those things aren’t getting my blood boiling as much this season. And yes, Pittsburgh fans are still complete losers who live in trailers and listen to Insane Clown Posse on the reg, but I also feel a sense of comaraderie with them in this economic downturn. Let’s face it, both Pittsburgh and Baltimore are blue collar towns at heart and, while Pittsburgh may lack things like citywide plumbing, attractive women, and bestiality laws, they’re still going through a tough winter, just like we are.
In terms of our big city neighbors to the North, am I the only one who feels like a sort of equilibrium has been reached in baseball? I despise Red Sox fans so much that I actually enjoyed the Yankees returning to championship form this season. By next year Yankees fans will go back to nonchalantly assuming their team will win while the “Red Sox nation” will hopefully start declining to its 20th century size, which is to say, just people from Massachusetts. Maybe Baltimore bars will even stop playing “sweet caroline” when the Sox are in town. By contrast, “Empire State of Mind,” the de-facto Yankees theme, is a piece of music I can actually listen to for fun don’t mind it being played at bars.* Until the Orioles put together a decent team, I’ll take the Yankees winning any day over the Red Sox.
Lastly, Indianapolis is doing really well and Baltimoreans are still angry about them stealing our team. But to be honest, I wasn’t alive when that happened and, simply put, anyone who doesn’t like Peyton Manning doesn’t like America. Peyton is pretty much a flawless QB/person and he has been in some of the funniest sports advertisements ever.
This is a tough situation because sports rivalries are an integral part of our modern society. They keep us focused on irrelevant divisions so that we don’t have to worry about things that actually matter, and that’s how we like it. So where is Baltimore’s best rivalry now? My suggestion is for us to band together as a nation and start hating on our World Cup bracket (is that correct terminology rabbieli?). England, Slovenia, and Algeria, prepare to feel the wrath of Baltimore!!!!
* I guarantee that by the summer, when guido Yankees fans descend on Camden Yards and start fist pumping to “Empire State of Mind,” I will begin to hate that song just as much as “Sweet Caroline.” Every Yankees fan I see this summer will assume the name of the jersey shore character that they most closely resemble.