What is a Baltimorean to do when it comes to rooting interests in the NBA, NHL and MLS? This is a question that I have long pondered and what better to forum to address it than Bohs and O’s. A place where leading Baltimore sports exports come to share analysis and ideas. A place where being bandwagon is about the worse insult once can receive. So I pose the question to the forum.
Here is my analysis of the situation. I was admittedly a bandwagon fan of the Capitals last year. I attended one game, watched a few more, but did not follow them religiously until the playoffs and have only watched one game so far this season. The Baltimore sports gods made my pay dearly for my transgressions when the Capitals lost to another team from Pittsburgh. That made two playoff losses to Pittsburgh in a 6 month span. I clearly learned my lesson.
Is it possible for us to be true fans of DC teams? Does that fact they are not from Baltimore mean are rooting interests are inherently bandwagon? They are the closest teams to us geographically, but it is not quite the same as having Baltimore on the jersey. They don’t represent us in the way that the Orioles and Ravens do. I know the Terps play just outside of DC, but they are the MARYLAND Terps so they represent us as well. How can we root for a Hockey team from DC when we despise the football team? We will never really fit in with the rest of the fan base. The Caps game that I attended last year was the Thursday before the Ravens-Skins matchup and we got in several altercations with Redskins fans. We know little about the DC and its sports history, which are vital parts of being a sports fan. How could you ever fit in as a Baltimore sports fan if you did not know the story of the Colts skipping town? Your whole mindset would not be in sync with the rest of the community.
I also wonder if I even have room in my heart or on my schedule for another team. If there was a Baltimore hockey team would be as diehard about it as the Ravens, Orioles, and Terps? Right now I have three teams whose schedules fit perfectly so I can have a team to root for at all times during the year. Maybe this is why Baltimore sports fans are so much better than sports fans from Boston and DC. Our passion for our teams is more focused and not spread out between 5 or 6 teams. If the Ravens are struggling we can’t turn NBA or NHL teams and hop on that bandwagon instead. We are stuck with our teams whether they have made the playoffs in consecutive seasons or are have 13 straight losing seasons.
Bohs and O’s contributors and readers please share with me your thoughts on Baltimoreans’ fanhood of DC sports teams. Can we ever be true fans? As Baltimore sports fans should we even try to root for DC teams or should we focus on our own teams? This may lead to the broader question of what it means to be a true Baltimore sports fan.