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D.C.-Baltimore Rivalry: Ridiculous

Dan Steinberg is on vacation. Despite his massive photo above, this was not written by him. It was written by Neal Shaffer, editor of The Loss Column, which is not technically about D.C. sports but is close enough. Dan will theoretically be back tomorrow. Anyhow, TLC writes below, and please provide extra comments to make him feel at home.

Pain Does Not Exist in This Dojo...Does It?

At the risk of alienating some of my Baltimore compatriots, it's time to go on the record: the notion of a DC - Baltimore rivalry is ridiculous.

To me, DC is a place where, once, a young man could go see a band like the Make-Up in some random American Legion hall, having arrived there by means of a rail-based public transportation system that actually blankets the city. It remains the land of Marion Barry, Gilbert Arenas, Alex Ovechkin, Easterns Automotive Group, and license plates that stop just short of advocating open insurrection. What's to hate?


Be inspired, O's fans, or something. (Toni. L. Sandys - TWP)

I see DC as part of the family, the same way I see Annapolis and Frederick and Ocean City. There are more things uniting us than keeping us apart. In fact, I'm going one better: Baltimore sports fans could learn a few things from our burgundy-and-gold loving neighbors.

I was at FedEx field last year when the Giants rolled in for the last game of the season. The Skins had a total of five wins and had already endured one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory. And yet everywhere I turned I saw passion. Raw, unbridled support for the team despite there being absolutely no reason for it. Indeed, some of that passion bordered on lunacy. It's true there was a sizeable contingent of Giants fans on hand, but they were a long way away from a majority.

I realize this is a case of comparing apples and oranges, maybe even apples and giraffes. But as an outsider looking in, the zeal with which Redskins fans support their team - in spite of the record and in spite of a questionable ownership situation - can't help but inspire a tinge of jealousy.

There was a time, back in the waning years of the Memorial Stadium era, when the Orioles aroused that kind of passion. I was barely old enough to understand it, but I felt it.

Sports fans ought to go out of their way to find reasons to support their team. They ought to rationalize and make excuses - that's part of the fun. Yet when it comes to the Orioles, a whole lot of folks take the exact opposite approach. They go out of their way to find reasons to not go to the park, to not wear their colors, to not show pride in the black-and-orange. It's sad.

I've heard it all before about Peter Angelos. About how the team treats the fans, about "Baltimore" on the road jerseys, about how you can't compare football to baseball for so many reasons. And it's all true. Every damn bit of it.

Yet none of it matters, because if support for the team you love comes with an asterisk then it's not support at all. And all you're doing is hurting yourself in the long run. If there's one thing certain in sports it's that the bad teams will eventually be good and the good ones will eventually be bad. If you bail during the lean years then you're not going to know - really know - how good it feels when they finally turn it around.

Your loss.

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 24, 2007; 2:12 PM ET
Categories:  Nats , Orioles  
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Comments

"If there's one thing certain in sports it's that the bad teams will eventually be good and the good ones will eventually be bad."

That's a certainty? Really? Hmmm.

Houston Texans Super Bowl Champs?
Memphis Grizzlies World Champs?
Duke BCS Champions?

Yeah, I don't think so. Sure, some teams go up and down, but some teams just suck and that's their lot in life.

Posted by: Kim | July 24, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Add Orioles under peter Angelos to that list. You do not know what youa re talking about dude. Angelos has destroyed the O's family and everything good about the franchise. Why not go to a Caps or Wizards game and tell me about those great DC fans. Hint: Half are rooting for the opponent.

Posted by: Me | July 24, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"That's a certainty? Really? Hmmm.

Houston Texans Super Bowl Champs?
Memphis Grizzlies World Champs?
Duke BCS Champions?

Yeah, I don't think so. Sure, some teams go up and down, but some teams just suck and that's their lot in life."

aside from Duke ('cos they certainly put NO $$$ into their football program) remember that just 15 years ago, the New England Patriots were among the WORSE franchises of all sports. yeah, 3 super bowl titles later . . .

as for basketball, 1 player in 1 draft can change everything, just ask the Chicago Bulls when they got MJ.

sorry Kim, back to the drawing board.

Posted by: Vic | July 24, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Just because Angelos sucks doesn't mean you have to cease to cheer on the guys that play the game on the field. Fair weather fans are not fans at all. Angelos is just an excuse for all those O's "fans" who want to justify not supporting their home team, not spending money to go to the games, etc. You can't just give up on a team until they're good again. Sure Angelos has done his part to make make the team bad over the years, but unless you've been under that fair-weather fan rock for the past two years, there's a lot to look forward to in the O's organization. Harping on Angelos is a little passe, I'm afraid. Time to get out from under that rock and have a look at your once-proud Orioles. Don't let Peter Angelos get you down - that's just giving in. Baltimore is a baseball town and the loyal O's fans are building despite what the Sun and ESPN have to say about it.

GO O'S

Posted by: dan the man | July 24, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

No Vic, some teams are bad because they've got a bad culture. Sure in the topsy-turvy parity sports like football and basketball you can turn it around in a hurry.

1 guy can change things in the NBA, so what? There are teams in the NBA that are historically bad. A team like the Grizzlies may never be good.

Hope that a team may one day be good is one thing, but don't deny that there are teams that just can't cut it. You've got to wait for an owner to move on.

I've got to go plan the Columbus Blue Jackets Stanley Cup parade.

Posted by: Kim | July 24, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Sorry but you are still wrong. Angelos lets his kids treat the roster like a fantasy team. I will not support them until he is gone. You can call me what you want. But the Redskin example at least Snyder is trying to make the team a winner. Angelos is not even trying. 4 middle relief pitchers brought in this year. Wow what a genius he is.

Posted by: Me | July 24, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

As Angelos continues his torrid reign on the O's, why should anyone support him! In the long run if I go to a game I'm only putting money into that mans pocket and that to me is the opposite of supporting the O's, that's supporting their continued demise! I don't understand why anyone would buy a team and continue to ignore them as if they were the redheaded step child. It's one thing to try and lose, but not doing anything is why people get sick of supporting the O's, Pirates, Royals, Expos and any likes thereof! Riddle me this, why should I spend my money to see minor league ball played in a major league park?

Posted by: Iwatsu | July 24, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I became a Redskins fan because of my grandfather, and I became an O's fan because of Cal Ripken. I live in Annapolis so I'm in the middle of DC and Baltimore. People get on me for liking the Orioles and Redskins but I refuse to switch teams. Just because an owner is absolutely terrible does not mean I hate the team. It's been nine years going on ten without a winning record, and when there is a playoff game it'll be that much sweeter.

Good article.

Posted by: AUinMD | July 24, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"I see DC as part of the family, the same way I see Annapolis and Frederick and Ocean City."

Please don't lump us in with those assclowns.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 24, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Duke twice played in the Rose Bowl. And they were respectable when Spurrier coached them. It takes time, but teams go up and down.

Posted by: Remember Wallace Wade | July 24, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Let residents of Baltimore root for their two pro teams and let DC root for their 6 pro teams.
Capitals
Redskins
Nationals
Wizards
United
Mystics

There is no rivalry. And the Caps and Nats are going to have very bright futures, the Caps possibly this season given their trades.

Posted by: Don't Tread on Me! | July 24, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Kim,

Do plan on attending on the Blue Jackets Stanley Cup parade, I made plans to attend the Tampa Bay Lightning parade when I lived there 10 years ago and the Lightning thrilled us with seasons with 10 wins for years. Too bad I had already moved to DC by the time the won in '04.

I can say the same for the Bucs. Everything changed when Malcolm "The Leprauchaun" Glazer bought the team. How were the Bucs doing before? Um, yeah.

Posted by: Vic | July 25, 2007 5:31 AM | Report abuse

"1 guy can change things in the NBA, so what? There are teams in the NBA that are historically bad. A team like the Grizzlies may never be good."

key word: MAY.

if historical franchises like the Celtics be stuck in mediocrity for years due to bad managemnet, good management is the first thing you need to turn ANY franchise around.

i already stated the examples of the Bulls, Lightning, Bucs, we can see it in the Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves (pre-Bobby Cox), Saints, NJ Devils, etc.

How many years have the Grizz been in the NBA? Didn't they make the playoffs a few years in a row? Championships are not the only way to measure success.

Posted by: Vic | July 25, 2007 5:38 AM | Report abuse

Tigers, Angels, Saints, Patriots, Colts, Buccaneers, Mavericks, Nets, Cavaliers, Lightning.

Phillies, Dodgers, Cowboys, Giants, Knicks, Celtics, Packers, 49ers, Rangers, Bruins, Blackhawks.

One of these two lists is a list of teams that have had significant success in the recent past. The other is a list of teams that have done a whole lot of nothing in the recent past. If you had just time-traveled from 1997 to 2007, would you be able to guess which is which?

Posted by: EMS | July 25, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

hooray for the make up!

Posted by: bryc3 | July 25, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey Don't Tread on Me,

Wouldn't the Blast and the Bayhawks and the Blackbirds count as pro teams if the United and Mystics do??

Posted by: Baltimore | July 25, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"Hey Don't Tread on Me,

Wouldn't the Blast and the Bayhawks and the Blackbirds count as pro teams if the United and Mystics do??"

Um, don't the Bayhawks play in Washington now?

Posted by: WebberDC | July 25, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Just ridiculous to compare football to baseball in general. Go to a Nats game - um where is the passion from the supposed DC fanatics there? The Orioles are outdrawing them this year - after 10 consecutive years of losing.

The Skins went to the playoffs a couple years ago. The Orioles are going on 10 straight years of losing with an owner who could care less. Dan Snyder trys to win. Football arouses passion moreso than baseball does anyways.

Oh, and try going to a football game in Baltimore vs. one in DC during the a playoff game. Atmospheres are uncomparable - Baltimore wins hands down (i've been to both). Baltimore is a GREAT sports town stuck with an awful baseball owner. Look at how many Baltimoreans went up to Cooperstown last week to see Cal get inducted - a record crowd by tens of thousands.

DC is a city of transients and is not a sports town....I live here.

Posted by: C | August 10, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

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