The Baltimore Ravens season came to an end on Christmas night when they fell to their arch rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Twice in 2016 Baltimore professional sports teams suffered heartbreak from their rivals. In October, the Orioles went to Toronto for a sudden death wildcard game. With one swing of the bat the Blue Jays eliminated them and ending their season. Now losses hurt obviously, however, the city has two competitive teams in a five year span. The first time that has ever happened with the Ravens the being in town.
Yes, the Ravens falling to the Steelers hurt, but unlike some cities, we have professional teams. When the Ravens arrived in 1996, the Orioles were in a division race with the New York Yankees. They eventually got into the playoffs by clinching a wildcard berth. For the first time, there was playoffs at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The Orioles would eventually fall in the American League Championship Series to the Yankees but they would bounce back next season win the division. Unfortunately they would fall to the Indians in the ALCS but the team would not be considered relevant for another 15 years.
While the Orioles were winning, the Ravens were the typical expansion team. The Orioles would eventually fade into an MLB laughing stock and the Ravens would rise to the occasion and quickly become one of the NFL’s most consistent franchises.
The Ravens, having already won a Super Bowl in its twelve year existence, made a change in 2008 to change the franchise. They signed Philadelphia Eagles special teams coach John Harbaugh to become the team’s new head coach. They also drafted Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco. After years of frustration with quarterback Kyle Boller, fans finally got the change they wanted.
In their first five seasons, Harbaugh and Flacco won two division titles, made five playoff appearances with at least one win every postseason, but most importantly they won the Super Bowl (2012). 2012 also was the year the Orioles returned to relevancy.
At the end of the 2010 season, the Orioles front office signed Buck Showalter to manage the team and the culture of Baltimore baseball changed immediately. In 2012 the team made the playoffs for the first time since 1997. They would go on to make the playoffs for three of the next five seasons including another ALCS appearance.
Now I was not around when the Colts were winning NFL championships and the Orioles are the one team I love that have I yet to see win a world title. So seeing Baltimore celebrate two competitive teams is still new to me. What’s important is that we show equal love to both. The Orioles are one of the most exciting teams in baseball period. There is nothing better than hearing a crowd roar after a three run home run.
That’s my rant Baltimore. We’re mad that the Ravens lost but hey, it beats being the Browns.
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