May 22, 2007

Reply in Response to "Baltimore v. Washington Battle Royale"

I appear to be compelled by my distinguished colleague and brother of the Maryland Bar to fashion a response to his post. To be frank, I am swamped at the moment and don't have time to craft a response to everything that he said. However, I will publish for all to see what I stated in an e-mail to Jason... Jason is exactly right on one of the points in his e-mail. I do believe firmly that Washington baseball fans have a "complex" about the Orioles and their fans. I don't quite know if it's an inferiority complex... it may very well be. But I would compare how Nats fans feel now to how Ravens fans felt in the late 90s.

Let me take you back to the heady times of 1998. Jeremy and Jason were in the senior year of high school, destined to meet the following fall in the hallowed halls of Ellicott. The Foo Fighters were about to make rock history by releasing a series of albums that all sounded the same. Blow jobs were fodder for impeachment. And the Ravens were preparing to begin their third season in Baltimore. Ravens fans HATED Redskin fans. The Redskins were on their way to a division title and played in front of a packed crowd in a new stadium. The Ravens were floundering, coming off a Vinny Testaverde and Ted Marchibroda-led 6-9-1 record and about to move into their new stadium. Ravens fans continue to hate Redskin fans to this day, and much of the animosity lingers from that time when the teams' fates were so different, and from the day when the Redskins were perceived, rightly or wrongly, as keeping a team out of Baltimore. Redskin fans are by and large ambivalent towards Raven fans.

Flash forward to today, and change the sport to major league baseball. The Orioles are not necessarily a team of success, but play in a beautiful stadium, and spend lots of money on their players. The Nats were pegged by all to lose 100+ games, play in a stadium upgraded in a manner, as described at one point by Stan Kasten, as something akin to putting lipstick on a pig. The Nats' payroll is virtually non-existent. And Nats fans are certain that all of the efforts of the Orioles brass was to quash their very existence. We've been accused of being unable to support a team, called losers, embarrassments, and lots of other things. I've been told that O's fans are ambivalent towards Nats fans.

This is why we have a "complex" against Baltimore's baseball team. It has nothing to do with the city. It has everything to do with the fact that when we can claim a victory over the O's, we, as the total underdogs who didn't start a single pitcher in the three games who would start for many AAA teams, have managed to beat the team that wishes that we were never born. The crappy stadium over the sparkly stadium. The fan base that was told it was nonexistent over the fan base that believes it is the best in baseball despite attendance figures to the contrary. Is it an "inferiority complex?" Maybe. But that would be why we Nat fans took so much glee in evading a sweep. So Jason my friend, examine the BALTIMORE Raven fanbase's feeling towards the WASHINGTON Redskins (minus the humor that they are able to find in Dan Snyder's regime), reflect that the other way, and you'll find much of the same in the WASHINGTON Nationals fanbase's feelings towards the BALTIMORE Orioles.

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