With the Orioles taking care of the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a three-game set and the Yankees falling at Fenway Park, Tuesday became an unprecedented night in the history of Baltimore sports.
The end of the day marked the first time ever that the Orioles and Ravens each held at least a share of first place as Baltimore enjoys the most combined prosperity in its major professional sports teams in nearly 30 years.
The feat appeared to be simple to identify at first glance with the Ravens enjoying much success over the last 12 years while the Orioles have languished in the lower half of the division every year since 1997. However, the first-place duality nearly took place in 1997 when the Orioles spent the entire season in first place while the Ravens finished their second year in Baltimore with an underwhelming 6-9-1 record.
As the Orioles were steamrolling their way to a 98-64 record and their first American League East title since 1983, the Ravens actually began the 1997 season with a 3-1 record. However, they still trailed the Jacksonville Jaguars in the old AFC Central after their former division foe beat them in the season opener at Memorial Stadium.
Tuesday night’s achievement marked the first time since 1983 that Baltimore’s two major professional sports teams were each in first place. In the Colts’ final season in Baltimore, they beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 2 to improve their record to 3-2 and move into a tie for first place in the AFC East. That was also the final day of the regular season for the Orioles, who had already clinched the division title and finished off a 98-64 mark with a Sunday victory.
Coincidentally, that also happened to be the day I was born.
Nearly 29 years later, Baltimore fans have endured a 12-year void without the NFL and the Orioles’ 14 straight losing seasons to finally get back to where they were in 1983.
All you have to do is look at me to get a picture of how long it’s been.
Regardless of your thoughts on the Orioles’ chances of winning the division in the final 21 games of the season or whether the Ravens will defend their AFC North title in 2012, it’s an exciting time to be a Baltimore sports fan.