Out-of-towners beware…this isn’t a good week to pick on Baltimore

January 11, 2011 | Drew Forrester

Hey, if you can’t be part of Ravens and Steelers ON the field, at least try to be part of it OFF the field.  Right?  That’s my opinion, anyway.

It’s tense around these parts this week.  The Ravens are playing the Steelers on Saturday and there’s four generations of losing at stake when that game kicks off at Heinz Field.  And it’s not four decades of Ravens losing…it’s four decades of BALTIMORE losing to Pittsburgh.

With that in mind, this isn’t the best of times for people to be criticizing Baltimore, or the Ravens, or the quarterback, or openly lauding Pittsburgh and their dominance of Charm City.

And that’s how it all started yesterday when Glenn and I took local “journalist” Matt Vensel to task for his assessment of Joe Flacco’s performance in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon. (EDIT from DF:  And around here, thankfully, we’re allowed to mention our competition’s name and their place of employment.  Thank God for that…)

Vensel, who contributes to The Sun’s website and writes for their free daily publication “b”, offered his post-game analysis on Sunday by mentioning in his piece that Flacco, for the first time in three post-season trips, played above the “bush-league” level he had previously produced.

Vensel is from Pittsburgh.  He grew up a Steelers fan.

Those are facts.  Facts that he admitted to today in “b” when he wrote “Confessions of a Pittsburgh sportswriter”.

He also got a dig in — intentionally, no doubt — about WNST’s “small audience”.

This is where I’d make a comment about once reading “b”.  I think it was laying on the bathroom floor of the Bel-Loc and I picked it up while I was *ahem* sitting down.  For that 2 minutes, it was almost worthy of my attention.

But that’s neither here nor there.  After all, someone has to publish your horoscope.  And where the hell else are you going to find out what movies are playing if you can’t pick it up in the City Paper knock-off, right?

Back to the issue at hand.

And this is what Jen Royle doesn’t understand.

And this is most certainy what Matt Vensel doesn’t understand.

When you come to Baltimore to work and you go out of your way to fan the flames, you better be prepared to fight a little bit.

Jen Royle has been fanning the flames since the day she graced us with her presence last spring.  (And in FULL disclosure, I have to admit that she SMELLED like a million dollars yesterday at the Ravens press conference.  Yesterday, honestly, she literally did grace us with whatever she was wearing…it was glorious.)

When you arrive in Baltimore to “work”, you can’t come in like a banshee and kick the door down and say “where is the son-of-a-bitch?”  (Note:  Quick, Jen, who said that?  No, it wasn’t Brian Matusz.  I think he said, “Love those jeans…”  It was Brian Billick, you know, the coach of the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl and the guy who was so impressed with our “small audience” that he bought into the station.)

And if you’re from Pittsburgh — and a Steelers fan — it’s probably wise for you to be a tad careful in the way you assess our football team because…well…you’re a Steelers fan.  And that means you can’t really write about Joe Flacco or the Ravens without getting a dig or two in.

Hence, the term “bush-league”.

Vensel isn’t stupid.  He went to Penn State.  And have I mentioned yet that I’m extremely jealous of his hair?  OK, I am. Honestly, the dude has great hair.  I’d trade him golf lessons for a year for his hair for a year.

Anyway, Vensel isn’t dumb…he knew full good and well what he was doing when he threw the words “bush league” in there on Monday.  Once the fire started (continued)