When the Colts packed up the Mayflower trucks and left Baltimore on March 29, 1984 I was only 2 years old, so it’s hard for me to be sentimental, angry or have any other emotional connection to the Colts, other than they play in Indianapolis and have been the Indianapolis Colts for nearly my entire life. Now I know that my view or lack of connection to the Colts is much different than most, especially those that listen, call in, and email to WNST daily, however this is my reality. I was too young to watch Lenny Moore, Johnny Unitas, or any of the other Baltimore Colts. They were never my Colts.
When the NFL returned to Baltimore I was a freshman in high school and I remember thinking to myself that as happy as I was that Baltimore was going to get an NFL team, the last thing I wanted to decorate my body with were those ugly colors of brown and orange that the Cleveland Browns wore. Once it had been made public that the colors, the team name, and the records were going to stay in Cleveland, the Baltimore Ravens were born and once again I could look forward to going to Memorial Stadium for a sporting event again. You see, while I didn’t have any connection to the Baltimore Colts because I was too young, not to mention that neither of my parents were from Maryland, I did however love the Baltimore Orioles. Memorial Stadium was the first place I’d ever seen a Major League Baseball game, scored my first autograph (Jeff Ballard), and caught my first foul ball (Mo Vaughn). Knowing that the lights would be turned back on at Memorial Stadium, this time for an NFL game was very exciting for a young teenager.
It took nearly thirteen years for an NFL franchise to return to Baltimore after the Colts left and the Ravens have been in Baltimore for nearly thirteen years. Since Baltimore’s NFL franchise became the Ravens, they have built a beautiful new stadium, won a Super Bowl, and captured the hearts of the entire city. The Ravens unify this very divided city and you can always feel safe while wearing your purple, because even in a city where two blocks can mean the difference between a $400,000 row house and a $60,000 row house, Ravens fans rally around the team no matter their address, income, or color of their skin.
So while I can feel for those that are still mad about the Colts leaving Baltimore in 1984, I also say move on. Remember that even though you could care less about how much the Ravens and Steve Biscotti are making on Sunday’s, professional sports is a business and if it doesn’t make cents, it doesn’t make sense. So when the Colts left Baltimore in 1984, the Colts left a city that hadn’t grown in the same way that many others had during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Baltimore was still Baltimore, once a proud city in the middle of the Eastern seaboard, yet by the time the Colts left in the 80’s Baltimore had fallen behind many of the other and now larger cities sprinkled across the country. So while many of the citizens of Baltimore still feel betrayed by the Colts leaving town, it happened! In fact it happened over 25 years ago! The Ravens are Baltimore’s football team, the Ravens are my football team, and if you’re reading this, the Ravens are probably your football team too. I know that I have a very different view of the Colts leaving Baltimore than most people do, but as a 28 year old that now lives in downtown Baltimore, the Colts play in Indianapolis and the Ravens play in Baltimore, well that is until the two meet this Sunday when both teams will be playing in Baltimore.