Let me take this time to offer my apologies for not having the final part of this series on Monday, as advertised. “Rob Long” was Robert Long yesterday morning and I spent the day in school with little Robbie Long for “Father and Son Day.” That pretty much wiped me out until my time to prep for my show.
So, here were are. Nestor has already posted the final brackets for the KOBS Tournament. Today, I’m examining the KOBS in our current decade. To be honest, it’s really a brutal beat down.
The pendulum swung big time in 2000 as far as the sports scene in Baltimore. The Orioles finished another brutal season. Even though they were under .500, the Birds still finished second in the American League in attendance with over 3,000,000 people attending the games.
However, you could begin to hear grumblings from the fan base about how the team was being built. High dollar players such as Albert Belle weren’t panning out and the O’s had very little to offer in the minors to replenish the Big League roster.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens were beginning to take fans’ minds off the woes of the baseball team. This roster was built with stellar draft picks and veterans who knew how to win. Players like Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, and Chris McAllister made the Ravens’ front office look like draft day geniuses, and Shannon Sharpe, Rod Woodson, and Sam Adams proved the organization wanted to win, now.
The 2000 season began with a bang for the Ravens. The Pittsburgh Steelers became our rivals early in the team’s existence, so going up to the Steel City and laying a 16-0 lost to them was a great start. The Ravens followed that up with a 39-36 thriller in their home opener against Jacksonville.
In spite of the Ravens winning five out of their first six games, they were in the midst of a skid that saw them go without scoring a touchdown in five games. That slump challenged the Ravens’ Head Coach Brian Billick to make a decision.
With starter Tony Banks struggling, veteran Trent Dilfer was given the starting job and he never relinquished the role. In week 10 of the season, Dilfer and the NFL’s most dominant defense beat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-7, and never looked back. They rolled through the rest of the regular season schedule with a 12-4 record, and landed a Wild-Card berth.
That first game of the 2000 play-offs put the Baltimore Ravens over the top. Not only did it give the city of Baltimore its home play-off game since 1977, it gave us our first home-play-off win since 1970. It also gave the Ravens the key to the heart of the sports fans in this town.
The Ravens capped off the 2000 season with an overwhelming decision over the New York Giants which provided poetry to many. The Baltimore Colts Championship victory over the Giants in 1958 goes down as the most important game in the history of the NFL. The win versus the Giants in Super Bowl 35 was the most important to a city that was denied another NFL franchise.
Unfortunately, for a baseball fan like myself, the decade continued much like it began. The football took care of business, and the baseball team conducted bad business. While winning championships and divisions in football is something we all want, we also want our baseball team to contend, and that just hasn’t happened, yet, in this decade.
The Baltimore Blast won four MISL Championships during this decade. In fact, they won four out of six years, cementing a dynasty in their league. Led by players such as Denison Cabral, Giuliano Celenza, and Sagu, the Blast continued to be the class of their league.
So, who’s the KOBS for this decade. Even though this decade isn’t complete, I don’t think there’s any doubt that it’s Ray Lewis. He has been the best player on the best team in this city. He’s also been the face of this organization throughout its history. There’s no doubt this title belongs to him.
Give me your thoughts today and vote for the KOBS. Let’s make it fun.