ESPN continues its “30 at 30″ series tonight with a film by Baltimore’s own Barry Levinson about the Colts’ move to Indy in 1984. I highly recommend taping this for a number of reasons. The first feature last week, “A King’s Ransom”, was an outstanding look back at the 1988 trade of Wayne Gretzky through the eyes and lens of filmmaker Peter Berg, a Canadian and a huge hockey fan. As I watched it, I thought of being a Baltimore Colts fan and could relate far too well to what fans of the Edmonton Oilers went through. Funny, isn’t it, that the second installment of this series is about the BALTIMORE Colts.
Levinson’s love of his hometown has been evident in his films for years. Diner, of course, but also Avalon and the vastly underrated Tin Men all pay homage to our accents, quirks and idiosynchrocies as “BawlMer” natives. I’m sure his account of the move will be alternately sad, uplifting and nostalgic. And Lord knows we’re still a nostalgic bunch about the Colts, even 25 years later.
I’m taping it and saving it as a history lesson for my young sons, who have had to endure their father’s many stories about Bert Jones, The Sack Pack, Shake ‘N Bake Glenn Doughty and the AFC East Champions of the mid-70’s. Those were my Colts. But so were Johnny U. and the great teams of the 50’s and 60’s, who my father taught me about as a boy. Even though I didn’t see them play, they were my Colts, and our collective football heritage.
Sports is all about lineage and history and a shared pride in our community. I imagine Levinson’s piece tonight will make a perfect bookend for the other saved documentary I have from ESPN, The Greatest Game Ever Played. It’s far too easy sometimes to hate on the WorldWide Leader, but when they get their collective energies together, they can produce some truly memorable television.
25 years. That’s how long it’s been since the Baltimore Orioles last produced a 20 game winner. Amazing. Especially for the franchise that set the gold standard for pitching excellence. Watching this year’s baseball playoffs really makes me miss the game in October. In Baltimore. It seems like it almost never happened, it’s been that long. But the game has a strong pull to it, especially in this weather, and I really do miss what it feels like to live and die with each pitch and each at-bat.
Oh well. 2011, right?
Damien Marley and Stephen Marley (yes, 2 of Bob’s sons) at the Recher Theatre in Towson tonight. Only $20 a ticket! Doors open at 7 p.m. See you there!