Chapter 10: Imagine a Baltimore without the Orioles

March 14, 2012 | Nestor Aparicio

Chapter 10: Imagine a Baltimore without the Orioles

Street in Highlandtown — was a focal point for our families and friends to share a piece of life in a way no other place of gathering could.

It was a temple for people of all races, colors and creeds to come together as a community and worship the fact that we could all be pulling the rope in the same direction.

And isn’t that when a sports franchise — forgetting all of the bluster of economic impact and urban development — really becomes “valuable” to a community?

When it can make people throughout a given area feel connected to something that’s bigger than them?

Imagine a Baltimore without EVER having the Orioles. No Brooks…no Frank…no Boog…no Cakes…no Eddie…no Cal…no Earl!

Imagine a Baltimore where Art Modell takes his football team to Los Angeles instead of Baltimore. No Ray Lewis…no Jon Ogden…no Brian Billick…no stadium downtown…no parade in 2001…even NO Steelers fans!

Imagine a Baltimore where the Dallas Texans stay in the Lone Star state in the early 1950′s. No Johnny Unitas…no Lenny Moore…no Artie Donovan…no Bert Jones…no Bob Irsay…no Super Bowl I or III!

Baltimore would immediately become Albuquerque. Or Des Moines. Or Fargo.

And no knocking those places because I’m sure they’re nice.

But I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live there with baseball and football!

What the hell kind of life would that be for people like you and me?

What “community” memories would this city have if it didn’t have sports? A 4th of July fireworks show? A glitzy New Year’s Eve show? Or maybe a lame City Fair?

When would 70,000 people EVER get together in one place at one time for one common community cause and another million or more would be watching on TV?

For me, almost everything in my life that I would refer to as a hobby would be taken away.

One night about a year ago Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and I engaged in a deep conversation about why we love sports and where it comes from and I told him this: “You may be a gazillionaire and own the team forever but if the Ravens ever win the Super Bowl, it can’t possibly be any more joyous, emotional, spiritual and fun for you than it is for me. It just CAN’T! Because, in my mind, I OWN the team, too!”

That’s what a sports team does for the community. It gives EVERYONE from a homeless guy on the street wearing a Super Bowl sweatshirt to the owner of the team who is flying private jets and eating the best meals and is actually making money off of the endeavor — the EXACT SAME FEELING!

THEY OWN THE TEAM THAT NIGHT!

WINNING IS EUPHORIC — like no other feeling in the world!

We’re ALL wealthy and rich when our team wins. There’s just no better feeling in the world.

I learned this best through baseball, first on television and then in person.

If you go onto my website in my hokey bio there is an equally hokey (if not hokier, if that’s a word) quote about why I first took a job in the sports

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