would never understand) – than I have in Baltimore. I’ve personally witnessed the Steelers losing three different AFC Championship Games there over the years (San Diego, New England & Denver) and also win one, ironically, over Jim Harbaugh and the Colts on the last play of the game. I was also in Foxboro on a foggy night in January 1997, when the Patriots eliminated the Stillers in the old dumpy stadium.
And none of this even touches my bloodstream like the 1996 arrival of the Ravens – coming via Cleveland – and that meant a lifetime of home-and-home match ups with the Steelers and a bitter rivalry born anew for what I hope will be the rest of my lifetime.
For 15 seasons now, I’ve attended every Ravens-Steelers game in the history of the series — all 32 of them. I was there on that Sunday night when Vinny Testaverde threw the ball from his knees into Rod Woodson’s hands. I was there when Tony Banks led us to our first win in Three Rivers Stadium in 1999. I was at Memorial Stadium when the woeful 1996 Ravens upset the defending champs and was there in 1997 when Kordell Stewart leaped into the endzone on 33rd Street with 25,000 Steelers fans waving those awful towels in our own building and vividly recall the civic shame I felt that day as the Orioles were playing the Seattle Mariners at Camden Yards, leaving the Ravens abandoned by most of Baltimore’s sports faithful.
I don’t need to recount all of the sins of Jerome Bettis and Ben Roethlisberger or Hines Ward and Joey Porter or the wins of Ray Lewis over the years.
When Pittsburgh and Baltimore get together, it’s personal for me.
Hell, it’s really the barometer of what kind of fan you are in Baltimore.
If you don’t hate Pittsburgh and all that the Steelers represent, then you’re not really a Ravens fan.
And if you’re from “out of town” – media, fan or otherwise – you don’t really know a damned thing about any of this because you didn’t live it. And to even discuss it with more uneducated statements than questions simultaneously shows your stupidity and arrogance and “outs” you as the charlatan and “outsider” you are and will always be.
And that’s what the phonies at these other media entities give you and call quality — fake Baltimore experts but you know better!
And this is what makes WNST.net different!
It’s times like these when the Baltimore civic concern is winning and pride and the “provincial” charm that we posess will always brag, boast and flaunt our authenticity and our passion for our city and region.
That is what WNST is and will always be.
So as silly as the notion of some never-was Pittsburgh sportswriter hired by a Chicago company to write with any conviction about a Baltimore football team or a dingbat, mouthy-to-the-point-of-comical female “journalist” who praises New York and Boston and looks down upon Baltimore sports fans with disdain while accepting a paycheck from the coffers of Peter Angelos’ millions of YOUR local blood money while the baseball team rots in last place and uses her to perpetuate the lies via propaganda, the real story here is the game on Saturday at Heinz Field.
And how much it matters – to you, to me and to everyone in Baltimore.
It’s Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore and this time we want to win. Because of all that we’ve been through with the Steelers and the Pirates. (And even some of us, with the Capitals and the Penguins!)
Tickets are plentiful for this Saturday’s 4:30 game in Pittsburgh. I’d like to think that Baltimore will represent hard this weekend, wearing out that rest stop in Breezewood and that most of our community really feels like we’re going to win this game on Saturday.
We’re throwing a giant pre-game bash at The Westin in downtown Pittsburgh that we hope you’ll attend. It’ll be warm, safe and dry. We’ll even have the Terps-Villanova game on for your viewing pleasure.
And I really hope I get that long-awaited four-hour ride home on Saturday where we’re doing the celebrating as the bus rolls down I-70 back to The Free State. I feel like I deserve it as a fan.
A win will mean a lot to a lot of people here after never seeing Baltimore beat Pittsburgh in a game that really matters.
That’s what I’m looking forward to on Saturday — waving to Steelers fans in the stadium as they’re headed north to Oakmont, awaiting the spring thaw.