Civil War

June 28, 2012 | Ryan Hiken

Baltimore is only a 45 minute trip on I-95 from the nation’s capital.  Baltimore has two professional sports teams of the major four leagues in the Orioles and the Ravens.  Washington has a franchise in all four major sports in the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals and Wizards.  The last time Washington won a championship was in January of 1992 when the Redskins won the Super Bowl.  It has been 20 years since the nation’s capital has celebrated a championship, but the media covers their teams like they are contenders every year.  The Redskins who are the rightful owners of Washington’s last championship have not been competitive on a consistent basis since the late 80’s and early 90’s.  They have made the playoffs only three times in the last 20 years.  The Wizards are never relevant, except for the short stint in which they had Michael Jordan, but I’m sure even MJ would like us to forget about that.  The Capitals have been a bright spot for DC sports, but have failed to have success when it matters in the playoffs.  The Nationals are pretty new to the area, but in their eight years in DC they have never had a record better than 81-81.

I know I’m talking a lot of shit about DC and Baltimore has virtually only had football since 1997.  However, the Orioles are a historic franchise with one of the best ballparks in all of sports.  The Ravens have been one of the best football teams in the NFL in the past dozen years.  The Ravens have star players and future hall of fame players in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.  The Orioles have bounced back this year, becoming a bright spot in Baltimore for once.  The timing couldn’t be better, the Ravens have had an awful off season with injuries and departures of players.  Every seasons since I can remember, Oriole fans set the bar low and expect the worst.  This year was no different, but to our surprise the Orioles have been fantastic and are currently tied for the 7th best record in the MLB.  However, the Nationals jumped off to a hot start over in DC and all of the Orioles fans decided that they were also Nationals fans now.  Everyone in Baltimore wrote off the Orioles, saying, “They won’t last” and “they do this every year”.  We are almost half way through the season and the all star break is nearing.  If the season ended today the Orioles would be in the playoffs.  This is incredible and very exciting, but I feel dirty and the season feels tainted.

Why do I feel this way?  Baltimore fans are rooting for the Nationals and DC fans are rooting for the Orioles.  You are probably saying, “That doesn’t make any sense!” It does and I’ll tell you why.  Oriole fans entered this season with low expectations and therefore when the Nationals got off to a hot start, Baltimore fans began rooting for them to do well.  After all, the Nationals have some young stars, such as, Strasburg and Harper.  Many DC fans grew up as Oriole fans because they didn’t have a baseball team for a long time, and once they finally got a team, they sucked.  When the Orioles got off to a hot start, many of these DC fans were rooting for the Orioles.  The season has reached a point where we have to come to the conclusion that both teams are legit, and are gonna make runs at the playoffs.  It is time to stop being buddy buddy with the enemy, stop rooting for both sides and pick a team.

I’m born and raised in Baltimore and I pledge my allegiance to Baltimore sports no matter how bad we are.  This is the only positive thing I have to say about Redskins fans, no matter how bad they are, they stick by their side, and vow that they will get better.  That is also delusional, but its what being fanatical is about.  It pains me that the Redskins have drafted RG3, and now have more hope as a franchise than they have had in the past 20 years.  I hate how people in Baltimore have adopted the Capitals and the Wizards as their home team.  We don’t live in DC, they are not our team, despite how close they are to Baltimore.  I know a lot of people who didn’t even like hockey until the Capitals became a good team.  I loved John Wall at Kentucky, but the second he was drafted by the Wizards, I hated everything about him and his stupid dance.  I loved when the Wizards had Nick Young and JaVale McGee, because they were the biggest joke in the NBA.  It pisses me off that they seem to be headed in the right direction, and will probably end up being a competitive team in the near future.

Shit is starting to get real, and that all six major sports teams in the Baltimore and DC area will be competitive for years to come.  Its time to pledge your allegiance to your city.  Baltimore vs DC, pick a side and may the best city win.  I will root my hardest for the Orioles and Ravens and when I see a DC team playing I will root against them just like I would against the Yankees or the Steelers.  This is war, civil war, battle of the beltways.  The only place Baltimore fans and DC fans should unite and become one, is when The Terps are playing.  If there is one thing we can all agree on, it is this, Duck Fuke.