Hi. I am Mark, and I am the next Baltimore Sports Media Superstar here on WNST.net. I hope you will agree. We were asked to do a “sports life story” as part of our entry for the competition. I’d like to share part of my submission with you as an introduction to who I am, why I care about Baltimore sports, and why you should help choose me to take up a place alongside your trusted voices.
If you’re lucky, you get set up for a life-long passion for sports before your life even begins. I am fortunate in this way. My mom and dad were among the crowd of 52,132 at Memorial Stadium for Game 2 of the 1983 World Series. I was there as well, though not counted in the attendance. Mom was 8 months pregnant at the time. The Orioles won that day 4-1 and, of course, went on to win the World Series. A month later I came into the world and I’ve loved the Orioles ever since. They haven’t been back to that point in my lifetime. I am told this is a coincidence, though sometimes I wonder.
Being born when I was meant that for most of my early years, the Orioles were the only game in town. I was so excited the first time that I ever got to go to Memorial Stadium that I hardly stopped talking from the time we got in the car to head into the stadium. That day we were seated next to the visiting team’s dugout. One player – Ron Kittle of the White Sox, I will never forget – was so exasperated with my constant chatter that he came over to the railing and said, “Hey kid, why don’t you shut up and buy me a beer?” Mortified, I stopped talking for the rest of the day. I still owe Kittle that beer. He might be chagrined to learn that I have kept on talking after all.
I was raised on stories about the old glory days of the Orioles. My dad had an endless supply of things to say about not just the Orioles who have made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but also the guys who probably only a Baltimore fan would care about. Boog and the Blade, McNally and Cuellar, Tippy and Dennis Martinez, Roenicke and Lowenstein and everyone in between. Dad is among the hundreds of thousands who claim to have been in the park to witness that Doug DeCinces walk-off home run that everyone agrees was the birth of Orioles Magic. He may have even been there.
The Colts were just as important to my dad, and I have heard all about those days, too, but the early days of my life had either no football in town or Canadian football. I even went to a couple of games of the short-lived Baltimore Stallions. There was nothing to compare it against in my memory, but I could tell something was missing. The Ravens became my team as soon as they came into town. There was never any doubt about it: whatever team claims for its home the city I love is my team. They have grown on me. Once a distant second to their Camden Yards neighbors, I now find myself so invested in the Ravens that to this day I can’t think about them without remembering the pain of watching that Lee Evans dropped pass and the Billy Cundiff missed field goal.
I am the best choice to be the next Baltimore sports media superstar because I have the talent to leverage this life-long passion into something that is unique on the Baltimore sports media landscape.