The city of Baltimore is a blue-collar town. Depending on where you go, Baltimore is an ideal place to live. If you go to Camden Yards or M & T Bank Stadium, a family can have a pleasant time together.
If you go to Western Baltimore, not so much. If you don't know, West Baltimore is a drug-infested murder zone. The same city that has produced Babe Ruth, Carmelo Anthony, Muggsy Bogues, Francis Scott Key, Cal Ripken Jr., and DMX also sees a murder a day...sometimes more.
Last year, Baltimore had 234 murders, down from 282 in 2007. However, despite Baltimore (specifically West) being a lot smaller than New York City and Los Angeles, Baltimore has more murders.
One thing Baltimore takes pride in is sports. Before the Ravens, there were the Baltimore Colts, who won four NFL Championships. In the glory days, the Colts were a sound defensive team led by Johnny Unitas.
From 1956 to 1972, Unitas starred with the Colts, going 119-63-4 as a starter, winning all four of the teams championships.
But in 1984, the city of Baltimore was surprised when the team left Baltimore for Indianapolis, becoming the team we know as the Indianapolis Colts. Some Baltimore residents old enough to remember are still bitter about the move. They felt betrayed.
Another team the city takes pride in is the Baltimore Orioles. Not many O's fans know the team existed from 1882 to 1899, winning three National League Championships.
But, the team folded in 1899 and became the New York Highlanders, who became the New York Yankees in 1913. But the O's returned, in a short 55 years.
In 1954, Browns owner Bill Veeck moved his Browns to Baltimore to revive the O's. The O's flirted with mediocrity until 1960, when they finished 89-65.
Under the tutelage of manager Hank Bauer, the O's won the World Series in 1966 and also won in 1970 with Earl Weaver and 1983 with Joe Altobelli.
The O's haven't had a winning season and attendance is plummeting, but that can be attributed to one man and one man only: owner Peter Angelos. While Baltimore loves their athletes, they can not stand Angelos, a one-man wrecking crew.
In 1996, the Baltimore Ravens came to town and Baltimore finally had football. Immediately, Baltimore residents gravitated towards the team and the Ravens have been quite good.
They 114-104-1 in 13 seasons in the city and have won one Super Bowl - in 2000. This year, the Ravens were 11-5 and advanced to the AFC Championship, but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 23-14.
Baltimore has its problems. They have crime. They have horrible school systems. But we take pride in our city like any other. We take pride in our teams like any other. If you go to YouTube, you see people get in arguments that escalate at the snap of a finger.
One minute, they're debating whether Peyton is better than Brady and the next, they're in a cuss-each other-out battle. In Baltimore sports videos on the site, Steelers fans constantly comment on the city of Baltimore. The crime, the schools.
They call it a s***hole. Literally. They call it a depressing town. It's YouTube, they call it whatever they want.
Baltimore is the city so many Maryland residents have come to love. A place to go watch a ballgame. A place to go to the Hard Rock Cafe, Barnes & Noble, Baltimore Aquarium, the Harbor.
There are many attractions that make Baltimore a great city. But people constantly attack the crime. Heck, O's slugger Aubrey Huff had the audacity to call Baltimore a s***hole city just days before Opening Day last season.
It's the same deal with cities like Detroit, Philadelphia and Miami. Go there before you attack it. Philadelphia, Detroit, Miami and Baltimore are partially poverty riddled cities with a great appreciation for their sports teams.
Detroit has the Lions, Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers. Why I mentioned the Lions first is beyond me. Philadelphia has the Eagles, Flyers, 76ers and Phillies.
Miami has the Heat and Dolphins and despite not reaching glory in some time, they are proud of their teams and have many other clubs surrounding them, such as the Florida Gators, Florida Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, etc.
We are envious of our athletes. We love Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Ed Reed, Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts and just about every Raven or Oriole besides Sidney Ponson. Look it up.
So when I see comments on a Ray Lewis video calling him a murderer, I know that fan wouldn't have the audacity to utter such words if Ray played for them. See, we Baltimore fans are loyal.
We stick through our players, through thick and thin. So when I hear a Steelers fan say Ravens fans are "classless," it becomes clear to me they've never met a TRUE Raven fan.
And when a Yankees fan says that, it becomes clear they have it backwards, considering the fact Yankees fans raid Camden Yards to show their true colors. Their true colors I would express, but I might get in trouble.
If someone wants to call Baltimore fans classless or Baltimore a s***hole city, I'd rather hear it from someone who has actually been to Baltimore. It's clear those YouTube members have never been to Baltimore.
Critique my team, fine. But don't you dare critique my city. The same $relates to Philadelphia. In a Yahoo Answers sample where a user asked "What's wrong with Philadelphia's Sports Fans?" a clearly intelligent user claimed "they're mad."
He exhibits brilliant spelling and shows he is certainly qualified to talk. In other words, he is a Cowboys, Mets, Redskins, Nationals or Marlins fan.
A typical "knowledgeable" sports fan who doesn't care for Philadelphia teams are quick to point out the infamous snowball incident that occurred 40 years ago. The same people who adopt the "you don't know me, don't judge me" attitude assume the role of the Philadelphia sports fan basher. Hypocrisy, just maybe?
One of my best friends, James Williamson, claims that if he were to wear his Dallas Cowboys No. 24 Marion Barber jersey to Philly, he would get shot. A tad extreme, don't ya think? In reality, Philadelphia fans are passionate. They care about their team and care about their performance. If they don't win, they are mad. What do you expect?
Now, I don't like Redskins fans. You might think I'm a hypocrite for writing this. But that renders your point invalid considering pretty much every fan I know personally is nuts for the Skins.
They are obnoxious. I can handle obnoxious. But they aren't nearly as passionate as Philly and Baltimore fans. Yet, they attack Philly and Baltimore for it's inner danger. Why? They're jealous...and scared.
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