Have you ever heard the reason you don't get along with another individual is because you and your foe are too much alike? Well that about sums up the Baltimore-Pittsburgh rivalry. These two cities couldn't be any more alike.
Pittsburgh and Baltimore are both cities that sit on the water, rose to economic prominence through the industrial age, almost died with its decline. Each utilized the waterfront to revitalize downtown, adding tourism as a measure of replacement for the loss of industrial income.
Part of the revival in both cities rebuilding process was the building of two new stadiums in each city. The Ravens, Orioles, Steelers and Pirates all moved into new stadiums during this rebuilding period.
Pittsburgh and Baltimore have a storied and historic football past, both well documented. The Steelers of the 70's and The Baltimore Colts of the 50's, 60's and 70's have contributed numerous Hall of Fame players and both organizations had a big hand in making the NFL what it has become today.
Today’s version of the Steelers and Ravens are almost identical in their build. Both were built on stout defenses that feature All-Pro linebackers and all-world safeties. Both now have a quarterback from a small school that has come into the league and surprised everyone with their play.
This rivalry, as stated in the headline, runs deeper than just Ravens-Steelers. Baseball played a major role in building this rivalry. The Pirates handed the Orioles two of their three World Series losses.
In 1971 Roberto Clemente led the Pirates back from a 2-0 deficit to win in seven games. In 1979, Willie Stargell, Dave Parker and the rest of the "We Are Family" gang overcame a 3-1 deficit. Pittsburgh won the last two games in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium and finished the O's in seven games again.
Deeper yet is the involvement of another city and another sport. Baltimore has never had an NHL team so the Washington Capitals have been claimed by many in the area as the team of choice. The scars from that choice run deep.
Even the NHL and HBO agree with me. Beginning on December 15th, HBO will feature the Penguins and Capitals in their 24/7 series leading up to this years Winter Classic at Heinz Field.
Baltimore did have a minor league hockey team for many years, The Baltimore Skipjacks of the American Hockey League. We served as the top affiliate for you guessed it, the Pittsburgh Penguins and then, that's right, the Washington Capitals.
Many players that went on to good and some great NHL careers came through Baltimore via both organizations.
Both cities even have distinct ways of speaking with hard dialects about their teams. "How 'bout dem O's hon" and "Yins watch the Stiller’s daday" are commonly heard around town during their respective seasons.
Growing up in "Ballmer" I know what a rivalry is and if the players refuse to use the word hate at times, I won't. I hate Pittsburgh and the fact that we haven't had a lot of success against any of their teams fuels my fire.
Making this rivalry even more heated is the fact that many from Pittsburgh migrated to Baltimore during the industrial downturn. Looking on the web there are still six Steelers fan club bars in Maryland.
Sunday's matchup with the Steelers is no different than any other. It's life or death for me, and many in Baltimore and Pittsburgh as well. I live in Florida now and see the black and gold everywhere. I guess six Super Bowls will do that for a band wagon.
There have been hundreds of memorable moments but here are my top ten moments in the Baltimore- Pittsburgh rivalry, with a little Caps-Pens thrown in to top it off. No bias here, I promise.