Saturday, January 17, 2009

I posted this on a site that I like to frequent in response to a thread that quickly turned into nothing but a load of bashing Baltimore and the Ravens and everything else.  I have probably said these things before, but I felt like saying them again, just in case someone out there doesn't understand where I am coming from.

I am a longtime Baltimore sports fan. I was born and raised a Baltimore Colts fan. I was given season tickets as a Christening gift and went to every home game from 1973-1984 sitting next to my Dad, my uncle, and my grandfather. When the Colts were taken from us, I watched all three of them wipe tears from their eyes.

I watched the Rams, the Cardinals, the Oilers, and the Raiders (twice no less) move. I watched the Bengals and the Buccaneers (as well as the other aforementioned teams) use Baltimore as leverage to get the deals they wanted from other cities. I did not hear the moral outrage when these teams shuffled across the map. I did not hear the fans in the new cities being spit on and cursed to. When the Rams moved from LA to St. Louis were the fans in St. Louis immediately vilified for having the audacity of rooting for the Rams? If they were, I sure don't recall hearing anything about it.

I watched the NFL try to shove the Redskins down our throats, thinking we would start rooting for them like good little minions. We said no. We rooted for a USFL team (that moved here from Philadelphia, but no one cared about that). We rooted for a CFL team (and the NFL wouldn't let us use name "Colts" because they knew that name was valuable).

I watched this city sell out a meaningless NFL pre-season game between the Saints and the Dolphins in 93 minutes (I still have the ticket stub). I watched the NFL put a team in Charlotte and another in Jacksonville and ignore us again. I watched as the Irsays, who as a condition of the city of Baltimore dropping their lawsuit to stop the Colts from moving to Indianapolis, agreed to vote in favor of Baltimore getting an expansion team if one was to become available, vote for Jacksonville instead of Baltimore. I watched as Tagliabue told us to take the money that was set aside for an NFL stadium and go build a museum with it.

I watched this city and its fans jump through every hoop imaginable in order to get a team the right way, and I watched this city get pissed on at every opportunity by the NFL and the other teams and cities.

Do I like the way that Baltimore got back into the NFL? No, no I don't. Do I think there was any other way we would have gotten back in? No, no I don't.

But I do think we as a city and as a fan base have paid whatever dues we should have paid in the vitriol that has been heaped on us for the last 12+ years, and we have paid more than we should have paid. Where was the hatred for Indianapolis when the Colts were taken from us? What happened to the promise made by the Irsay family that if and when Baltimore got another team that we could have back the name and the colors, then watch as the Irsay's tried to commit highway robbery for STARTING the bidding at $25 million? No matter the reason that Cleveland got to keep the name and colors, the fact is that they did. The fans of the Browns don't have to go to Canton and see Otto Graham listed as being a Baltimore Brown. We have to see Jim Parker listed as an Indianapolis Colt. And no matter WHO you root for, that sucks.

I could go on for another 9 or 10 paragraphs on this, but it doesn't matter. The minds have been made up long before reading this are not going to change. The Baltimore Ravens are going to be the team that everyone else likes to shiat on to make themselves feel better. I have to shake my head at it and sigh, because there is no longer any other way to react to it. I cannot keep getting mad at all the hate, I just have to shrug my shoulders. So go on hating us and cursing us and spitting at / on us if it makes you feel better. We're pretty much used to it by now.

Win or lose tomorrow, I will still be a Baltimore Ravens fan on Monday. If you don't like it, go fark yourself.

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