This blog posting might seem like a contradiction since I’m writing daily about What I like about Washington, DC, yet today’s topic is Baltimore. As I’ve tried to do every day this month, I’m writing daily about DC but I don’t have set schedule of topics. And, since the Baltimore Orioles are in town to play the Washington Nationals, I’m writing B-more, or “Charm City.” Plus, this the beauty of blogging … it’s one’s random thoughts … and there’s no right or wrong.
Baltimore is only 45 minutes from DC — it’s an easy scoot up and down the BW Parkway. It is interesting and fascinating to compare and contrast Baltimore and DC. This is probably being too general, but DC is characterized as full of intellectuals, policy wonks, conceited, wine-sipping folks while B-more is characterized as being more blue-collar, beer-drinking and simple folks. It’s not fair to lump people in these buckets but that’s how it’s often written — especially in comparing the Sports fans of each city.
My first trips to B-more were to see the great Orioles teams of the 80’s in the legendary Memorial Stadium. So many wonderful memories of the O’s and two of my favorite all-time players, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken. The other early memories are the Inner Harbor, which is still thriving and my favorite place to eat there … Little Italy. Love the classic, authentic Italian food available in that quaint neighborhood.
In the early 90’s, the Birds built the historic stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, that was a complete game-changer for MLB. It was the first retro MLB park built … many others have copied the style but this one was the first. I still love that park.
Back in ’95, we tried something new at AOL Sports … covering baseball games online via chat rooms (which we called cyber-casting). We weren’t really sure what we were doing but this was the beginning of being more interactive with the fans. We set up in the broadcast booth of HTS, the TV partner of the Orioles. We took questions from AOL members and fed them to the O’s announcers — Mel Proctor, Jim Palmer, John Lowenstein, etc. The highlight was covering the game in Sept ’95 when Cal Ripken broke the consecutive games streak of Lou Gehrig. I recall that I stopped typing in the booth and just watched Cal circle the park — with tears of joy streaming down my face.
They’ve also built a beautiful NFL Stadium, home of the Ravens. So, they have two terrific stadiums side-by-side near the Inner Harbor. It’s a fantastic place to visit.
One of my key clients is Under Armour. They are headquartered in Baltimore. I work at their office one day a week — so it’s put me back into regular contact with a terrific American city. It offers so much history and tradition. So, if you’re visiting DC and have the opportunity, go check out Baltimore. It’s also to get there via Amtrak or MARC trains. It’ll be worth the time to visit this excellent city.