Baseball’s American League Championship Series (ALCS) begins Friday. And, I know you’re rooting for the Kansas City Royals, but hear me out.
Baltimore is a fine, fine city, and the Baltimore Orioles are a fine, fine ballclub. There’s plenty of room on the train to Birdland and I’ve saved you a seat!
I checked StubHub Wednesday morning and Standing Room tickets for Friday’s game at beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards can be yours for just $98 a ticket. Looking for standing room tickets to Monday’s game at Kauffman Stadium in KC? $196.
(Dear Slowpoke, all those “cheap” “seats” are now gone.)
Baltimore is the birthplace of Babe Ruth.
They built Camden Yards – and centerfield – over the spot where he lived. He is the greatest baseball player ever.
Born in Kansas City? David Cone.
Advantage, do I need to spell this out?
Hint, it starts with a B, as in Babe.
Here are a few more things in Baltimore’s favor.
America’s first professional sports organization was born in Baltimore in 1743 – the Maryland Jockey Club.
The first hot air balloon to go up in the air with a person in a basket? 1784. Baltimore.
The first sugar refinery (1796), the first electric refrigerator (1803), and the first ice cream freezer (1848). All Baltimore. Yes, thank Baltimore next time you wolf down an entire container of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie with an oversized tablespoon after a crappy day at work. (What? Just me?)
Baltimore. Baltimore. Baltimore.
You know that song Kansas City? There’s this famous lyric:
I’m gonna be standing on the corner
12th Street and Vine
With my Kansas City baby
And a bottle of Kansas City wine
Guess what? There’s no corner of 12th Street and Vine. The roads don’t meet.
Nice song, though.
Still, it’s no National Anthem.
Stay for the “OH!” at the 1:05 mark.
And, let’s not forget … there’s Dancing in the Streets in Baltimore, baby!
Baltimore, Maryland is known for Old Bay seasoning and Maryland crabs. Kansas City is known for barbeque that is sweet and saucy.
Hey, I’m a vegetarian, you’re going to have to score this one yourself.
It was in Kansas City that Walt Disney dreamed up Mickey Mouse. It was in Baltimore that David Simon dreamed up The Wire.
I’m sure that Kansas City is a lovely place. Although, most of it lives in Missouri, not Kansas, which seems a bit shady, if you ask me.
Still, Kansas City is home to the first suburban shopping center – The Plaza. Kansas City’s Swope Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country – more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park.
If it weren’t for Kansas City we wouldn’t have Teflon-coated frying pans and electric hair clippers. Really. Those are really important things.
I mentioned that Baltimore gave us ice cream freezers, didn’t I?
Both cities have rich baseball histories.
The Baltimore Orioles have been a part of baseball – in one iteration or another – since the late 1800s. In just the past 40-odd years, these greats have played for Baltimore: Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Mike Flanagan, Mike Mussina, and Cal Ripken.
The Royals’ long and storied baseball history began in 1969, as an expansion team. It has its share of greats, too, I’m sure. Like George Brett and outfield-wall-climbing Bo Jackson. I’m sure there have been others.
The Royals have a big, lovable lion mascot named Sluggerrr.
The Orioles have a big, loveable oriole bird mascot named … um … I think he’s just called The Bird.
Both, awfully cute. Battle of the Mascots … Tie.
Both cities celebrate baseball’s history. Baltimore has the Babe Ruth Museum. Kansas City has the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and considers itself the birthplace of the Negro leagues. Both cities honor baseball well. They both win on that count.
Hooray for history!
So, does one team deserve to win more than the other?
The Royals last won the World Series in 1985. The Orioles in 1983.
Both are underdogs. Small-market teams that are regularly bullied by teams with far bigger payrolls (Tigers, Yankees). Both were expected to finish last (or nearly last) by almost every baseball “expert” this spring. Both are hard-working and drama-free. Both have excited, fired-up, feisty fans.
Really, both are deserving.
But, wait. Before you pull on that Royal blue sweatshirt.
I can’t promise you a puppy … or Stevie …
Not for sale.
But, there is this …
America loves an underdog, right? Who doesn’t?
Let’s look at the map again.
Nearly everyone in America is rooting for the Kansas City Royals.
So, who’s the underdog?
“I think it helped being the underdogs. It’s just going to get more fun.” ~ Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy
Let’s all have fun.
Ahh, who am I kidding?
May the underdog Orioles have a little bit more fun.
Let’s Go O’s!
Photo: J.J. Hardy. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland. Royals at Orioles. April 27, 2014.