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101 Feature

Sporty Spice

Finding a good game to watch in Baltimore, or a good game to get in

Photo: Michael Northrup, License: N/A, Created: 2005:05:12 03:45:03

Michael Northrup

A view from the press box at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Photo: Jefferson Jackson Steele, License: N/A, Created: 2010:05:04 20:37:29

Jefferson Jackson Steele

Stevenson University

Photo: Jefferson Jackson Steele, License: N/A, Created: 2010:05:05 03:20:37

Jefferson Jackson Steele

Towson University


So, Baltimore = Ravens and Orioles. Well, yes and no. The stadiumland just southeast of downtown is home to two big-time pro teams with huge local followings (although you can’t always tell from the empty seats at Os games). But there are more sports to follow around here, and we’re not talking about the Redskins and Nationals.

Baltimore Ravens: It’s safe to say that the Ravens have taken over as the city’s totem team. They have that punch-the-other-guy-in-the-mouth attack on defense and a certain linebacker named Ray Lewis who still hits with the best of them. Their inner-division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, have helped produce memorable games between the two, some of which have been in the pivotal playoff season, most notably the 2008 season when the Steelers defeated the Ravens in the AFC Championship game.

The Ravens (formerly the Cleveland Browns) are a young team in Baltimore—established in 1996—but have a 2001 Superbowl championship on the mantle and remain a playoff threat most seasons. You’re gonna find no shortage of fellow Ravens fans, though getting in to see an actual game at M&T Bank Stadium is easier said than done. Many games sell out, and the cheapest nosebleed seats can go for $60 or more. Nobody ever said winning was cheap.

Baltimore Orioles: Don’t get us started. The Os (and the team’s iconic field at Camden Yards) have been a part of Baltimore life for decades, and they were a good team once, with three World Series titles to their name. Unfortunately, they haven’t been pennant contenders for years. True, it’s not easy to compete with divisional juggernauts such as the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, and the emerging Tampa Bay Rays, but the Os just haven’t played up to par.

The upside to the team’s long lackluster streak is cheap and plentiful tickets. The most expensive single-game ticket for the Orioles seems to be $10, which is around where individual tickets for many Ravens games start. You can still get upper-deck tickets at Os games for $24 and have plenty of elbow room for yourself. The Orioles started out the season on fire, with a big pickup of Vladimir Guerrero as their designated hitter fueling hopes, but have sputtered into last place since then. Still, Camden Yards is a great place to take in a game.

Baltimore Blast: Baltimore doesn’t have a major-league soccer team but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any soccer to be watched. The Baltimore Blast is an indoor soccer team with tickets ranging from $16 to $30, so even those on a strict budget can afford to go to one of the team’s home games.

Roller Derby: It doesn’t make much sense to try to explain the rules to this sport, because they may not make much sense, truth be told. But if you enjoy contact and speed and women mixing it up, you will enjoy it. What’s not to enjoy? Even better, the tickets are dirt cheap. General admission for an adult (i.e., older than 12) is only $12. To learn more go to charmcityrollergirls.com.

And of course, there are the sports teams of the various local schools, from the JHU ’Jays to the Morgan State Bears to the Towson Tigers, and we can’t presume to tell you much about your own alma mater’s athletics programs. If you’re into more than just watching sports, many area schools offer intramural leagues, so you can join one of those or get together with a group of buds to shoot some hoops. If you want more options, however, a quick Google search will give you pages of them. The closest thing for one-stop shopping may be baltimore.sportsvite.com/leagues, which shows many different leagues offered throughout Baltimore, from popular sports like softball, football, and soccer to dodgeball, kickball, bowling, Ultimate Frisbee and many more.

Whether you love to feel your body gasp for air after catching the game-winning touchdown or you just like to sit back and watch the pros do it, Baltimore can satisfy your sports cravings.

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