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Spitballin’

Spitballin’

New Directions

In light of the Ravens’ devastating loss to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, I have decided I can’t do this anymore. Being a Ravens fan is too swift a rollercoaster, so going forward, Spitballin’ will be about baking. The first rule of baking is you’re going to need an oven or some other heat source, maybe a blowtorch or a cinch-sack full of road flares. You will also need flour. That is everything I know about baking.

Fuck! So. How ’bout that game? This was the first game this year I made it out to. I dropped two-hundred bucks on a pair of tickets, which, in reporter money, is like eleventy-quadrillion dollars. And I bought a few beers. Earlier this month, the beer snob world was all atitter because the monks of the Westvleteren Abbey made their super-duper-awesome world’s best beer available for $85 a six-pack. What a rip! You can get a six-pack of Miller Lite cans at Ravens Stadium for only $45.

So basically I mortgaged my son’s future so I could go sit under a gray sky and watch the Ravens get beaten so badly, rented mules were calling Protective Services on their behalf. It started so wonderfully. Manning and the Broncos went three and out, and the Ravens started to move the ball. Well, until third and one when Joe Flacco coughed up that fumble. You know what? It’s too hard. Going forward, Spitballin’ is going to be a financial column; henceforth, I will share with you my wisdom about improving your portfolio.

Make sure to keep $20 in your sock when you travel and always bet on black. That is all that I know about finances. Damn it, back to the game. The Ravens defense—despite being so injury-depleted that people who managed to get out of Baltimore jury duty this week instead had to play middle linebacker—managed to hang tough in the first half. But Joe Flacco couldn’t hit a trailer park with a tornado and the offense was a model of ineptitude. The Ravens went nearly the entire first half with but a single first down before finally coming alive on their last drive. Oh, that last drive!

Flacco hit Jacoby Jones for a big 43-yard bomb down the sideline, Ray Rice looked like he was getting untracked, Flacco finally got Torrey Smith into the game, and the Ravens had first and goal from the 4 with 30 seconds left and all their timeouts remaining. It was going to be all right, we’d wake up, Bobbie Ewing would be in the shower, and this whole nightmare called December would be proven just a dream. But as time ticked away, Flacco didn’t call timeout. They didn’t try to punch the ball in, they rushed to the line, and Flacco, who missed more targets than Stevie Wonder at an archery contest, underthrew Anquan Boldin. Broncos cornerback Chris Harris cut under Boldin, snatched Flacco’s ugly ball and galloped 98 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. It was a 17-point swing and the boos began to cascade down the walls of M&T Bank Stadium. You know what, it’s too difficult. I don’t think I can write about sports anymore.

From here on, Spitballin’ will be a column dedicated to everything I know about amateur astronomy. Astronomy—from the Dutch word, “astronomy,” which literally translated means “tulip tender of the sky”—is an ancient activity dating back to the mid-1960s. Oh, and that big yellow thing in the sky? That’s not a moon, it’s a space station. Damn it, that’s all I got. I guess sports it is.

So there is good news, I guess. The Ravens are in the playoffs for the fifth-straight year. That’s the longest streak in football, and something to be proud of. Of course, how they got in, less so. The Ravens were 9-2 and sitting on top of the world. The Ravens had never lost two in a row under John Harbaugh. Now, they’ve lost three in a row including back-to-back games right here in Charm City. The team has lost the city. Throughout the second half, fans left in droves. (This intrepid reporter stuck it out, mostly because I had to finish that $7.50 Miller Lite.) And the once-daunting homefield advantage enjoyed by the Ravens seems suddenly shaky. Baltimore is 9-5, with another Manning coming to town next week. Ain’t the coffee cold?

Heading into the playoffs with a patchwork linebacking core, a decimated secondary, and an underachieving defensive line, the Ravens defense scares no one (well, except for Ravens fans). Flacco’s mechanics have gone to hell and he suddenly looks like a shaky high school quarterback. To call the offensive line porous would be an insult to porous things (pumice, I am sorry if I’ve offended you), and new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell has yet to shake the jitters. Throw in rumors that coach John Harbaugh has lost the team, and the playoffs look more like a sentence than a celebration. You know what, it’s so ugly, I don’t even want to think about it. From here on out, Spitballin’ will be a column about the art of making love.

Always limber up and watch where you put your elbows. And that’s all I know about doing it.

Are you into sports? Like, really into them? Do you and your friends have a bi-monthly badminton club? Are you the baddest beater on your local club Quidditch team? Have you been the commissioner of Baltimore’s premier fantasy foosball league? Spitballin’ wants to know. Contact Jim at spitballin@citypaper.com and let him know about the bizzaro underbelly of Baltimore sports, and your story may appear in Spitballin’! But please, no water sports.

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