The Washington Times - July 18, 2008, 12:05PM

You would think given the fact that newsprint is expensive and there is limited space in newspapers these days, The Baltimore Examiner would think of better things to do with their space than to run a debate over which one — Washington or Baltimore — was the better sports town. This is known as filler in the business, like the Man on the Street question, something to full the space when you have nothing intelligent or noteworthy to contribute. This “debate” certainly fits that description. A more apt comparison might have been Baltimore vs. Buffalo, or maybe Scranton.

Consider the fact that the two writers who attempted to make the case for Baltimore were operating from a false premise right from the start. Of course, they go right to the ballpark debate — Nationals Park vs. Camden Yards — and present the case that Camden Yards is a tribute to the old ballparks and so much better than Nationals Park. Well, that is not because of anyone from Baltimore. Camden Yards exists because of two WASHINGTON lawyers — the late Edward Bennett Williams, who owned the team and pushed for the new ballpark, and Larry Lucchino, the president of the franchise at the time who was the driving force behind the vision of Camden Yards. If it had been up to the great minds in Baltimore, you would have had Cafe Hon Field and Crab Shack in Dundalk.


Then they make fun of the Washington Capitals, probably the best run franchise in either city and the one with the brightest future and the buggest star in Alex Ovechkin. This from a city that couldn’t even support minor league hockey, and where indoor soccer was considered a major sporting event. The so-called debate also takes umbrage with the notion that Washingnton tries to claim a stronger allegiance to University of Maryland sports than Baltimore. I know this may be difficult for anyone with a Baltimore education, but can’t they read a map? Where do they think College Park is, next to Arbutus? They can, though, pledge their allegiance to nearby UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County). They’ve got a heck of a chess team.

Their shots at Jack Kent Cooke include making fun of FedEx Field, calling it “an erector set for a stadium.” That may be, but at least Cooke built it himself and didn’t steal money from taxpayers the way Baltimore did to use public money to pay for its football stadium. Which brings us to their most pathetic attempt to justify such a debate — claiming that D.C. “stole” the Montreal Expos, which supposedly means Washington “can’t cast judgment on Baltimore for stealing the Browns.”

Now, let me explain this in terms Baltimore can understand — there are degrees of crime, first degree assault, second degree, etc. A franchise that had not had an owner for five years in Montreal and couldn’t find one, and that was drawing 9,000 fans a game is hardly the same degree as paying an existing owner to leave behind the most devoted fan base in America and their 70,000 fans every Sunday, which is what Baltimore did to Cleveland. Live with the guilt. This is an unpardonable sin. Life without parole. Next time, find a city that you can measure up to a little better — like Toledo, for example.