So for the past four years, I have received a scholarship from the Baltimore County Foundation because they are awesome and let me apply even though I don’t like in Baltimore County. Every year, they have this really nice luncheon at M&T Bank Stadium–home of the Baltimore Ravens. And every year, they have a Raven player come speak. This was the first year we actually got an autograph and picture (Hey, we’re Steelers fans. So sue us). Now, I was busy getting pictures taken so I didn’t actually meet him but based on what my parents said, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a huge difference between being a Raven and an Oriole (Yeah, not a big shocker here).
The first year I received this scholarship, Matt Burke had just signed with the team and came to speak. I thought this was kind of stupid since he wasn’t known as a Raven (He has just come from the Vikings) and he didn’t have the same connection with us as the audience as a solidified player would have. I’m not saying he was a bad speaker. I’m just saying that it wasn’t a good choice on the behalf of whoever st this up. He seemed like a nice guy. But he seemed more like a politician than a football player in that way that politicians just seem kind of not shady but looking for positive publicity with nothing but big smiles and white teeth.
The second year, they brought Chris Carr to talk. Let me start off with this: he is so cute and small. That being said, I really think he was probably my favorite out of all of speakers. He was clearly not a good choice to be a speaker because he just wasn’t comfortable up there but he just seemed real compared to the rest. He used a lot of personal stories that was really nice but he was just not a very at talking in front of a large group like that. It’s just one of those things that you are either good at or you are not and this wasn’t his forte.
Last year, thanks to the lockout, we had a former Raven as the speaker, Matt Stover. Last year’s speech was good. He has a gift for speaking. It was a nice little speech about working hard and having a greater purpose or something. I don’t really remember it because I’m always a little miserable there (I don’t like pictures or small talk). The only thing I really remember was thinking that he is very good at being in front of people.
This year, he came again to present (I swear I am getting to the point of this part). Once again, he was a very good speaker but, this year, I think his true self came through. He talked a lot about the working hard and working without having to be asked to and making good decisions. He talked a lot about having faith in God (He does prove my point that Tebow is not the only religious one in the NFL so we can all shut up about him). Then he started talking about his family. He was kind of condescending about…everything.
Apparently, wherever he’s from, they did not have lacrosse because he was kind of snotty about not learning about it until he moved to Maryland (Even though his daughter is going to college to play it). Then he started talking about his daughter, who is heading to college in the fall, and how he put back an entire year’s salary to pay for college and about scholarships. Okay, let me cry for you having enough money to pay for college with one year’s salary and having the opportunity to be able to put back an entire year’s salary to pay for your kids’ college. And while I’m at it, let me cry for your kids not having to need scholarships. That’s cool your kids have all that while I’m always trying to figure out how I’m going to pay off all my loans and be able to afford books each semester. I’m not bitter because I have been given a lot but when you are speaking to a group of people who have worked hard but don’t have enough means, don’t be all, “Yeah, my kids get everything.” Then again, he did start being a little mean about his son not having proper study habits in his eyes.
Then my parents went to get his autograph (I wanted to get it for Michael and his family because they are Ravens fans. Yes, I know. I may have poor judgment in picking my boyfriend). They said that he was nice but came off as very arrogant. He was about to not sign the autograph because he “needed to head out,” when my mama told him otherwise. Let’s just say, she got her way and my daddy took a picture with him (Guess what Steelers fan now has a Raven in his picture? It’s so wrong). However, it was nice of him to talk semi-pro football with my daddy and be respectful towards different levels of the game (Mostly because I know that the Frederick Falcons would beat the Ravens…especially if the played dirty).
Now, being a lifelong Orioles fan, I’ve met my far share of Birds. So, I’m just going to name a few experiences. We’ll start with Rick Dempsey. He is my all-time favorite player ever and I absolutely love him. That’s why when the MASN broadcast booth was still in the left field area, we went over to see him a few times. He was so good with the public. He told one guy where he buys all of his ties; he talked to the people in the crowd; he waited to get to me last because I’d been waiting so long and took a picture with me and gave me an autograph and everything. When he coached first base, he always gave the kids candy and let me tell you, he has given me quite a lot of candy in my life.
When I met Boog Powell, he offered to take a picture before I even asked. My daddy told him about my old internship where I recapped O’s games and he was legitimately interested. We talked about basketball (He liked Duke 🙂 ). I mean, how many people can say they’ve talked to Boog Powell about Duke basketball? That was seriously one of the coolest moments ever. He was so nice and he hugged me. I’m just saying a Raven has never hugged me…though I’m not sure I would want to be hugged by any.
Back when FanFest used to be held at the OPACY and more fan friendly, we met quite a few Orioles. Jay Payton, Nick Markakis, Chris Ray, Jaime Walker, Aubrey Huff, Luke Scott (okay, bad example. He wasn’t super friendly), and Adam Jones have all basically been accepted as friends of ours–even if they don’t know it. Jay Payton and my mama sang Electric Avenue together. Nick Markakis signed his number to his card so my little cousin (then maybe 6 at the time) would know that it was his autograph. Chris Ray and my daddy carried on a nice conversation about his fastball (This was right before we traded him). Jaime Walker and Chris Ray, both, carried on nice conversation with me and my mama. Aubrey Huff called my mama “babe” and asked me if I thought Nicky was dreamy (That is never a word I would use). Adam Jones signed autographs for Devin and my dad when he was supposed to be heading to the dugout. They have all been very open and friendly and very fan oriented as far as I can tell. And as far as I’m concerned, if you are going to be in the public eye like that, you’d better play nice with just about everyone, but especially those in your town and state.
Now, I know I’m making harsh generalizations but it seems to me that even though the Ravens get so much more attention because they are better, the Orioles are the ones who are more fan friendly. Players from both teams do a lot for the community. Ray Lewis and Ray Rice and I think, Joe Flacco, do a lot of community work. Adam Jones, Nicky, Brian Roberts, and Jake Arrieta do a lot of work with their respective foundations, OriolesReach, and trying to clean up the Bay. I realize that players from both teams can be douches and both can be really nice but I just think that there needs to be a little more perspective on who is nicer. I appreciate everything the Ravens have done for me and what they do for everyone else in conjunction with the BCF. I’m just stating the facts as I have experienced. And, of course, I may be a little biased by my love for the Steelers and the O’s. But hey, it’s what I’ve known.