An Outsider's Ode to Baltimore
I’ve never lived in Baltimore. The longest time I’ve ever spent there is four days, yet every time I visit (which isn’t nearly enough), it feels like I’m going back home.
Baltimore never tries to do too much.
It knows what it is…
It’s cozy. At about 620,000 people, it’s the smallest of all the major Northeast cities, but that makes it more personal. The people are friendly. Being at an O’s game feels like a giant family reunion.
It’s walkable. Having stadiums downtown within walking distance of everything brings a vibrancy and excitement to the city, unlike putting them on the edge of the city, far from everything.
It has character. Like Boston, New York, Philly, and D.C., Baltimore has different sections of the city that each have their own quirks and personalities.
It doesn’t forget. It celebrates its history and reveres its heroes.
…and it knows what it’s not…
It’s not huge. It’s not New York or Philly. It’s like a big village, where everyone is somehow connected to everyone else and the city shares a collective existence.
It’s not perfect. Every city has crime and problems. Unfortunately, when one of the greatest television shows of all time revolves around the issues in your city, it’s hard for some to see anything else.
It’s not any other city. It embraces itself, both good and bad, and doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is. It’s Baltimore, for better or worse, take it or leave it. If only every city was like that.
But, in the end, it’s all about the people.
The people are what make Baltimore what it is and they’ve made this site what it is. They’re passionate and loyal. I wrote an NBA column for a website in a city that does not have an NBA team and people that told me they weren’t basketball fans read it every week. Why? “To support you,” they told me. That’s special. Yes, that passion can be a bit much and can get a little annoying when everyone in the city is having a conniption over a one-run loss in May or a missed call on second down in the first quarter in Week 3, but it’s that same passion that enabled this site to flourish and become the best blog in town. That’s what Baltimore does. That’s what Baltimore is.
Thank you, Baltimore. Your support has been invaluable to me and I will continue to return the favor for as long as I live. I love you.
Christopher Pierznik is the author of six books, all of which can be purchased in Paperback, Kindle, and Nook. A former feature contributor and managing editor of I Hate JJ Redick, he has also written for XXL, Please Don’t Stare, Amusing My Bouche, Reading & Writing is for Dumb People, A Series of Very Bad Decisions, and others. He works in finance and spends his evenings changing diapers and drinking craft beer. He once applied to be a cast member on The Real World, but was rejected. You can like his Facebook page here, follow him on Twitter here, and Tumblr here.