It’s always a rather prickly “homecoming” when the Indianapolis Colts play in Baltimore as they will this afternoon. For those who don’t remember (or weren’t even born yet), back in the 1980s, the then Baltimore Colts under owner Bob Irsay gave the city of Baltimore the old “Irish goodbye,” leaving the city in the middle of the night in Mayflower trucks and moving the team to the greener pastures (no pun intended—okay—it was intended) of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Being a Hoosier, I couldn’t be more thrilled that the Colts came to Indiana. Their arrival brought me not only a team I now cheer for enthusiastically as my hometown favorite but much success as well. The highlight, of course, was the Colts Super Bowl win.
Since then, when it comes to the Colts, Baltimore’s citizens are to this day chronically bitter. They still aren’t over the Irish goodbye they received, but why? To me, it’s the best way to go. You avoid all those awkward moments when no one knows quite what to say and all the fights and crying that might follow. Just leave and move on.
That doesn’t mean I don’t kind of understand where the Balties (or whatever people in Baltimore call themselves) are coming from. They definitely ended up on the short end on this one.
Indianapolis got the Colts with the horseshoe, symbolic of good luck, as its mascot. Now they even have a quarterback named Luck to add to the magic.
What did Baltimore get? For a while, they got nothing. Years went by as they bitterly complained about their team leaving. Finally, they got a new team (by stealing it away from poor Cleveland—another reason I don’t feel a bit sorry for them), and what is their mascot?
Of all the inspiring or motivationally uplifting mascots they could have chosen, they chose instead to “honor” one of their most famous residents, Edgar Allen Poe, whose life was featured mostly by alcoholism, financial ruin, and never ending mourning for his dead wife. All that misery inspired him to write some very grim poems including The Raven for which Baltimore’s football team is named. To make matters worse, the actual mascots are three birds named . . . wait for it . . . Edgar, Allen and Poe—really?
Being born in Kentucky, maybe I’m biased about horses, but I find them strong, fast, and majestic. Even their shoes represent magic and luck. Birds? They’re okay, but about the only time I really think about them is when one of them tries to eat my lunch when I’m having an otherwise pleasant meal outdoors or worse yet—relieves himself on my car windshield.
Even those birds are better than Baltimore’s mascot. In the poem, the Raven visits a man who is mourning the loss of the love of his life. He hopes to reunite with her someday. Instead, this nasty bird shows up and haunts him. That’s exactly what you want in a mascot, right? I don’t think so.
I predict the Colts will add another bitter chapter to Baltimore Ravens history by winning today and that all those Baltimore fans who are still mad that the Colts left years ago will have even more to choke on when the game clock ticks down to zero.
Will Baltimore fans ever find reason to let bygones be bygones when it comes to the Colts? To quote Poe, my prediction is “Nevermore.”