Rivalries make the sports world that much more exciting. The New York Yankees have the Boston Red Sox. Ohio State has Michigan. Duke has North Carolina. CC Sabathia has his nutritionist. There is, however, one rivalry that is starting to head to the top of that list: the Baltimore Ravens vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, but lately, Baltimore has completely owned Pittsburgh.
Things got off to a crazy start during the NFL’s opening day. The Ravens hosted the Steelers in early September, only to embarrass Pittsburgh with a score of 35-7. They wouldn’t face each other again until early November in Pittsburgh. This time, things were much closer, but thanks to a Joe Flacco touchdown pass to Torrey Smith with eight seconds left, Baltimore prevailed 23-20, earning the season sweep.
With baseball season in full swing, the Orioles have been spending the majority of their time atop the AL East. Thanks to interleague play, the O’s were able to face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Like the O’s, the Pirates have been mired in their own mediocrity, having not made the playoffs since they lost in the NLCS in 1992. Though neither team has had great success in recent history, both are now in the top two in their respective divisions, and anytime a team from Pittsburgh plays a Baltimore team, it’s always fun.
This time, the Orioles did the Ravens proud, as the O’s swept the three-game series from the Pirates. All three Baltimore starters earned wins—Wei-Yin Chen, Jake Arrieta, and Tommy Hunter picked up the W during each of their starts.
If that wasn’t enough, Baltimore finally saw the return of Brian Roberts for the first time in over a year. Roberts, suffering from concussion symptoms, made an immediate impact, going 3 for 4 during his first game back and also driving in a run. Things certainly had not looked good this winter, as Roberts skipped Fan Fest due to doctor’s orders requesting he stay away from all of the bright lights and loud crowd noise.
The O’s have a three game series against the New York Mets before hosting the Washington Nationals starting on Friday night. Baltimore played Washington last month and took two of three from the NL-East-leading Nats. This weekend series should prove to be an interesting one, but no matter what happens from here on out, for one season, Baltimore owns Pittsburgh.
by Andy Mindzak