I don’t want a civil war in here. I don’t mean to split the bar in half, with purple over here and orange over there. But this question was eating at me last night. And I’m curious. So, humor me. We won’t hold this against you next September.
I want to know which Baltimore professional sports franchise – the Orioles or the Ravens – has the brighter immediate future. Say, over the next three or four years.
It’s a fascinating question to me. When the Ravens first started here they were an extension of the bumbling Cleveland Browns while the Orioles, a star-studded group, made the playoffs in 1996 and went wire-to-wire to win the American League East in 1997.
Then it all fell apart for the Orioles, and the new kids on the block quickly began making Baltimore a football town again.
Before my first season covering the Orioles – in the 2000-01 offseason — I was asked to temporarily follow the Ravens during their first playoff run in December 2000. I happily accepted the assignment, and tagged along for the ride as the Ravens won their first Super Bowl that January.
I then switched over to the Orioles’ beat, and began covering a club that wouldn’t make the playoffs for 11 seasons, finally gaining a postseason berth in 2012. Meanwhile, the Ravens won their second Super Bowl in 2013, a few months after the Orioles’ brief playoff run ended.
At that point, there was no question that the Ravens were viewed as the better-run organization after five straight playoff appearances and two titles in 12 years. The Orioles, in contrast, haven’t won it all since 1983.
But since that 2012-13 sports year, the Ravens have made the playoffs only once – winning one game and losing one game in January 2015. Whereas the Orioles made the playoffs in 2014 (losing in the ALCS) and this past season, in which they lost in the AL Wild Card game in Toronto.
Both franchises have coaching stability: Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has been with the franchise since 2008 and Buck Showalter has managed the Orioles since 2010.
The Orioles probably have a better core of players, led by 24-year-old third baseman Manny Machado, closer Zach Britton, first baseman Chris Davis and center fielder Adam Jones (pictured above at Camden Yards with Ravens safety Lardarius Webb).
The Ravens have, among others, quarterback Joe Flacco, kicker Justin Tucker, veteran defensive standout Terrell Suggs and those ever-important title rings.
It appears that the Ravens will have some tough decisions to make this offseason; the Orioles’ winter of discontent likely will come in 2018, if not sooner.
With free agency, it’s tough to know what these teams will look like in a few years. But I want your best guess. Several years ago, this question would have been easy to answer. And we likely would have been wrong.
So, what about now? Which team will have more success in the next few seasons, the Orioles or Ravens? And what makes you think that?
Tap-In Question: Which team – O’s or Ravens – will be more successful in the near future?