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Baltimore vs. New York

Page 2 columnist

The Ravens and Giants may be hauling a host of redemptive story lines to Tampa, but it's my job to police the truth, and remind the world that these respective NFL cities carry some serious baggage into the big throwdown: There is nothing New York about a team that plays in Jersey, and Baltimore warped its pigskin karma by robbing Cleveland of the Browns.

I'll admit growing up in Buffalo made me sympathetic to a rust belt brother like Cleveland -- at the time of the big move, I said there would be no peace on Lake Erie until the Dawg Pound got to toss Art Modell's head around the stadium like a beach ball at a Foghat concert.

Of course, growing up in Buffalo also meant watching all of your tax dollars leave the area to fund methadone clinics in Brooklyn.

So objectivity rears its ugly head, and I'm forced to take both of these cities on their own terms: New York vs. Baltimore. The City That Never Sleeps versus The City That Brought Us Movies Starring Divine. Let's see how they stack up at the Tale of the Tape:

Baltimore vs. New York Tale of the Tape
Category New York Baltimore Advantage
AKA The Big Apple, Gotham, Fun City More crabs than a trucker motel New York
Greatest moment in franchise history Winning two Super Bowls Benching Tony Banks for Trent Dilfer? New York
Proper pronunciation Noo Yawk Ball'mer Push
Future home of ... The Clintons The Cleveland Indians? Push
Teams should be called ... Jints Colts Push
Olfactory curiosities The peculiar, pungent tang of a subway stairwell The peculiar, pungent tang of Art Modell borrowing money Push
We have them to thank for ... The musical "The Star Spangled Banner" Push: Either way, Carl Lewis can't hit the high notes.
Astonishing local wonders Rudy Giuliani's comb-over Boog Powell's cholesterol Push
Dead giveaways you're from out of town You think you just bought a real Rolex on a street corner for 25 bucks. You think Crab Cakes are a dessert. Push
When to wear a Flak jacket If you take the train to Yankee Stadium If you accompany Art Modell back to Cleveland Push
Mottos So nice they named it twice Washington... without the interns New York
Sad farewells When vice cleaned up Times Square When Irsay's vans moved at midnight Push
Linebackers who should be brought to games on a Hannibal Lecter gurney LT Ray Lewis New York
Famed restaurants Le Cirque Uncle Chappy's Crab Shack Baltimore -- good eats at a good price! OK, I might be going to the crab well a little too often, but what the hell else is there to talk about?
Poet laureates The Rev. Al Sharpton Edgar Allen Poe Push
Stadiums are ... Dead mobster-adjacent Festooned in purple New York
Likely to see on any corner Recently discharged psychotic halfway house parolees Mel Kiper Jr.! Baltimore: Show me a psychotic who can rattle off a JUCO transfer¹s time in the 40!
Inspiring landmarks Lady Liberty's torch reaching high over the East River The world's first ESPN Zone restaurant Baltimore, and yes, I'm a company man
Named after ... Parcells' ego A poem! New York

So there you have it, it's so simple when you break things down scientifically. In a $500 cab ride from the airport, the advantage goes to New York. But hang in there Baltimore, I'm still taking you plus 2½ points. Until next time, I'm Nick Bakay reminding you: The numbers never lie.

Humorist Nick Bakay, currently a writer for the CBS sitcom "King of Queens," is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Page 2. He has a Web site at

city rivalries 

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