After the Ravens won the AFC championship Sunday evening in New England, Ravens safety Ed Reed had an interesting choice of words before he walked off the podium.
“Stay buckled up, Baltimore,” Reed said looking at the cameras. “Didn’t we tell you?”
I immediately noticed that. We’re not sure if Reed meant it to, but as the Ravens punched their ticket to the Super Bowl, Reed borrowed the Orioles’ postseason mantra of 2012, “BUCKle Up.”
It couldn't have been coincidence, right?
The theme was born after one of the Orioles several late-inning one-run wins, when Orioles manager Buck Showalter likened the team’s season to a roller coaster. He talked about the bar that lowers to keep you safe in your seat on a roller coaster and about how his team had taken him for a wild ride all season, “Only I don’t have a bar.”
There’s not secret that in this year’s success of both the Orioles and Ravens, the teams have supported each other throughout.
During the Orioles’ playoff run, players like Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin wore Orioles hats in support. Joe Flacco donned a BUCKle Up T-shirt. Ravens players began showing up at games.
“When all those guys were wearing Orioles caps, don’t think we didn’t notice,” Showalter said. “It was pretty cool.”
And now, the Orioles have returned their Russell Street neighbors’ support. Orioles center fielder Adam Jones has become a staple on the sideline of games, taking a private jet to Massachusetts to watch the game. He even posed with the AFC championship trophy with Ravens fullback Vonta Leach and 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps.
Home-grown Orioles pitcher Steve Johnson, a Ravens season ticket holder, also went to Sunday night’s game, flying up Sunday morning from Baltimore a day after the team’s FanFest event.
And Showalter has been captivated by the Ravens as well. I was talking to Showalter earlier this week about the Ravens and he expressed how “impressive” he thought coach John Harbaugh was. He spoke about meeting general manager Ozzie Newsome and his savvy in building the Ravens through the draft. He mentioned about wanting to get over to Owings Mills see a practice.
Now he has a little extra time to catch a practice.
Above all, Showalter was impressed with the impact the two teams’ success has had on the city. He’s seen a different kind of excitement, and noticed the power the Orioles and Ravens can have on the area. He said he’s come to learn that Baltimore is a two-sport sports town – with its fans hugely invested in these two teams.
All this after years of a perceived animosity between the teams, especially when the Ravens contended every year and the Orioles annually struggled.
But so far, both teams are enjoying this wild ride of a year together.