Ravens, Ken Ulman, Anthony Brown, Orioles, and Columbia


1 Ravens

Just when we're ready to quit on the Ravens this year, they pull us back in! This week's thrilling snow-covered win over the Vikings puts the black birds in a commanding, if tenuous, position with three games to go. It's been a rocky season, but Harbaugh, Flacco, and company have proven they perform best when it really counts: late in the season and into the playoffs. Here's hoping for another January run.

2 Ken Ulman

The Howard County executive announced a series of policy initiatives emphasizing access for healthy, locally grown food, including establishing a network to connect growers with regional distributors, creating a Food Policy Task Force, and appointing a full-time food policy director. Baltimore City made similar efforts a few years ago, though little seems to have changed in many neighborhoods-maybe Ulman and Il Mayore can work together to connect HoCo's growers with city food deserts.

3 Anthony Brown

Lesson One in running for Governor: Don't get caught up in what may turn out to be the worst public-program rollout in the history of the republic. Lt. Gov. Brown apparently missed that lesson, as his campaign endures being raked over the coals for the failures of Maryland's health care exchange. A Sun investigation showed Brown had little contact with contractors building the exchange, which would be a good thing if he hadn't taken ownership, touting it for months as a national model for the Obamacare rollout.

4 Orioles

After two not-horrible seasons, attendance at Camden Yards has very slightly increased. The surefire way to stunt the growth and piss off loyal fans is to raise season-ticket prices, as the Orioles have done for the first time since 2008, bumping up the cost of ticket packages by an average of 5 percent. On the heels of trading all-star reliever Jim Johnson, the 2014 Orioles season is on shaky ground, even before 2014 begins.

5 Columbia

In a New York magazine profile of Julia Louis Dreyfus this week, writer Jonathan van Meter described Columbia, Maryland as "home to one of the dreariest American landscapes imaginable: office parks, chain malls, and a cluster of Northeast-corridor warehouses for Sears and the like." The former Seinfeldian and current Veep star was quoted saying, if the work wasn't good, "It would be like a prison." We tend to agree. If it wasn't for Merriweather Post Pavilion, we might never venture to Columbia's particularly gray brand of suburban penitentiary.