The closest I ever got to new year's resolution success was way back in 2002, when I swore off fast food. I made it deep into December when finally, in the wilds of Northern California, I couldn't resist the exotic allure of a Carl's Jr. Victory was so close I could taste it before ingesting that sugared meat-like patty and fried compressed potato-matter blew my taste buds so far off the scale they made tasting anything but defeat impossible for a fortnight. The worst part was when, after bowing to the novelty that came with surrendering my Carl's Jr. virginity, I realized that Carl's Jr. was just West Coast Hardee's whose motto at the time was, "Hardee's, 'cause it's a week till payday and you ain't got McDonald's money." So on the surface I may not seem like the best person to talk about resolutions, but do you judge the sea by its surface? If you did, you'd assume it is a vast and exceedingly damp place, and you'd be right, which is where this analogy breaks down. Just trust me, I'm a better judge of resolutions than analogies. When it comes to analogies, I'm like a . . . like a, um . . . moving on.
I know 2014 is gonna be a big year for Bmore, and we got started planning for it early. Baltimore made its first resolution way back in September when the city resolved not to have any Grand Prixs and, as controversial a decision as that was in a city wracked with Grand Prix fever, I think we'll pull it off. Baltimore just has to fight the urge of drunk dialing the Indy Racing League, you know, just to get back some of its CDs and maybe just cuddle, then, the next thing you know, three more years of racing. Of course, swearing off the Grand Prix is a resolution most of us can get behind; there are some others doomed to be less popular.
While the Orioles haven't officially announced their 2014 resolution, anyone following the Hot Stove League has a pretty good idea what it's going to be. My hunch is that Peter Angelos and the Orioles have resolved not to win the 2014 Major League Baseball's Least Improved Award (It's a golden statue of Bon Uecker and Keanu Reeves slow dancing). It's a real crime that a team with such a strong core and resurgent fan base is not making moves to get better. After 2015 Matt Wieters and Chris Davis are free agents, and does anyone really believe they will re-sign with the Orioles? Peter Angelos will be too busy fiddling as the fans burn their jerseys, so the Birds have two years to make a World Series run before they'll need to rebuild. So what do they do? Trade closer Jim Johnson and then balk at signing Grant Balfour at the eleventh hour, citing medical reasons-a disturbing pattern in the Angelos era. It's sad to think these players will probably never win a World Series in orange. There's been some conjecture that the O's have been squirreling away dough to make a big free-agent splash, but there are no big free agents left. Who else thinks the Orioles might have made a second resolution: to hide all those MASN millions and the money they'll be making from raising 2014 ticket prices in Angelos's mattress? (See feature, page 13.)
Here's hoping the Ravens' offensive line resolves to block some people in 2014. It would be a change from much of the 2013 season. Either that, or center Gino Gradkowski should resolve to change careers. He'd make an excellent matador, or perhaps he could find work as a revolving-doorman. And after the craziest up-and-down seesaw of a season ever to follow a Super Bowl championship, I hope they resolve to pick a side next season, good or bad, and stick with it. My ticker can't take another run like the last six weeks of the 2013 season. Either way, I'll be sticking around. After last year's Super Bowl, I'm still playing with house money.
This next resolution is a hunch, but one with a bit of history to back it up. After seeing the University of Maryland's annual "Pride" uniforms the last two seasons, I think it's safe to say that Under Armour has resolved to make the Terps football team look like the children of an unlikely mating between Evel Knievel and Lord Calvert. Of course, those Terps are going to need all the help they can to avoid swallowing those Pride jerseys with their switch to a new conference. No longer in the hoops-first ACC and moving to the gridiron-driven Big Ten, the Maryland football team is going to have its work cut out for it to compete. And that's where those unis come in. If Under Armour can do for the Terps what Nike and their insane mallard greens did for the Oregon Ducks, maybe Maryland football will finally compete with the big boys.
And, of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't name a few of my own resolutions for 2014. For one, I resolve to keep writing this column, even if the new owner of City Paper decides otherwise. I will make 70,000 or so copies each week and travel from yellow box to yellow box each and every Wednesday morning, slipping a hand printed copy into each paper. Such is my commitment to you, the best-looking readership in the world. Oh yeah, and I resolve not to eat any damn Carl's Jr. Instead, whenever I get the urge, I'm going to eat a half-pound of sawdust and chug a quart of ketchup. It'll taste about the same but be more nutritious. By the way, does anyone know if Carl's Jr. is planning to buy the paper? If so, pretend I said White Castle.