Sunday, July 28, 2019

In praise of Baltimore

I try not to get too political on this blog, but every so often something comes along that I can’t just ignore.

I spent a year in Baltimore as a play-by-play announcer for the Orioles. Baltimore was a wonderful city. The people were great, there was tremendous civic pride, and the Inner Harbor is fabulous. Ft. McHenry is there for God sakes. Annapolis is nearby. It’s a history rich AMERICAN city.

As an outsider, the thing that struck me the most was how proud Baltimore residents were of their city. During the season I moved my family there and was happy to raise my children in Baltimore. I found it to be a wonderful environment.

There was no “infestation” of anything. It was clean, welcoming, and had its own regional charm.

Spend some actual time in a city before you trash it and its citizens, you National Disgrace.

Sometimes sports teams will hope to gain a regional following so won’t put the name of their city on their road uniforms. When I was there the Orioles made sure “Baltimore” was on the front of every Jersey. It remains that way today.

I loved my time there and the friends that I made. I have many wonderful memories of Baltimore but perhaps my favorite is every night at the ballpark during the National Anthem, everyone in attendance (sometimes 50,000) stood and yelled out “O!” when the lyric “Oh, say does that…” was sung. That’s pride in the country and pride in their city. And everywhere the Orioles go on the road you can still hear people in the ballpark yelling “O!”

And “O” is my rating of you, Mr. President.

39 comments :

E. Yarber said...

The Baltimore Sun pulled no punches yesterday:

https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-0728-trump-baltimore-20190727-k6ac4yvnpvcczlaexdfglifada-story.html

Oh!

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Amen

Joyce said...

Thanks, Ken.

Howard Hoffman said...

He seems enamored with Pyongyang.
If he doesn’t like American cities, well, you know the rest.

Curt Alliaume said...

Agreed.

OrangeTom said...

One of my favorite sports' cities. Saw a lot of baseball at Memorial Stadium when I was a kid. Might just be my favorite park for in person viewing besides the "new" one in Pittsburgh. Camden Yards? Meh. But the location is great. Been to Pimlico. Yes, it's run down, but it's live racing and it's a good hang. Finally, some of the coolest people I have ever known were from Baltimore. Down to earth, funny, and don't take themselves too seriously. The President really needs to leave the city the %$#@ alone.

Roger Owen Green said...

Unfortunately, NOT NEWS from that dreadful person...

Mike Doran said...

I keep waiting …

… for Donald Trump to finally say or do something so egregiously WRONG that even the hard-core Rightwingers get fed up and stage an intervention.
You know - like in '74, when the old-line GOPers finally told Nixon that he'd gone too far and had to go .. for the Party's sake, if nothing else.
But Nixon was an Old Pol, a Lifer; he knew the rules, and when the Party Bosses said to go, he went.
Donald Trump doesn't know the rules; he doesn't believe that there are any - at least, any that apply to him.

I'll make the guess here that Mr. Trump is unaware of the fact that the long-term Mayor of Baltimore was Tommy D'Allessandro, whose daughter married Mr. Pelosi (but that's another story) - and if he doesn't know that, nobody tell him - please!

Lord knows, we in Chicago have gotten more than our share of Mr. Trump's high-octane bile over the years (even when he was working his bait-and-switch condo scam in his monument tower here); I'll always wonder how they put up with his trash talk even in his old home town of New York City - oh wait, he doesn't do it there, that might make it hard for him to get his deals done …

This isn't going to end well for anyone.

Meanwhile, again I ask you to note that the only name I have called Mr. Trump has been his own.
And one name that I won't call him is Mr. President.
That would disrespect the office.

kcross said...

My wife and I had always lived in California, and in the mid-80's decided to see how the East Coast lived. I found a job in Baltimore and we found a house in Severna Park.

Before we moved there, we told everyone that we were moving North of Annapolis. After about a year, we were telling people that we lived South of Baltimore and inviting everyone who would listen to come visit to see how cool Baltimore is.

Peter said...

The rapist-in-chief is a thin skinned manbaby. He seriously cannot take any criticism whatsoever. The office of president requires someone who is thick skinned and can take jokes and jibes. If Obama had reacted with fury to even one of the Birther morons, Fox News would have called for his impeachment. Trump is an unhinged sociopath who needs adulation.

On a different topic, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood has opened strong at the box office. The UK doesn't get it for another few weeks. Looking forward to your review, Ken, especially as you lived through that era.

JS said...

I've lived in Baltimore my entire life (I am 51 years old). I have mixed feelings about what he said. First of all, he shouldn't be putting down an entire city. His job as President is to lift-up people and champion cities. So yeah, I hate him for saying it. It wasn't his place.

As to what he said, some of it is true. Baltimore is absolutely corrupt. All you have to do is look at the turnover in the Mayor and Police Commissioner. It is absolutely insane. Second, it has a huge problem with crime that is just getting worse. Unless someone has a gun, it is difficult to get the police to even respond to a report of crime. The neighborhood I live in has seen a huge increase in crime in the last 3 years and no-one seems to know what to do to stop it.

On the plus side, there are very good people and neighborhoods here. Most people here are helpful and friendly. Most neighborhoods aren't rat-infested. The tourist areas are clean and safe.

Just my experience Also, I live in a middle-class neighborhood. If I lived in a poor neighborhood I'm sure my experience would be very different.

Kirk said...

I hope all this trash-talking works against him in the upcoming election.

Arlen Peters said...

Very well written Mr. Doran ... and, as usual, beautifully written by you Ken. It will take years, maybe generations, for the stench of this despicable excuse of a human being to leave the White House. I always thought that even the worst of souls has at least one redeeming quality. Not this clown. God forbid he is re-elected.

Peter said...

Trump is 73, very overweight, has the strain of lots of regular air travel, and lives on a diet of Big Macs and chocolate milkshakes.

That combination usually only has one outcome. In most cases, it would be tragic. In most.

Anonymous said...

Just as a point of information, Harborplace is in receivership
https://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2019/06/04/harborplace-is-in-receivership-what-that-means-and.html

Steve Lanzi (formerly known as qdpsteve) said...

Ken, I hope you have a Quora account. I ask you to read this.
Lots of good information and ideas to ponder in this piece, IMHO.

"Why are people voting for Trump in 2020?"

https://qr.ae/TWvti3

Ed Pepper said...

Yep, the crowds at Trump rallies are screaming their appreciation of libertarian economic positions.

Anonymous said...

Trump doesn't travel anywhere except his own properties. He goes from property to property (on our dime) so how would he know anything about San Fran or Baltimore? More importantly, if the portly orange asshole has nothing but negative things to say about our country and our citizens, he can get the hell out and go back to where he came from. Janice B.

thirteen said...

I live near Baltimore. Back in '93, I brought a friend from New York to see the O's play the Angels. When they got to the bit when everybody yelled "O!" during the anthem, my friend quickly looked around, worried. She thought maybe someone had fallen from the upper tier.

(We had seats just behind and to the left of home plate, right next to Catfish Hunter. Cal Ripken hit his first homer of the season. O's took it 4-1. Bliss.)

MikeN said...

I guess The Wire was total fiction then?

I was lost in Baltimore about 20 years ago, and was shocked at how bad it looked, just blocks from the Harbor.
After watching The Wire, I feel things could have gone badly.

Ed Pepper said...

David Simon spent the weekend claiming that The Wire was about a little more than decay and scary dark people, something about an underlying system or some such buzzwords. Of course, if the guy was legit, he might have written a couple of nonfiction books about conditions in Baltimore, done shows about different black communities, community activism, but he's just off on that porno thing. What a limited perspective.

Andrew said...

I'm genuinely curious. There are black residents of Baltimore who are expressing agreement with Trump. What do the commenters here think about those people? Are they lying? Deceived? Racist?

Elijah Cummings is a genuine civil rights hero. That was many years ago. But what has he actually done for his current constituents? Many of them are saying, "Worse than nothing." If Trump brings attention to that, why is he wrong?

Warning to Democrats: criticizing a black politician is not the equivalent of racism. In fact, it's anti-racist to hold them to the same standard as anyone else.

E. Yarber said...

My first job after leaving college was at a legal research center near Washington DC. Having to grab a place quickly, I spent a couple months renting a bedroom by Capitol Hill before settling in Arlington. I was the only white guy I saw in a deep inner city neighborhood. The Chinese takeout place on the corner had plexiglass around the cashiers, and you both paid for your meal and received it through a lazy susan that insured the staff could not have contact with any of the customers. At the same time, it seemed like every stoop on the street was the natural habitat of the man of the house, who watched everything going on. Once a commuter got harassed as he came out of the Metro, and a half dozen neighbors rushed from their stoops at once to keep order.

I stood out like a sore thumb there, though I seem to do that anywhere. My cluelessness protected me. When a couple of detectives came by asking questions about a homicide, a gang member put his arm around me and introduced me to the officers as his new friend. I grinned at the cops, perfectly aware that they were regarding me as a total idiot. All the same, nobody made a single hostile gesture toward me while I lived there.

Nine months later I was in Oakland and wound up working for lawyers who represented drug dealers, which shoved me into the world of cops and junkies and prostitutes. Still, for a few weeks the streets were kind to me. And for the record, I don't think the people who live in those conditions are animals. Their lives are about pain.

Ed Pepper said...

Who upsets you more, Andrew, a black politician like Elijah Cummings who has been serving the public for decades, or Trump's pedophile party pal Jeffrey Epstein? I'm genuinely curious.

gottacook said...

Ed Pepper: Back in the 1990s, in his capacity as a journalist, David Simon did write (in collaboration with former Baltimore police detective Ed Burns) the 1997 nonfiction book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, which is a remarkable piece of work. If you read it, you would know that Simon is quite able to comment intelligently on the present situation.

Even earlier, Simon wrote Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, which was adapted into the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-2000). So, yes, he has written "a couple of nonfiction books about conditions in Baltimore."

(A six-part adaptation of The Corner preceded The Wire on HBO in 2000.)

Ed Pepper said...

I have copies of both of David Simon's books. The comment was sarcastic. I also hoped people remembered Treme and Show Me a Hero.

gottacook said...

Oops - I thought you were serious, Ed. Sorry.

Big Ray said...

I've never been to Baltimore but any city that had a character like Wild Bill Hagy is OK by me. O-R-I-O-L-E-S.

As for Trump, I wish somebody would ask him what a woman asked Ted Cruz about a year ago: "Will you pledge to take a DNA test to prove that you're human?" He'd fail miserably.

Andrew said...

@Ed Pepper,
The latter, of course. But Epstein has far more connections with Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party than he does with Trump. Look at where his contributions went. I'm not sure why you are shoe-horning Epstein into your preferred political narrative.

Concerning Cummings, you missed my point. You say he "has been serving the public for decades." Many of his own constiuents disagree.

Anonymous said...
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Ed Pepper said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUDr_c2PalI

“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump booms from a speakerphone. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Trump's labor secretary Alexander Acosta gave Epstein a plea deal in 2008 that kept him free to continue sex trafficking. His Democratic party connections don't seem to be as prominent these days.

Elijah Cummings won reelection in 2018 with 76.4 % of the vote, not 46.1 versus 48.2 as in the last presidential race. But that's just political agenda stuff.

MM said...

As someone who was born and raised in Baltimore (The Northwood neighborhood to be specific), I have to say that sadly it has gone very far downhill over the last 20-25 years. Unfortunately, it is not the same city that Ken so fondly remembers. All of the "touristy" spots are still pretty safe/nice, but when you get just a short distance away from them it can get downright scary.
That still doesn't give Trump the license to run the whole city down.

Tudor Queen said...

I lived in New Carrollton, Maryland for three years while attending grad school in DC. We went up to Baltimore on a semi-regular basis and loved the city immediately. As you point out, it offers a ton of American History, of which everyone I met seemed very proud. It has fine restaurants (and a wonderful old fashioned tea room), lovely independent shops, the docks, if you've been missing sea air, and lots more.

The President's twitter rant against the city and one of its (Democratic) elected Representatives seemed to have no basis in evidence, nor a motive beyond spreading poison. Ironically, this Representative has defended Republican legislators on occasion, but the closed circle of today's GOP doesn't allow bipartisan activity or speech.

scottmc said...

Ken,Prior to reading your posting I read the twitter exchange(s) that David Simon had with trolls who took issue with him in the aftermath of the Trump/Baltimore comments. Some of his responses were inspired. One guy claimed to have been mugged twice in the city. Simon's reply was great. He also replied to an individual whose comments were written all in capital letters.

E. Yarber said...

What story about Baltimore would be complete without John Waters?

Over the weekend, Waters emailed ARTnews to express the following: “Give me the rats and roaches of Baltimore any day over the lies and racism of your Washington, Mr. Trump. Come on over to that neighborhood and see if you have the nerve to say it in person!”

Trump crony Alan Dershowitz spewed a three-Twitter rant this afternoon insisting that statutory rape laws are unconstitutional. Gee, and I heard Epstein's crowd were Democrats. Dershowitz hasn't been that bipartisan in years.

Andrew said...

@Ed Pepper,
You are the master of the non sequitur.
What, precisely, has Elijah Cummings done for the poorest residents of his district? Where did the money go?

Ed Pepper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Live news feed of a reporter featuring folks scolding Trump in Elijah's home district. Huge comedic payoff at the end...

https://foxbaltimore.com/news/local/rat-photo-bombs-fox45-live-shot

Andrew said...

Saudi Arabia? WTF?

"Your focus is totally directed on Trump's cult of personality."

LOL. You don't know me at all. I just don't like sacred cows, on the right or on the left. I have friends who live in Baltimore, who work at Johns Hopkins. They have a low opinion of Cummings based on the actual conditions, on the ground, in Baltimore.

My guess is, because of Trump's tweets, things are actually going to improve in Baltimore. We'll see.

Maybe Trump's next tweet should be about Jesse Jackson taking money earmarked for the poor and giving it to his mistress. Would that be racist?