Baltimore Orioles Land on Sports Illustrated’s Cover, and “The Wire” Creator David Simon Finds Joy in Their Playoff Run

After 15 Years of Futility, a Scarred City has a Baseball Team to Believe in

What are Baltimore sports fans to make of the Orioles’ miraculous run? Years of futility had trained them to wait not for a pennant race in September but for the Ravens’ opening kickoff. Even though there are still empty seats in Camden Yards, a city of scarred baseball fans is finding a way to root for the team that has given it so much heartache (page 68).

Guest writer David Simon, creator of The Wire, has a special place in his heart for the Orioles, having lived in Baltimore since 1983, and his reflection on the team’s improbable postseason run lands the Orioles on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the first time since catcher Matt Wieters appeared on March 15, 2010. As a lifelong cynic, Simon writes, “For Sports Illustrated to call the bullpen of Baltimore writers and ask for Simon to get loose is a twisted little joke…I grew up hating the Orioles…I am from Washington. And I was born a Senators fan. Does the darkness make sense now? Does it? You sick bastards.”

Simon laments that his son, Ethan, is part of a generation of Baltimore natives who have never seen the O’s make the playoffs. Worried Ethan will abandon the Orioles while attending college in Boston, Simon shipped him a new cap and Adam Jones jersey and threatened to remove him from the will if he came home a Red Sox fan. It is just one way in which Simon has witnessed a city returning to root for a team that underperformed for so many years: He bonded with a fellow fan during a late-night 7-Eleven run after the Orioles’ 18-inning win in Seattle last week, and put up a fight with Yankee-fan relatives who criticize Baltimore for not being a baseball town.

When his son sported the O’s gear at a Red Sox game, Simon swelled with pride at the birth of a new crop of Baltimore baseball fans: “I though of my son at Fenway, draped in that Adam Jones jersey, bird cap crowning him at the jauntiest of angles, surrounded by rows and rows of embittered Sox fans for whom this September is dry, empty death. You go brah, I texted him. Die like a commando. The Kid stays in the will. If he makes it back to the dorm, I mean.”


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