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Glenn Clark's 2017 Wishes

December 15, 2016
You know what's such a hack thing for a columnist to do? Get to the end of the year and write a list of things that should be different in the following year. 

It's sort of like New Year's resolutions, but to make it seem like it involved a level of original thought, the columnist instead suggests it should be like a hashtag. "We make suggestions for the Baltimore sports community, but we begin them with the hashtag #In2017CanWe." 

Hello, my name is Glenn Clark, and I am a hack.  

#In2017CanWe ... please stop complaining about attendance already? I've written about this too many times to have to keep dealing with it. It's exhausting. There's no doubt every sports team in town would like to have every ticket to every game both sold and accounted for come game time. But they'd also like every fan to pay rising costs in an economy where wages simply haven't risen at all. 

Attendance was a problem for the Orioles; there were even empty seats for the Ravens. But attendance at major events is an issue almost anywhere on the planet. There is no direct correlation between attendance and the quality of a sports fanbase. Unless you're the ticket sales person whose job is dependent on the issue being solved, this isn't worth the breath or Twitter characters spent complaining about it.

#In2017CanWe ... get some sort of high-level soccer back in Baltimore? Let me make it clear, this is not a knock on the Baltimore Blast, the many, good college soccer programs in the area or the excellent high school teams that all deserve support. This is much more about having an entire calendar year without a higher-level match, be it a club friendly or an international competition like some of the games we've seen in the past at M&T Bank Stadium. (Side note: The Washington Post reported the second-level pro league, USL, could be coming to Charm City, which is certainly intriguing.)

#In2017CanWe ... unlock the bathrooms in Camden Yards' Eutaw Street stretch on Ravens game days? I know just how random this request is, but there are thousands of fans who park elsewhere or walk from elsewhere in the city that pass by the stadium on game day. Considering it's the same Stadium Authority that operates both, I just don't feel like this is too difficult a request. 

#In2017CanWe ... have big games available to listen to on radio signals we can hear, please? I know firsthand how difficult programming a radio station is. But I don't understand what the purpose of sports radio is if I'm in the car while baseball playoff games are happening (to be fair to my friends at WBAL, they did carry World Series games), and I can't listen to them -- either at all or on a signal that can be heard. Same for NFL games, major college football games, NBA Conference Finals and Finals games, etc. It just makes no sense. 

#In2017CanWe ... hang Adrian Branch's jersey in the rafters at Maryland's Xfinity Center already? There are six players in Maryland basketball history who have scored 2,000 points or more in school history. Five of them have their jerseys recognized in the rafters. Thirteen other players who didn't score 2,000 points have their jerseys hanging in the rafters. Branch was a double-digit scorer on a team that won one of Maryland's three all-time Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships (1984). It just

makes no sense. 

#In2017CanWe ... give Arena Football in Baltimore a chance? I'm worried some Baltimore sports fans may have attended games played by previous indoor teams in Charm City and might not be inclined to try again with the new team. I hope they'll reconsider. This league is better. This product is better. The ownership is better. These players will be better. It's worth a chance. 

And #In2017CanWe ... finally develop a young, impact wide receiver for the Ravens (if it's Breshad Perriman, I'd be thrilled), get a contract extension done for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (and right-hander Chris Tillman and closer Zach Britton, if I'm allowed to be greedy), get Maryland over the hump and finally win its first NCAA lacrosse championship since 1975, get a return visit from the UFC (April will mark three years since the wildly successful UFC 172 event was here), and, if it isn't too much, start making concrete plans for the revitalization or rebuild of our downtown arena and Pimlico Race Course? 

Or hell, I'd probably just settle for finally banning the wave. 

Happy New Year, Baltimore.

Issue 228: December 2016