Just off Interstate 95, not all too far from Florence, S.C., is a little place called Manning. In the giant battle zone that is the Orioles-Rays rivalry, this unassuming way station on the great coastal corridor just happens to be the very front line. Sitting equidistant to Baltimore and St. Petersburg, Fla., it represents the physical demarcation line of loyalties in this epic encounter of enmity. All those to the south of Manning are in the Rays' camp. All those to the north side with the Orioles. Any deviance from this geo-fandom would be a betrayal of the natural order of things.
In Manning, though, the lines are not so clearly drawn. Here, where the two great regions dominated by these team allegiances abut one another, it is neighbor against neighbor -- and very often brother against brother, father against son and pastor against parishioner.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The Future of the AL East
This morning I noted that last night's Orioles-Rays game was a battle for supremacy in the AL East. I'm not the only one who noticed, as ESPN's Jim Baker, Jonah Keri, and Mike Philbrick give us a glimpse into the death struggle that will one day be the Rays-Orioles rivalry: