Canada has invaded Baltimore without our knowledge, eh?

July 13, 1994|By MIKE LITTWIN

I do not consider myself old-fashioned or a stickler for detail. I'm definitely not hung up on labels.

But it seems to me -- and you tell me if I'm wrong -- that any team in the Canadian Football League should, by all rights, be based in Canada.

Otherwise, what's the point? Isn't the french fry dependably French? Isn't cream cheese Philadelphian? There must be some agreed-upon, universal standards.

I bring this up only because it has recently come to my attention that Baltimore has a team in the Canadian Football League. Baltimore, the city that invented the "Star Spangled Banner," is definitely not in Canada.

I know. Because I checked the map.

Here's what it reveals to the trained eye: Canada is, and I hope this is not too technical for you, a long, long, long, long way away from any part of the state of Maryland, you hosers.

And yet, there will be a Canadian Football League game Saturday night at the miraculously resuscitated Memorial Stadium between Baltimore and Calgary, a city that actually is in Canada and has been in Canada from pretty much the beginning.

This news is disturbing on a couple of levels, but particularly for the effect that it could have on the youth of our great country, which is not Canada, I'm almost positive.

Like many of you, I have read with horror the tales of misguided American youth. If I've got the story right, most of the problems of misguided American youth apparently can be traced to either the "devil music" as heard on MTV or to a basic lack of geography skills.

I'll give you an example. According to a recent study, 73 percent of America's youth think Iceland is a discount refrigerator store.

As anyone should know, Iceland is, in fact, an island "way up north somewhere" that if properly crushed and doused in tequila and lime juice would make a giant margarita. If you had a glass that big. And a lot of salt.

(This pulverizing of Iceland is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Even as we speak, there is a comet hurtling toward Jupiter, which, significantly, does not have a team in the Canadian Football League, that could crash into the planet with the force of 250,000 atomic bombs, or, in laymen's terms, a bomb as big as Mickey Steinberg's gubernatorial campaign.)

Many of you know that "way up north somewhere," although not in the identical spot as Iceland, is also Canada. According to the encyclopedia: "Canada is our friendly neighbor to the north, known mainly for the MacKenzie brothers, Sergeant Preston and Canada Dry ginger ale."

It goes on to add that while Canada is a country remarkably friendly to people and moose alike, it is not advised to visit in the company of your pet baby seal. Most Canadians also ask that you not bring back Alan Thicke.

Don't get me wrong. I like Canada. I especially like Martin Short, the Canadian national anthem and Moosehead beer, although not necessarily in that order.

I just don't think Baltimore ought to pretend to be Canadian -- if you're in the Canadian Football League, does that give you dual citizenship? -- even if we joined only because the National Football League, the only available U.S. league, turned us down.

You can see how confusing this is going to be for young geography students, many of whom read only the sports pages. They are going to assume that Baltimore and three other U.S. cities are now in Canada.

This is logical. I mean, if there's a team in the English soccer league, you can be pretty sure it's not from Detroit. If London is in the Canadian Football League, you have no guarantees that it's London, Ontario, they're talking about.

Do we have any business joining a league that belongs to a country whose capital you can't even name. (Quick, is it Toronto? Montreal? Quebec? Vancouver? Still guessing?)

You can understand the other U.S. cities that have joined up. Shreveport, La., is in the league. What would be lost if Shreveport defected to Canada?

Sacramento? It's the state capital of California and yet no one I know from that state has ever been there.

Las Vegas? Here's my theory on Las Vegas. Thousands of years from now, archaeologists will dig up the place and look at each other knowingly and say, "So that's what happened to Western Civilization."

But what happened to Baltimore? I think you know, eh?

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