Sports used to be a lot simpler for Richard Kreiner. The Redskins were, for a while, the only football team anywhere near his Columbia home. And the Orioles have been the only baseball team for decades.
But if baseball comes back to Washington, as expected next year, Kreiner will be in the enviable position of living within 45 minutes of two National Football League stadiums and two Major League Baseball franchises.
That makes things a little tricky. One of his four sons is a Ravens season ticket holder; another son is a Redskins fan. Kreiner has been going to Baltimore Orioles games since the franchise came to Charm City in 1954, and next year, if he feels like, he can take the subway a block from his Largo office to catch the new team playing at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.
Too much of a good thing?
"It is not too much. It's fine," Kreiner said one afternoon last week.
In the early 1990s, the Redskins were talking about moving to Virginia, the University of Maryland played basketball in an old field house, and the biggest attraction in Baltimore was the Inner Harbor.
Today the Terps have Comcast Center in College Park, the Washington Redskins have FedEx Field in Landover, and the Ravens and the Orioles have two new stadiums 22 miles up the parkway from Kreiner's house. Now come proposals for a baseball stadium to house the erstwhile Montreal Expos on one side of the Anacostia River and a soccer stadium for D.C. United on the other.
Kreiner doesn't buy the argument from Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos that another baseball team in the region will divide a limited base of fans. "All Angelos wanted was not to lose his TV revenue," Kreiner said. "He didn't care about attendance at the games."
Rather than weakening the fan base, the choices and competition should make sports more exciting for the region, Kreiner believes.
Take tonight's matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins.
Kreiner regularly watches both teams, but in this Beltway bowl, he's got his loyalties. For years, Sunday was about leaving church early to catch the only game in town, the Redskins. But he always loved the Baltimore Colts before they sneaked out of town in 1984. So when the Ravens brought football back to Baltimore, Kreiner transferred his loyalties right back.
As Kreiner talked about his team in the foyer of his Largo office suite Friday, his colleagues passed by and ribbed him about the football matchup. Kreiner shouted that the team inside Interstate 695 is ready to handle its counterpart inside Interstate 495.
But don't expect to see him at FedEx Field.
"I have a 55-inch, high-definition TV with my remote control," Kreiner said. "I will be sitting in my recliner with my table of goodies next to me: sodas, Cracker Jacks, popcorn and Reese's Pieces.
"I'm ready, I'm ready."