Professional SportsBaltimore Grand Prix
Admittedly, the sport of auto racing is way over on the Earth-hating side of the spectrum, but the sound of Formula One engines screaming down frigging Pratt Street at 19,000 rpm is just so cool. Alas the critics were mostly justified in being wary of the potential financial pitfalls of the Baltimore Grand Prix and those trees that were taken down for the inaugural race never did get replanted as far as we know. Regardless, backed by new promoters, the race is back, and will (fingers crossed) benefit the city as well as promoters and spectators.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 333 W. Camden St., (410) 685-9800, baltimore.orioles.mlb.com
"Growing the arms and buying the bats," sounded good for a while, but after 13 plus years with no payoff, a general manager switch was in order and the O's have, by anyone's estimation, outplayed expectations. Guess it kinda helps that expectations were in the basement. Who knows whether the birds will be actual contenders, but tickets are easy to come by, and Camden Yards is still probably the prettiest park in the whole country.
M&T Bank Stadium, 1101 Russell St., (410) 244-8154, baltimoreravens.com
As difficult (read: expensive) as it is to get even nosebleed tickets to a Ravens game, everyone should make the effort to experience an NFL game in what's widely regarded as one of the loudest, most intense-not to mention well-appointed-stadiums in the country. Down in the lower rows, the noise is so loud you can feel it pressing down on you, and here the 12th man really can affect the outcome of games.
5201 Park Heights Ave., (410) 542-9400, pimlico.com
The grandeur has faded a bit from the once elegant facility, but it's still the second jewel in the Triple Crown. And we must say that the infield festivities and music during Preakness have only been improving over the years, and are now a destination event where the getting drunk part is actually secondary to the entertainment. At least, that's what we keep telling ourselves.
Hometown SportsBocce Ball
902-904 Stiles St., bocce.baltimore.md.us
One of those sports where watching can be more fun than participating, the locus of bocce ball action in town is, you guessed it, Little Italy, where you will find public courts. If you're feeling a bit fancier, or if the weather isn't cooperating, there's even an indoor court housed in La Scala restaurant.
An oddball twist on regular bowling, our style uses tiny pins, tiny balls, plus you get three turns, and you don't have to worry about high-tech aspects like spin or whatever else there is in bowling other than just chucking the ball as hard as you can. There are three venues that offer the sport: Patterson Bowling Center (2105 Eastern Ave.,  675-1011, pattersonbowl.com) in East Baltimore; Stoneleigh Lanes (6703 York Road,  377-8115, stoneleighlanes.com) a bit north of town near Towson University; and Hillendale Duckpin Bowling Center (1045 Taylor Ave.,  821-1172), just a bit up the road from Stoneleigh, and by far the largest of the bunch.
Flat Track Roller Derby