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Baltimore vs. Toronto: How do the AL Wild Card cities match up?

The Orioles and Blue Jays will face off in the American League Wild Card Game in Toronto tonight at 8 p.m. ET (TBS/Sportsnet). We know you're going to watch it (AL Wild Card Games tend to be pretty exciting), but what team will you be cheering for? Sure, if you're already a fan of one of the teams, the choice is clear. But if you're not, you've got to make a decision somehow.

So why not decide based on which city seems like the most fun? Let's take a look at what Toronto and Baltimore have going for them.

Most Iconic TV Show

Both Baltimore and Toronto served as settings for shows that were widely praised as gritty portrayals of the moral complexities of life. Those shows are the Peabody Award-winning "The Wire" and the incisive, poignant and most importantly, subtle "Degrassi" franchise.



Can you guess which show has been nominated for more Emmys? Yup, just as you suspected, it was "Degrassi: The Next Generation," the incarnation of the teen drama that ran from 2002-2015. It was nominated for four Primetime Emmys, whereas "The Wire" was nominated for only two.  

Best celebrity

Speaking of Degrassi, let's take a minute to talk about Aubrey Graham. You may know him best as Jimmy Brooks from "Degrassi: The Next Generation," but did you know he's also a world-famous rapper from Toronto? If you weren't aware, look at his most recent album cover, or get in a rap battle with him so he can remind you with baseball-themed diss tracks:

But let's be real -- we'd all like to see Drake go toe-to-toe with Edgar Allan Poe. Baltimore's most famous poet never wrote a diss track, but he did write a poem about being stalked by a spectral murder bird, so that's pretty threatening, too.

Toronto also boasts Will Arnett, Sam Bee, Rachel McAdams and baseball fan extraordinaire Geddy Lee. Baltimore's native sons and daughters include Jada Pinkett Smith, Parker Posey, Sisqó, John Waters, and etiquette expert Emily Post, who would probably tell us this entire name-dropping enterprise is a bit tacky in the first place.

Best Olympic athlete

Look, it's Michael Phelps. It just is.


But Torontonian Penny Oleksiak is pretty cool, too. The 16-year-old became the youngest Canadian to medal during the Games in Rio, and was the swimmer who tied with Simone Manuel to set an Olympic record in the 100m freestyle.

Oddest Landmarks

We're all aware of Fort McHenry and the CN Tower, and we're not going to compare them. Instead, we're going to figure out which city has the strangest landmark, not just the most famous.

Toronto is home to two very strong contenders. First, there's the "half-house," located on 54 ½ Saint Patrick Street. As you can probably tell from its name, it's just … half a house:

There's also Casa Loma, a 98-room castle built by Sir Henry Mill Pellatt in the early twentieth century. Pellatt was the founder of the Toronto Electric Light Company, but went bankrupt when the utility became public in 1920. Is the castle haunted? You could find out by asking a Ouija board … which was invented in Baltimore.

There's a plaque at 529 North Charles Street, where the first Ouija board came into existence. What's there now? A 7-11:

But Baltimore is full of delightfully strange landmarks, from the Phoenix Shot Tower (once the tallest building in America), to the National Museum of Dentistry:

George Washington's prosthetic teeth. 1789

A photo posted by Pat Person (@patperson) on

Best Game Show Host

Pat Sajak is from Baltimore. Alex Trebek, while not from Toronto, is from the province of Ontario. So it's really up to you -- are you a "Wheel of Fortune" or "Jeopardy!" person? Choose wisely.

Best Food

It's really too bad that Baltimore and Toronto can't just combine and form some sort of super-team to take on the NL, because they make a perfect meal. Stop in Charm City for some Maryland crab cakes, then head up to the 6ix for dessert:

By the numbers! 

Category Baltimore Toronto
Date of founding 1729 1793
Population 622,104 2.61
Restaurants Guy Fieri has visited 13 5
Iconic mustaches 1 -- the great John Waters 0 (BRING IT BACK, TREBEK)
People who want to get a Coke with you 1 -- Frank O'Hara

1 -- there's no way Norm Kelly doesn't want to get a Coke with everyone