For most of the year, John Means is a beloved member of the Baltimore sports community, his support for the Orioles and the city running deep.

Not this week.

Means, a native of the Kansas City area, is a fan of the Chiefs, who are coming to Baltimore on Sunday to play the Ravens in the AFC championship game.

“It should be a good game. I hope both teams have fun,” Means said when asked who he was rooting for, a politically savvy answer that’s very far from the truth.

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Don’t worry, Baltimore. Even his own teammates are booing him.

“They definitely like to give me some crap about it,” Means said.

While Means is keeping his allegiance with his hometown, the rest of the Orioles are rooting for their neighbors at M&T Bank Stadium. Grayson Rodriguez, a fan since 2020, calls Justin Tucker, a fellow Texan, “his guy.” He hopes the Ravens go up big Sunday and he can send off some fiery messages to his rotation mate Means.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of trash talk,” Rodriguez said.

Both Means and Rodriguez, in town for the Orioles’ Birdland Caravan, will be watching the big game from their respective homes in Kansas City and Texas. Means has to be on his lucky seat, the kind of bad juju Ravens fans might not want to hear about.

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Manager Brandon Hyde, though, will be in attendance with his son. Hyde and Ravens coach John Harbaugh have overlapped since 2019 — it’s a rarity for a city’s teams both to have the same leadership for an extended period — and have formed a relationship. They text regularly throughout their seasons, which this year ended with both teams on top of their divisions for the first time.

“I told him I love how tough they are, the toughness that team has,” Hyde said. “They are just really fun to watch.”

Hyde plans to support the Ravens all the way, even if they end up facing the San Francisco 49ers, his hometown team, in the Super Bowl. Bench coach Fredi González, a Dolphins fan, also switched allegiances.

“I’m on the Ravens bandwagon,” he said.

The support goes both ways. Ravens players attended Orioles games last year, watching as they won 101 games only to get swept in the American League Division Series. Many of the players have met each other, some even playing in a charity golf tournament together.

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In three weeks, the Orioles will head to spring training with a fresh start, boasting a team that has as good a chance as any at winning a championship. But first it’s the Ravens’ turn to try to give the city a title.

“It’s cool just seeing fans, the way they interact with the teams and how much they care for the city,” said Ravens safety Geno Stone, who was paired with Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson at the golf tournament. “It’s a pretty cool thing for the city having this much success this year and giving the fans something to root for.”

Ravens reporter Giana Han contributed reporting.

Danielle Allentuck covers the Orioles for The Baltimore Banner. She previously reported on the Rockies for the Denver Gazette and general sports assignments for The New York Times as part of its fellowship program. A Maryland native, Danielle grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from Ithaca College.

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