January 25, 2001
By Dave Sabo
When last we spoke, I was confidently picking the winners of the 4 Wild Card playoff games. As you well know, I was a miserable 1-3 on those picks. I wasn’t merely wrong; I was utterly and completely wrong, I was horribly wrong, I couldn’t have been MORE wrong. I’m sure you readers out there (both of you) have noticed that there were no follow-up predictions and have cast aspersions upon my character. Well, I’ve got news for you. There WERE more predictions. I just didn’t publish them. I may be dumb, but I ain’t stupid!
For the record, I managed a perfect record through the divisional playoffs, incorrectly predicting all 4 divisional games. I split the Conference Championship games when I finally realized that, yes; the Ravens “D” is for real. Jimmy the Greek, I am not. Hell, I’m not even ZORBA the Greek!
What I AM is one of the newest passengers on the Ravens bandwagon. Now, before y’all start in with more aspersion casting, let me explain myself.
I currently reside in Laurel, MD, which is equidistant from both Washington and Baltimore. Until recently, this was the heart of Deadskin country. While I personally find Art Modell to be a repugnant, self-serving pusbag unreservedly lacking any business acumen whatsoever (if you can’t make a go of it in the NFL as owner of the Browns in Cleveland, then you’re obviously a dolt and too stupid to live), he’s freakin’ Mother Theresa when compared to Li’l Danny Snyder. The ‘Skins make me sick. From their name to their owner to their front-running, know-nothing fans, I hate that team. And this hatred comes from my proximity to their home. If I lived anywhere else, I probably wouldn’t waste the energy despising the Train Wreck at Fed Ex, but living where I do, I have to listen to the puling of the Deadskin Nation on a daily basis. Until, of course, they drop five straight and the “faithful” find something “better to do” on Sunday.
But what has this to do with the Ravens? Well, after the Irsays slunk away to Indianapolis with the Colts in 1984, the ‘Skins desperately tried to convince the City of Baltimore that they were THEIR team, too. While Washingtonians gladly schlep up I-95 to stuff Peter Angelos’ (owner of the Baltimore Orioles) pockets with money, they haven’t figured out that Baltimorians would rather jab forks in their own eyes than support anything having to do with Washington. Thus, the ‘Skins and their fans took it personally when Baltimore decided they’d rather get whored by Modell and have a team to call their own than root for the ‘Skins. In my opinion, anything that ticks off the ‘Skins (except the Cryboys, of course) is aces in my book.
In addition to the Deadskin factor, I’ve jumped on the Ravens’ bandwagon because this is the most fun I’ve had, sports fan-wise, since the Rockets’ 1986 NBA Finals run. I left Houston in 1990, so I missed the glory of the Rockets’ back-to-back Championships and this is the first time in my adult life that I’ve been in the midst of a championship season. And I can tell you that, right now, Baltimore is having one hell of a good time. Everybody’s in a great mood, everybody’s
talkin’ Super Bowl and every bar I frequent is having some kind of daily Ravens-related drink special! I’m having a blast!
It all REALLY started with the Ravens’ regular season win in Tennessee. After that, they had a chance to make a run at the division title and make some noise in the playoffs. By the time they had beaten the Titans in the playoffs, I had banded together with the few close friends I have up here and jumped on the bandwagon. None of us are from here, all of us love our hometown football teams, share an intense hatred of the ‘Skins and work with a ton of “dedicated” ‘Skins fans. In other words, we’re all having a field day.
Additionally, my better half is from this area and, thanks to her father, also has a healthy loathing of the ‘Skins. He didn’t much care for football one way or the other, but for some reason, he hated the ‘Skins and their fans and wisely passed that hatred on to her. For the first couple of years of the Ravens’ existence, she (being no fan of the game herself) didn’t give them a second thought. Once she and I began dating, there was the typical resentment of me wasting autumn Sundays watching 10 hours of football. Until I found out two things: 1) her favorite color is purple and, 2) her lucky number is “52.” Hey! Say what you want about front-running female sports fans, but I get a free pass on Sundays now.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not out there buying Ravens jerseys or calling into sports talk shows or collecting Ravens football cards. I even passed on playoff tickets ($150!!!). I’m just taking advantage of the giddy atmosphere that currently surrounds the Greater Baltimore Metro Area. As I said earlier, they’re having a blast up here.
On Sunday, the party’s starting early. The specific site has yet to be determined, but by early Sunday evening, I and my ‘Skins-despising friends will be firmly entrenched in front of the TV; queso, sausage products and frosty beverages in hand. I’ve informed the powers that be at work not to expect me Monday morning if the Ravens win as I intend to take advantage of the requisite downtown celebration. So, let’s go Ravens! I could use the day off!
Baltimore 13, New York 7
Dave Sabo is an Archives Specialist currently residing in Laurel, MD. He would like to take a moment to remind all the whining, excuse-making Titans fans that sent him nasty e-mails about his Titans column that he told you so. Ray Lewis Return to Houston Pro Football If you have a question, comment or suggestion, contact Dave Catch up on past installments of The Armchair Quarterback