So tomorrow is the first home game of the regular season for the Baltimore Ravens and the buzz is all about the unfurling of the World Champion banner.
Clearly it’s something to be proud of and it certainly enriches our civic pride and our city’s heritage.
But something will be missing – No. 52.
His absence will speak volumes and it will take some getting used to before it really resonates that the pregame tradition that we’ve known for years, one etched into our minds and only slightly less important to some than the singing of The Star Spangled Banner, written but a mile away, is no more.
And then the game will begin and so too will a new era at M&T Bank Stadium.
“The Bank” is now in its 16th season and generally speaking, by the time stadiums get to be 30 in the modern era, they are considered “old”. I wonder how long before the talk begins of planning a new home for the Ravens?
And while we’re on the topic of “The Bank” here’s my Off-The-Field nickel package…
1. CLEAR BAGS FOR THE LADIES ~ Seriously? Two things pop into my skull on this one: 1) Nice job NFL of creating a new market. They sure do have larceny in their collective heart; and 2) If the ladies don’t like it, then welcome to a man’s world (of pockets).
2. GOD IS A RAVENS FAN ~ C’mon He has to be right? Think back upon all the years of football here in Baltimore since we returned to the NFL and then think of the weather. It’s been an unbelievable run of good fortune. There have been times when bad weather was forecasted and somehow, it’s as if Moses has come along in the past with that blessed staff and split the cloudy skies.
3. 1 O’CLOCK KICKOFF ~ Love them! The Bank is our cathedral and “mass” should start at 1PM. After a win it leaves the day wide open for and all-day celebration; folks leave the parking lots at various times which puts much less pressure on the surrounding infrastructure AND you don’t see a sea of taillights for miles and miles like you do after a night or even a 4 o’clock game.
4. BIG SCREENS ~ Given the six (6) 1 o’clock starts (SWEET), those 30’ x 8’ screens that greet you at Gates A & D probably won’t be much different than digital billboards along I-95. Sure, the Ravens say they will show highlights from games around the league as you enter the stadium but last I checked, you enter around 12:30-45 and the only game that’s been played prior is the Thursday night game – usually a snooze-fest like this week’s Jets at Patriots contest.
5. IN THRU THE OUT DOOR ~ I’m a little tired of these slick dudes slipping in the men’s room through the out door to avoid the lines. Hey Mr. Stadium Manager, how about you have one of those S.A.F.E. guys standing at those “out” doors issuing fines for violators? Maybe they could use those proceeds to lighten the load on the beer tariffs, eh?