BWI asks Ravens fans to stay away after game

Officials say team won't come into terminal after flight arrives

January 12, 2001|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

Whether the Ravens win or lose Sunday, fans should stay home or gather at the team's training center in Owings Mills, Baltimore-Washington International Airport officials are saying.

Hoping to avoid a repeat of Sunday night, when thousands of boisterous fans showed up at the airport to greet the Ravens, officials are urging people to stay away from BWI when the team returns from Oakland early Monday morning.

"The team members are not going to be accessible," Jennifer Cassidy, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Aviation Administration, said yesterday. "[People] can come out here, but they are not going to see anything."

Cassidy said the Ravens players, coaches and staff would arrive at the airport on a charter flight. The entourage will board a bus on the tarmac that will take them to the Ravens training facility in the 11000 block of Owings Mills Blvd.

"They are not coming into the terminal like they did last time," Cassidy said.

Ravens officials confirmed Cassidy's stance.

Overwhelming crowds

Cassidy said BWI officials were stunned when up to 5,000 fans crammed into the international terminal Sunday, briefly overwhelming authorities, after the team defeated the Tennessee Titans.

"We thought maybe 500 or so [would show up], but it just kept escalating," Cassidy said.

The crowd roared as the players - many of whom said the outpouring flabbergasted them - walked along the rope line.

"We cannot accommodate that many people," Cassidy said, while adding that fans will not be turned away. "There is just no room, and it is a safety issue. We just do not want anything to happen ... like what happened at Pittsburgh."

In 1991, about 40,000 fans mobbed the Pittsburgh International Airport to welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins after they won the Stanley Cup.

One man was killed when he fell from a wall. Other fans began rocking the team bus, startling players.

Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Toohey said officers will be deployed around the Owings Mills site Monday morning.

"We know they are coming, and we believe we can deal with the group," Toohey said. "We are anticipating a happy crowd so that makes a world of difference."

Toohey said police expect the number of fans who show up to greet the players will be relatively low because the team should be arriving before dawn.

"The biggest problem we expect is clearing the way for the buses," Toohey said. "There is not going to be fighting and rioting."

Baltimore police said officials have no plans to beef up patrols to handle any rowdy crowds that could develop downtown if the Ravens win.

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