A punch line in movie, but Ravens have last laugh

This Just In...

January 17, 2001|By Dan Rodricks

THE MOVIE is relatively new - it opened Christmas Day - but the reference to the Baltimore Ravens is so, like, yesterday, man. "Finding Forrester," starring Sean Connery, is a charming, affecting story of the friendship between a reclusive author - think J. D. Salinger without the kinky stuff - and a young literary genius who hides his talent behind a basketball. And it opens with a shot at the Super Bowl XXXV-bound Ravens.

In the scene, an English teacher has the famous Edgar Allan Poe poem "The Raven" on the blackboard of his high school classroom in the South Bronx. He asks if anyone can identify it. None can. (The kid genius, played by Rob Brown, knows, but keeps his hand, and head, down.) When the poem's name is mentioned, the class recognizes it as the name of a football team. The teacher notes that the Baltimore team is the only one named after a poem - he doesn't mention that E. A. Poe is buried here - and says the poem has something to do with a death wish. The kids quip that the football team has a death wish, too, since it loses all the time. Ha, ha, ha, ha!!

Just goes to show how long the lag between production and release of films is.

Or how quickly things can turn around in the salary-capped NFL.

Moon Doll benched

And now more exciting adventures of Dennis the Moon Doll (and loyal Ravens fan). When TJI readers last heard of Dennis, he was cheering the Ravens to that fabulous upset of the Tennessee Titans along with the rest of the purple crazies at Nick Syropoulos' house in Mayfield. Dennis, the invention of Sun sports cartoonist Mike Ricigliano, sits atop a yellow hard hat atop Ricig's head and, when Ricig squeezes air into him through a tube, Dennis drops his drawers. This is done in salute to the Ravens - when they score a touchdown or field goal - and to inspire them to kick butt on defense.

Ricig managed to get tickets to the Ravens-Raiders championship game Sunday in Oakland. (What can I tell you? The man does a lot of favors for people.) He and his wife, Terri, a former cheerleader - Is one ever a former cheerleader? - went with fellow Ravens fan Chris Everett into Network Associates Coliseum, home of the silver-and-black horde, Raider Nation, the Black Hole, the neo-Gothic nightmare at the end of the country.

Ricig, a skinny and concave man who weighs about 11 pounds, was advised by friends to pack heat. But he didn't. He didn't even pack Dennis.

"We took him out in the plane during the flight, and a lot of Raiders fans warned us he wouldn't last one quarter inside the coliseum," Ricig says. "So we didn't take him. We left him in an airport locker. But don't worry. Dennis is OK."

Safe in the stands

Mr. and Mrs. Ricig got through the big game without a scratch. "For the first hour and a half that we were there, we didn't see any Ravens fans," Ricig says. "Then, after we sat down, I knew we'd be safe from the Raiders crazies because, right in front of us, were Edwin Mulitalo's four giant cousins."

You gotta like the sound of that: Edwin Mulitalo's Four Giant Cousins.

Edwin Mulitalo is the Ravens' left guard. He's 6-3, 340. "At least two of his cousins were as big as him," Ricig says, "and the other two were pretty big. Terri and I thought we were going to have to low-five each other when the Ravens did something good, but when Shannon Sharpe scored on that [96-yard] touchdown pass, we jumped and made a lot of noise. The four Giant Mulitalos made us brave."

Football inflation

According to John Steadman's book on the Colts, each player and coach on the winning Super Bowl V team that beat the Cowboys 30 years ago got $15,000. A player on the winning team in Super Bowl XXXV gets $58,000. (That's on top of winnings from conference playoff games.)

Advice for Modell

Note to Art Modell: If you're called upon to give another acceptance speech in the next couple of weeks, sir - and we hope you are - you might want to skip the reference to Cleveland. It's like Harrison Ford getting up at the Oscars and thanking the wife he dumped. ... Quote, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, from Brian Brennan, former Browns receiver, who watched the end of Sunday's game at a restaurant in Ohio: "I watched the fourth quarter there. The sentiment was very pro-Raiders. I didn't get to hear [Modell's] speech. As soon as [he] came on the TV screen, they changed the channel. ... I'm happy for Mr. Modell, because he was always very nice to me and my family. I'm happy for my old teammates [now Ravens executives], Ozzie Newsome and Earnest Byner. But in Cleveland, Art Modell will be the villain for the rest of his days." ... But probably only in Cleveland. As Dante Lavelli, a Browns Hall of Famer, told sports columnist Bill Livingston: "Pretty soon, 95 percent of the people in the country won't even know what he did."

Visions of 1958

Mark Elliot, TJI reader and proud son of Parkville, says: "It's a no-brainer. The Super Bowl will have the same score as the 1958 championship game: Baltimore 23, New York 17. Go Ravens!"

Putting play before polls

Bumper sticker seen on Greenmount Avenue: "I play Scrabble and I vote!"

TJIDAN@aol.com is the e-mail address for Dan Rodricks. He can also be reached at 410-332-6166, or by post at The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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