Fans must refrain from `O!' during anthem An open...

LETTERS

September 23, 2001

Fans must refrain from `O!' during anthem

An open letter to the Orioles and Ravens organizations:

As a lifelong sports enthusiast from Baltimore, I have seen and enjoyed our city's place in sports history for many years. Simultaneously, however, I have also witnessed a disturbing phenomenon.

Through misplaced enthusiasm and passion for our teams, many fans have taken to the inappropriate tradition of shouting "O!" during our national anthem. In my view, this represents a simple disregard and disrespect not only for our country, but for those who fought and lost their lives securing our many freedoms.

We have all been given a special and precious gift - our citizenship. One of its representations is provided through the words and meaning of our song.

I realize that your organizations cannot control or censor the speech of your fans. Nor should you. It is however, my belief that you have condoned this observable fact by your silence over the years. Please remember that both of your groups have been the beneficiaries of tremendous financial support from the citizens of Maryland and our government.

In the wake of the events of Sept. 11, it is time for you to take a simple step in an attempt to restore the proper dignity to one of America's symbols of freedom.

My request is simple. Prior to the national anthem, when we are asked to stand for its performance, please request that fans remain silent for the duration of the song. The message for the masses should be clear.

Stephen Dubin Timonium

Ravens fan was correct: Crowd noise is essential

I would like to kindly disagree with the Ravens fan who was disturbed by coach Brian Billick's comments concerning the need for more crowd noise at PSINet Stadium.

This gentleman and many other Ravens fans need to understand that they can greatly influence the outcome of the game by making noise when the visiting team has the ball. Crowd noise makes it impossible for the quarterback to change the play at the line of scrimmage - they must either burn a timeout or go with the play against a defense they didn't expect.

Also, crowd noise makes it difficult for the visitors' offensive linemen to hear the snap count - causing false-start penalties, which help kill drives.

Yes, we pay a lot of money to attend games at PSINet, but, no, our commitment as fans does not end there. Ravens fans must make the most of their position as the 12th man on defense - that is the home-field advantage.

I am a PSL owner and have attended every Ravens home game since they arrived in Baltimore, and last year's playoff game with the Broncos was the first and only game that Ravens' fans consistently disrupted the play-calling of a visiting team's offense.

Coach Billick was not questioning the loyalty and enthusiasm of Ravens' fans, but reminding us of our ability to affect the outcome of the game.

Let's give the Ravens a real home-field advantage - every game, all game.

Tim Allgire Baldwin

O's should be ashamed over Ripken ticket fiasco

The world of sports is indeed trivial in these trying times, but I must express my outrage over the decision made on behalf of the Orioles to not honor tickets for the Sept. 23 game against the New York Yankees, which was slated to be Cal Ripken's last home game.

Many individuals invested thousands of dollars in tickets for this game and I think it is simply ludicrous to deny the right to attend this hallowed game to those who have paid hard-earned money, arranged travel plans and juggled schedules.

The Sept. 23 tickets should have been deemed good for the actual last home game.

Peter Angelos and the Orioles should be ashamed of themselves for making such an irresponsible decision, and I will unquestionably show my displeasure, as will others, by boycotting future Orioles games.

Jim Knaub Baltimore

Baysox firing shows Orioles' lack of class

The Orioles have once again tarnished the reputation of a once-proud franchise. Bowie Baysox manager Dave Machemer was fired by the organization on the heels of a losing season.

What makes an unfortunate situation so odious was the manner in which he was terminated. Not by a meeting or a telephone call. Machemer was fired through a certified letter delivered to his home.

Syd Thrift took a page out of the Dan Duquette book of employee relations with this move. It's just one more example of how far this organization has fallen.

Apparently the "Oriole Way" now stands for a lack of competence and class.

Chris Kash Millersville

Pitching-thin Orioles sink to new depths

What has happened to the Orioles' organization? Once known for quality baseball teams built around some of the best pitching staffs in recent memory, the team is over 30 games below .500 and could produce a 20-game loser in Jose Mercedes.

If it weren't for the existence of the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Orioles could lay claim to being the worst team in the American League.

Long gone are the days of Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar and Pat Dobson. Now we get Sidney Ponson, Josh Towers, Willis Roberts, Jason Johnson and Mercedes?

Wil White Wilmington, Del.

Lets' stop `worship' of Lombardi Trophy

Regarding the front-page photograph of Sept. 8: Enough with the Vince Lombardi Trophy!

I think it is wonderful for Baltimore to have a star football team and for fans to be so supportive. I can also understand David Modell's approach to "the people" and telling us the trophy is for us. But, please, do we need to see fans gazing, touching and basically "worshipping" a trophy?

The Vince Lombardi Trophy is carried around as if it is an idol - another "golden calf" so to speak. Let's put this all in perspective, shall we?

Debbie McIver Towson

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