On Halloween, or any other day, Philly is scary place for opposing fans

October 31, 2004|By PETER SCHMUCK

PHILADELPHIA - If you're a Philadelphia Eagles fan, this has to be a very confusing day.

What do you do on Halloween? Dress up as a normal person?

Only one way to find out, so I'm going to be at Lincoln Financial Field along with the Ravens, who are a 7 1/2 -point underdog going into this afternoon's game against Donovan McNabb and the undefeated Eagles.

Since this is not the NFC championship game, it is safe to take the Eagles and give the points. The Ravens are without Jamal Lewis and will be playing in the most hostile environment in pro football. Could be a long afternoon.

Everyone knows that I've got some issues with Eagles fans, but I'll give them this: They are the meanest, toughest (and sometimes drunkest) fans in football, and for that they have gained my grudging respect.

I'm sure there are a few transplanted Oakland Raiders fans who might disagree, but I'm from California and I've seen that phony act up close. The guy wearing the Viking costume used to be in Cats.

The Eagles fans are the real deal. There are a few face-painters, but those are just the fans who don't want to recognized on next week's episode of America's Most Wanted.

If you're skeptical ... if you think that every NFL team has it's share of psycho fans ... I'll bring in an expert right here to set the record straight.

"It's like no other place I've been," said Ravens coach Brian Billick. "They're brutal and personal and they do their homework. If they yell something about your wife, they've probably looked it up."

They're also pretty hard on visiting fans, so leave the Super Bowl XXXV sweatshirts at home and, whatever you do, don't even mention how great it was to see the expansion Carolina Panthers in the big game last year.

That's why I'll be tailgating incognito - which, by the way, is Latin for "no Aloha shirt." I'll be the guy in the size-XXL McNabb jersey who hasn't dribbled on his chest yet. Stop and say hello.

Ravens linebacker Cornell Brown obviously is some kind of masochist. He likes to play in the lion's den ... or the Eagle's lair ... or whatever you want to call it.

"That's the best part," he said. "It's just you and your teammates. That's all you've got. The best part is to come out with a win."

Don't know if this is a bad omen, but Kyle Boller playfully threw a towel at Sun football writer Jamison Hensley on Friday in the Ravens locker room ... and missed.

Of course, it's possible that Hensley just broke off the route a little too soon.

Good news for Baltimore boxing fans. Hasim Rahman has been named the No. 1 heavyweight contender by the World Boxing Organization. Rahman already was ranked No. 1 by the WBA, No. 2 by the WBC and No. 5 by the IBF before being elevated by the WBO. He is not, however, held in high regard by HBO.

News item: Orioles Omar Daal and David Segui filed for free agency on Friday.

Comment: While they were at it, they probably should have filed for Medicare, too.

Now I know why I flunked geography in elementary school. Several readers pointed out that I put St. Louis on the wrong side of the Mississippi River in Thursday's column.

Guilty as charged. St. Louis is on the west side of the river, so the denizens of that fine city could not have looked with trepidation across the Mississippi before deciding it was too dangerous to join the wagon trains headed for the western territories.

Guess that explains why they built that big arch to signify the jumping off point for the settlers ... instead of a giant diving board.

Contact Peter Schmuck at peter.schmuck@baltsun.com.

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