Baltimore not even covered in book on Ravens

Books

November 27, 2005|By CHILDS WALKER | CHILDS WALKER,SUN REPORTER

Baltimoreans are used to carrying chips on their shoulders.

The city has lost two major sports franchises, the best television shows about it focus on drugs and murder and those darn weather maps always show Washington and Philadelphia, but nothing in between.

You might think best-selling author John Feinstein's decision to write a book about the Ravens would be a contrary example, a boost to the collective self-esteem.

But take a look at the packaging.

The players on the cover are obscured by shadow and mist. The text on the jacket flap says Feinstein "persuaded one NFL team to lift the extraordinary secrecy that shrouds the sport and allow him to see how a team pulls off this miracle of competition and training week after week."

But it never tells you which team.

"I do understand how if you live in Baltimore and see it, you might say, `Oh!'" said Heather Fain, Feinstein's longtime publicist at Little, Brown and Co.

But Fain said the packaging is not intended as a slight. The darkened cover photos are meant to represent the veil of secrecy Feinstein penetrated. And the jacket copy is supposed to touch on the broader themes that would appeal to Feinstein's national audience.

"No NFL team has let anybody do this, so that insider look is what appeals to the broader audience," Fain said. "But everybody's very appreciative of Baltimore for giving John that access."

Fain noted that many of Feinstein's books have featured covers that did not play up individual teams or players. She said his next book on the Final Four will feature a similarly generic shot.

"And I'm a North Carolina grad so I would much rather have seen a big picture of Sean May," she said with a laugh. "But that's what happens when you're going for the broader platform."

childs.walker@baltsun.com

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