Even on road, Raiders fans remain a spike above rest

setting The Scene

Ravens Gameday

September 18, 2006|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

Ravens fan John Dongarra doesn't exactly wear a business suit to games with purple, black and white paint on his face and similarly colored leggings and camouflage shirt on his body.

But when he looked at several Oakland Raiders supporters in Lot J outside of M&T Bank Stadium yesterday with their spiked shoulder pads, skeleton masks and black face paint, Dongarra shook his head ever so slightly and grinned.

"I would wear something like that, but some of them look ridiculous," he said.

Halloween arrived a bit early in Baltimore as the black and silver mixed with the black and purple yesterday. There was little trouble as both sides exchanged some good-natured ribbing.

One of the largest contingents of Raiders fans was the DC Metro Raiders Booster Club, a group based in Glenn Dale.

With a membership around 50, more than 100 showed up for the tailgating and ate meatballs, hamburgers and sausage cooked on a huge homemade grill.

Rodney "The Hitman" Scott, the club's president, was slightly stunned by the attendance.

"It's overwhelming," he said. "Words cannot express the feeling you get when you see a nation of Raider fans come together."

One of those fans was Ron Rickard, a native of Garden Grove, Calif., who said he attended his 105th consecutive game yesterday.

Rickard, who was honored in the Hall of Fans at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001, estimated that he has spent about $6,000 annually on travel, hotels and food.

"I was just going to do it one year," Rickard said. "But the years rolled over. So I thought, `Why not go for it?' "

Scott Sax also takes the Oakland games seriously. The systems engineer at Loyola College once stopped talking to a friend for six months after the Raiders lost to the Ravens in the AFC championship game in January 2001.

"I apologized," said Sax, who wore a black suit and fedora hat. "I've gotten better."

The Ravens fans who were near the Raiders fan club were hospitable. In fact, Larry Bormel of Clarksville complimented the Raiders fans on their attire.

"We already took a picture with them," Bormel said. "It's great."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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