Pub serves loyal fans on-air dose of Ravens

A radio show featuring linebacker Adalius Thomas draws big Thursday crowds to a tavern in Columbia

December 17, 2006|By Tyrone Richardson | Tyrone Richardson,Sun reporter

The number of customers rooting for the Baltimore Ravens is evenly matched with the number cheering for the Washington Redskins at Michael's Pub in the Kings Contrivance Village Center, according to owner Shane Curtis.

The ratio should be expected, considering Columbia sits almost midway between the two cities.

On Thursday evenings, however, there isn't much diversity - it's almost all purple and black.

"It's definitely Ravens Country on Thursdays in here," Curtis said.

For the past three years, Ravens fans have filled Michael's Pub on Thursday evenings to listen to and participate in a live radio broadcast - this season with ESPN 1300's Anita Marks and Ravens linebacker Adalius Thomas.

Excitement over the Ravens has grown as the team enjoys one of its best regular seasons and moves toward a berth in the playoffs. Not surprisingly, the crowd at Michael's Pub has grown, too.

And though the village center was quiet Thursday, there was plenty of cheering and clapping during the 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. broadcast.

In a large room - lined with Ravens gear, including a large purple cloth with autographs of Ravens players - that separates the bar and the dining room, it was practically standing-room-only.

More than 100 fans, clad in Ravens jackets, fleeces, jerseys, and just about anything with the colors purple and black, applauded and booed as strategy for today's game against the Cleveland Browns and trade rumors were discussed.

"This is a great thing, and we make a nice evening of it," said Roger Goodman, 51, of Hanover as he sat with his wife, Cheryl, at one of the few tables in the room. "You get to see and hear the players, and you get to talk to them."

The Goodmans are among the dozens of regulars who have been coming to the pub each Thursday for the show. Seating around Marks and Thomas is limited, which has led some patrons to arrive early if they don't wish to stand or be forced to move into the bar where they can watch the show on a television.

"You get a larger crowd depending on if the Ravens are winning," said Roger Goodman. He and his wife, who both work in Fort Meade, rush from work to get to Michael's about 2:30 p.m. "When [Steve] McNair was here, they had a line out the door for people to get autographs."

Thursday's two-hour show included talk about the Ravens and possible postseason opponents. Thomas, who is usually accompanied by a guest teammate, came solo. His scheduled guest, running back Jamal Lewis, was ill.

Marks said Lewis' absence did not affect the show or the energy of the crowd.

"This show gets the fans in the act. ... The fans are like inches from me and Adalius, and they can ask him and his guests questions," Marks said. "This is my favorite two hours of radio."

Thomas, who fielded questions about his future with the Ravens with his contract soon to expire, joked with some of the callers and fans who asked him questions from a microphone in the bar. In between radio segments, a line formed to shake Thomas' hand, get an autograph and pose for a picture.

One brave Redskins fan spoke to Thomas and quickly got booed and berated by some of the patrons.

"This place is like an extension of my locker room," Thomas said, in between taking photographs with fans. "The people here are like a part of my family, and we just have a good time."

The good time is a good thing for Michael's.

Business was booming as the smell of hot wings and other snacks filled the air, and pints and glasses of beer were plentiful.

"It's a good day for business," said Curtis, who added he is spending money to make money. "This is a case of you pay for what you get."

The Anita Marks and Adalius Thomas Show is broadcast from Michael's Pub, 8630 Guilford Road, Columbia, in the Kings Contrivance Village Center. The show runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays.

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