Fair-weather fans and the fair weatherman

December 21, 2006|By KEVIN COWHERD

The great thing about having a team in the NFL playoffs is watching everyone shamelessly jump on the bandwagon, as we're seeing in this town right now.

Politicians who never saw a Ravens game in their lives are suddenly standing in front of TV cameras and microphones, decked out in Ravens jackets and predicting a Super Bowl win this February.

News anchors who wouldn't know Ray Lewis from Ray Charles chat about "our team" as they tease coming stories on the usual cheery gang shootings, drug killings and teacher-abuse incidents.

Radio traffic reporters speculate on the Ravens' chances against the Steelers this weekend in between bulletins about backups on I-95 and 83 South, and the weather guys deliver their game-day forecasts along with expert-seeming commentary on how the conditions will affect the Ravens' passing game.

Oh, I love it.

(OK, a disclaimer: when I talk about know-it-all weather guys, I am, of course, not including the great Tom Tasselmyer, WBAL's crack chief meteorologist, who, as regular readers know, has become an iconic figure in the Cowherd household.

(In fact, you should stop by the house and see our "Have Yourself a Tom Tasselmyer Christmas" display in the front yard, featuring 10,000 blinking lights that spell out 11 INSTA-WEATHER and a 6-foot polyurethane blow-up of Tom in a snappy Armani blazer, standing in front of the HD Doppler map and pointing at a storm system sweeping down from the Canadian Rockies.

(On some nights, traffic along my street is backed up for miles as people pass by to gawk. The neighbors are ticked - royally. I'm sure we'll be hearing from the community association soon.)

Getting back to the Ravens, the purple lights glowing from some downtown buildings is a nice touch.

In fact, the word is that on the night those lights first winked on, people on the streets were so taken by the sight that they actually stopped shooting at each other for several minutes.

But this gave the people being shot at a chance to reload their own guns and shoot back. So the homicide rate, unfortunately, didn't dip at all.

Folks all over town are wearing purple, too, to celebrate this wonderful season the Ravens are having.

Purple isn't exactly a color you wear by accident, either, is it?

No one ever comes to work in a purple shirt, for instance, and says: "Oh, this? It was the only thing in the closet that was clean ... "

No, you wear purple - especially purple Ravens jerseys - to make a statement.

And that statement is: I may - or may not - be a hard-core Ravens fan. But in order to fit in, I jumped in the car and hustled over to Dick's and bought this Steve McNair jersey, extra-large, for $69.99, plus tax.

The whole town, it seems, has caught Ravens fever.

Signboards in front of restaurants proclaim: Go Ravens! Ask about our crab cake specials!

At gas stations, you can get Ravens bobblehead dolls for a song, as long as you're willing to shell out a usurious $2.29 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

In the coming days, we might see those tiny purple flags flying from car windows, as we did back in 2000.

In fact, Ravens fans say it feels like 2000 all over again, when the team seemed charmed and made that improbable late-season run to the Super Bowl with a quarterback who had all the mobility of the Shot Tower, and then beat the New York Giants for the championship.

But first things first.

Before any thoughts of a Super Bowl take hold, the Ravens play the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Christmas Eve, and so we'll all hunker down in front of our flat-screen, high-def plasma TVs to catch all the action.

Well, those of you lucky enough to have flat-screen, high-def plasma TVs.

Oh, don't worry about me.

I still have my puny 36-inch Sony and a basic cable package from those stick-up artists at Comcast, for which I pay way too much. And that will just have to do.

Unless, well ... unless some kind soul were to invite me over to watch the game in his or her opulent home-theater setup, with the billboard-sized TV and fancy leather couches and unlimited supply of killer micro-brews.

The thing is, it's hard to leave the Tom Tasselmyer outdoor display unattended this time of year.

What if some of the lights were to blow out and need replacing? (The first A in INSTA-WEATHER has been giving us fits.)

What if a sudden gust of wind toppled the 6-foot polyurethane blow-up and there was no one there to get it back on its feet?

Oh, if you could only see the looks on the faces of the children as they stare in wonder at the detail in Tom's perfectly lacquered hair and fashionable print neck-tie.

And isn't that what the season is all about?


To hear podcasts featuring Kevin Cowherd, go to baltimoresun.com/Cowherd.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.