Midwesterners, you're not in Kansas anymore

January 11, 2007|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,Sun Columnist

This one's for all you Indianapolis Colts fans who'll be coming here for the big game and have heard all these stories about how crazed this town is and are wondering: Is it safe for me to visit?

Sure, it's safe.

Baltimoreans are a polite people and you can walk around in those nice white Peyton Manning jerseys and probably nothing will happen, aside from a few hard stares and someone occasionally rushing up from behind and pushing you to the sidewalk.

C'mon, I'm kidding! But you'll definitely notice how jacked up we are for the Colts-Ravens game in the NFL playoffs.

You'll notice how we keep rocking back and forth when we talk about the game, and how we keep tapping our feet and drumming our fingers and looking at our watches.

You'll notice how the whole town seems to be wearing purple jerseys and flying purple flags from cars, and how even the downtown buildings are lit up purple at night.

Yep, this game is huge for us.

It's bigger than the War of 1812, bigger than the Civil War, bigger even than Hairspray and the Ehrlich-O'Malley race.

I am not going to beat you over the head with a lot of blah-blah-blah about how that dope Irsay stole the Colts from us in the dead of night and moved them to your town and just about killed us, because that was like 100 years ago and people here should just get over it.

But don't think you can just waltz into town with your pretty-boy quarterback and eat our crabs and drink our beer and dance with our women, either.

First of all, our crabs aren't in season right now, so any crabs you stuff into your fat faces will come from Louisiana or Texas or someplace like that.

I guess you can drink our beer -- it's a free country, go ahead.

But our women don't have time to dance, on account of they're too busy slipping into their Ray Lewis jerseys and smearing boot-black under their eyes and delivering forearm smashes to the refrigerator, just to get up for the game.

If you plan to do a little sightseeing while you're here, you should know that Baltimore in January is not exactly the French Riviera.

The zoo is closed and the wind whipping around the Inner Harbor kind of discourages you from walking around or renting one of those paddleboats.

Camden Yards, our baseball cathedral, is locked up in anticipation of another fourth-place finish by the Orioles, and even the panhandlers are staying inside, nursing head colds.

A week ago, it was 65 degrees and sunny and people were playing golf and washing their cars in their driveways and thinking: Why does global warming get such a bad rap?

Why can't we just enjoy it? Maybe the polar bears could think of alternate food sources, such as zucchini.

But the weather won't be as nice while you're here, so you might want to take in a museum or a show, unless you plan to stay anchored to a bar stool at your downtown hotel and pay $14 for a Bud Light.

A word or two about the noise you can expect Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium.

(Yes, yes, that's the name of our stadium. Soul-less, sterile, corporate boot-licking at its finest. ... Did we sell out to the Man, or what?)

You think the fans make noise in your RCA Dome? (Ahem, speaking of corporate boot-licking ... and I hear your new stadium, scheduled to open in 2008, will be called Lucas Oil Stadium. Not exactly Lambeau Field, either, is it?)

Believe me, you've never heard the kind of noise you'll hear from Ravens fans Saturday.

These people will be fired up, Jack.

I don't know if our players are on steroids, but some of our fans could be, judging by their lung capacity.

It'll be so loud in that stadium you won't be able to hear yourself say: "Hey, beer-man, three over here! How much? Twenty-one bucks?!"

And if the Ravens get off to a great start and pick off a couple of your pretty-boy-quarterback's passes, it'll sound like the main runway at BWI for three hours.

(OK, that was a cheap shot. We have nothing against Peyton Manning. He's a great quarterback, nice guy, tireless fundraiser for charity, etc.

(But you know what? We're sick of seeing this guy in every single commercial on TV! Is there anything he doesn't endorse? MasterCard, Sprint, DirecTV -- Peyton, think about a hobby or something.)

Anyway, Indy fans, welcome to Baltimore.

Sorry for ragging on your quarterback.

And we, um, hope you enjoy your stay.

Sort of.


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