Fans bring party to different bay

The Scene

Ravens Gameday

October 08, 2007|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTER

San Francisco -- From one city by the bay to another, Steve O'Neil felt right at home.

Despite being in a hostile environment in an opposing city, O'Neil, 28, was able to eat food, drink beverages, and whoop it up with other Ravens fans before yesterday's game between the Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

"I've been blown away all weekend," said O'Neil, a 1997 graduate of Boys' Latin who lives in Washington. "We saw guys in bars and on the streets with Ravens jerseys and hats on. It's been building all weekend."

O'Neil was able to party alongside other Ravens fans in a reserved area outside Monster Park courtesy of Nick Lockwood. Lockwood, a 28-year-old bond trader who grew up in Baltimore and graduated from the Naval Academy in 2001, reserved a Party Pavilion Tailgate package for 50 fans as soon as the NFL schedules were released and he learned that the Ravens would be visiting the 49ers.

"In the beginning, I was thinking that I might get only 20 people and that I would have to pay for the other 30," Lockwood said,, adding that each spot cost about $200. "I took a chance, but I was pretty sure that the Ravens fans would come out."

Lockwood's faith was rewarded when all 50 spots were filled by training camp. In fact, so many fans requested a spot that Lockwood twice asked for 10 more places before the allotment of spots was capped at 70.

"I want it to be so that every time we're playing California teams, it's a home game for the Ravens," said Lockwood, who lives in Mill Valley, Calif., and splurged for a bus to pick up the Ravens backers. "There's nothing like watching a game in Baltimore, but it'll be fun to be with 70 other people cheering them on."

Two of those 70 people were father and son Jim and Luke Gilbert. Jim, a 57-year-old car salesman from Cambridge, said he hadn't thought about traveling to yesterday's game until his son, who lives in San Francisco, urged him to reconsider.

"It's incredible," the elder Gilbert said, adding that he was joined by about 30 more Ravens fans on the flight from Baltimore. "It's turned into one big party."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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