As we all know, there's a certain segment of Ravens Nation that thrives on gloom and paranoia.
To these fans, everything that happens to the Ravens is a crisis.
No injury is too minor that it can't spell catastrophe. No move by another team is too insignificant that it can't derail the Ravens' Super Bowl chances. Nothing that happens at 1 Winning Drive is too trivial that it can't be brooded and obsessed over for weeks.
Unfortunately, these lunatic fans have access to cell phones and email and social media outlets to spread their gospel of doom.
And because of the laws of this country, they're allowed to roam freely throughout the general populace, too.
So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when this guy walked up to me in a convenience store the other day and said: "Joe Flacco is absolutely going to stink this year. You can take that to the bank."
This, of course, is the downside to writing a column and having your photo in the newspaper and website: the weirdos can recognize you.
You know how a dog will always gravitate to the one person in the room who's terrified of him? This is the effect I seem to have on crazy fans.
"You watch," the guy said. "Now that he's a new dad, Flacco's game will go straight downhill."
The guy had a big smile plastered on his puss now and his eyes were bright and shiny with the certainty of his convictions.
So I did what I always do in these situations.
I looked around for the nearest exit.
But this guy, he blocked you better than Marshal Yanda. He stood there in the middle of the aisle, yapping and holding his 16-oz. hazelnut coffee or whatever it was, and there was nowhere to make a clean break.
In my younger days, I would have done some kind of spin move and maybe hurtled toward the beef jerky section to get away.
But now I was trapped.
So I had to listen to the guy theorize that now that Flacco and his wife, Dana, were the proud new parents of a son, Stephen, the Ravens quarterback would be too exhausted and distracted to do a good job on the field.
"You remember what being a new dad was like," the guy said. "All the interrupted sleep. The diaper-changing. The 3 a.m. feedings."
Vaguely, I said. It's been a while since my kids were babies.
"You don't think all that takes a toll on you?" the guy added. "It almost killed me. I don't think I could have played football while that was going on."
As gently as possible, I tried to point out to my new friend that he wasn't exactly an NFL quarterback. And that quarterbacks — the good ones, anyway — are used to blocking out distractions and focusing intently on the next game each week.
Besides, I said, nothing much seems to rattle Flacco. That's part of what makes him so good. You could probably set off a small nuclear device near him and the first words out of his mouth once the smoke cleared and he climbed out of the rubble would be: "What's for lunch?"
So I don't see the arrival of a new baby throwing Flacco's world off its axis.
"Go ahead," the guy said, "keep your head in the clouds. Put a positive spin on it. That's what you media types love to do anyway."
Unbelievable. I thought we media types were always accused of being too negative. Now it was my world that was spinning off its axis.
"You'll see when training camp rolls around," the guy said. "Flacco won't be able to concentrate like he should. He'll show up with big bags under his eyes."
Big deal. I have bags under my eyes, too. But they're from editors.
If it makes you feel any better, I said, Ben Roethlisberger and his wife are expecting their first baby, too. Using your harried-new-dad theory, that should pretty much doom the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And that would be a big plus for the Ravens, right? I can see the headline now: "New baby causes hated division rival to go down in flames."
Big surprise: this didn't seem to make my new buddy feel any better.
He gave me a dirty look and stomped off to pay the cashier.
Just when we were starting to hit it off, too.
Listen to Kevin Cowherd Tuesdays at 7:20 a.m. on 105.7 The Fan's "The Norris and Davis Show."