Jeff Cascone of Bel Air, left, and his son, Brandon, 5, play on… (Jon Sham, Baltimore Sun…)
Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" boomed across a sea of purple, as several hundred Baltimore Ravens fans of all ages shimmied and shook and exchanged high-fives inside Looney's Pub North in Bel Air late Friday afternoon.
And there wasn't even a game yet!
The occasion was a pep rally in advance of Saturday's AFC divisional playoff game between the Ravens and Broncos in Denver, and the Ravens faithful, who ranged in age from a baby of a few months to a smattering of seniors, were already pumped up for the big game, still almost 24 hours away.
The mere mention of the name Ray Lewis over the sound system by emcee and DJ Tyler Daniel, of WXCY-FM, sent the purple clad multitude into raucous cheers. When the face of Broncos QB and Ravens nemesis Peyton Manning showed up on one of the big screen TVs, the lusty boos from the faithful drowned out the music, although not many had appeared to be listening, anyway.
Friday's rally was organized by the Bel Air Downtown Alliance and was originally planned for Armory Park, but the threat of rain that turned into sprinkles by mid-afternoon prompted the Alliance to move the rally a few blocks south on Main Street to inside Looney's. That turned out to be a smart decision, as it was raining steadily by the time the rally got under way.
None of those who came seemed to mind the change of venue. There were plenty of unusual Ravens get-ups to behold, including a purple man and two female fans sporting wigs with twinkling purple lights.
Also making the scene were two of Harford County's uber-fans, Matt "Fan Man" Andrews and Rick "Ravin' Rick" Dixon, who parked their ubiquitous Fan Man Bus right outside the main entrance. Joining the bus was Flavor Cupcakery's mobile van.
Midway through the rally, Andrews and Dixon mounted the stage, and Andrews let out with a spirited recitation of the lyrics to the Ravens Fight Song that would have done a poet by the name of Poe extremely proud.
The two then asked the fans to join them in reciting the words (they had handed handbills with the lyrics earlier) and, like the song says, those Bel Air fans stood high and showed plenty of "fierce pride" in their eyes. Go Ravens!