Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ratbird Apocalypse

As I’m sure you know by now, the worst has happened.  The Ratbirds won the Super Bowl.  It’s appropriate that it happened the day after Groundhog Day, because now I have to look forward to six more weeks of gloating.  The terrorists have won.

I came in to work yesterday going full-on Johnny Cash; I was the Man in Black… black tee shirt, dress shirt, slacks, shoes, coat, hat and soul.  When I ducked into my boss’s office to grumble, she said, “You mean you’re not happy for us?

I just gestured toward my outfit and said, “I was going to wear the full black veil, but I thought it might be a bit much.

On my walk past the hotel I pass every day, the Bellman stood out in front of me. He’s seen me walk by him a couple hundred times in a Steelers hat, so he said, “I want to see what hat you have on today…” 

I just kept moving and said, “It’s hockey season now, baby.”  He should have been paying better attention… I’ve been wearing Pens hats ever since January.

Now today, to show I’m slowly moving on, I’m wearing a black and gray checked shirt with gray pants.  Tomorrow, I should be back to my usual living color.

They had the parade this afternoon, marching down to the Inner Harbor and then over to the stadium.  Pinky had been making noises about wanting to come down to see it.  She wanted to know if I might want to go with her.

Seriously, sometimes it’s like she doesn’t even know me.  Sorry, while I’d be happy to take her out to lunch afterward, she’d be on her own for this one.  I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d less like to be than standing out in the cold, surrounded by a hundred thousand Ratbird fans, watching them celebrate.

She decided this morning not to go, (which I knew she would), so I was off the hook.  I mean, I totally wasn’t going to go, but now I don’t have to hear about it the next time she gets pissed at me.

At least the Baltimore economy is getting a little boost.  Unlicensed merch sales must be through the roof by now.  I saw a guy this morning selling $10 Championship tee shirts outside the subway entrance.  Nice hustle.  I’m in the market for a nice Ravens doormat.  That way, I can wipe my feet on it every night.

A couple of people have asked me why I hate the Ratbirds so much.  I suppose I take it for granted that you already know.  But to be fair, I wrote about it some time ago and I’ve picked up a couple of new readers since then.

I first documented my Rattie antipathy in 2009, by reposting something I’d actually written a few years before that.  Like I always tell people, my hostility is not arbitrary; I have numerous very specific and personal reasons.  “Purple Stain” covers every reason I can’t stand the Ratbirds, from their history in Cleveland, to punk players, a doofus owner, bush league stadium tactics, idiot fans, and a general refusal to accept responsibility for any shortcomings, on the field or off.

Then there was the time I was physically assaulted in their stadium; cheap-shotted by some sore loser.  And I certainly wasn’t the first.  I did a post where I told my story, plus those of some other people that had written to the Baltimore Sun, to tell of the abuse they faced in that giant purple toilet.

Listening to the local media this week almost made me hurl.  It was funny because before the game was even over, I could see the Rattie fans and local media lining up their excuses, namely the blackout that delayed the game by a half hour.  Right now, they claim it would have been a blowout, if it wasn’t for that delay. 

They keep citing “momentum” as if that’s some kind of measurable resource, and that San Francisco had the chance to “regroup.”  They ignore that they just came out of halftime.  Any “regrouping” the Niners did came during the elongated halftime show.  But no one wants to hear that.

Also, it’s laughable how the fans and sportscasters are falling all over themselves to discount what should have been an Illegal Contact call during the Niners’ last possession.  The company line is that A) the receiver initiated contact and B) for some reason, the refs aren’t supposed to call penalties at the end of the Super Bowl.  (???)  And I’m not even talking about the fan base… I heard the local sportscasters saying that this morning… the guys that are supposed to know better.

All I can tell you is that if the situation was reversed, and the Ravens were attempting a game-winning drive and were thwarted by uncalled illegal contact, they’d be screaming bloody murder.

“It’s a fix!  The league doesn’t want us to win!  Goodell told the refs not to make the calls!  We were robbed!  We’re the rightful champions!  No one beat us but the refs!”

And on and on.  You think I’m kidding, but that’s a stone cold fact.  That was exactly the local angle every time the Rats lost to the Steelers in the playoffs.

Anyway, I’m trying to see things in a positive light.  Joe Flacco, their quarterback who was named Super Bowl MVP, is a free agent this year.  The dude is going to get paid.  And when you load up $100 million on one guy, you have so much less to spend on the rest of the team.  So I’m thinking that they are going to have to let some of their guys walk.  They can’t re-sign everybody.  Such is the downside of winning it all.  It’s a bitch to repeat.

Best of all, I never have to watch Ray Lewis play again.
Ray Lewis, under a sign that says it all.

Sigh.  So I just tell people, “Win four more, and THEN we can talk.”

In the meantime, it’s hockey season!  My Penguins are in 1st place in their division and within a point of 1st place overall. 

Everyone else around here can go puck themselves.


Mary Ann said...

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST the ravens fersure. Yes. We no longer need to see ray lewis, the BEAST. BEAUTY Flacco continues to make the big bucks.

bluzdude said...

I predict a Super Bowl hangover record of 9-7 next year.

Valerie said...

So disappointing. My little bro is a huge Niners fan. Poor lil guy is heartbroken.



bluzdude said...

He'll get the last laugh when the Niners keep getting back to the Super Bowl. They have a lot of talent.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I feel sorry for you, being caught in the eye of the storm and all. Worst. Super Bowl. Ever. And I didn't watch one second of it, not even the halftime show. Did Beyonce actually sing this time? And who's the bigger fraud: someone who gets paid to press 'play' and mime for a minute and a half, or someone who (allegedly) uses deer antler spray to rehab a torn triceps in less than two months when other (legit) players are out for six?

Ray, Ray, go away. Well, at least no one ended up dead this time.

The sad part is I'm actually happy the Rats won. No, that's not correct. I'm slightly less annoyed than I would be if the Niners had won. Hate to say it, but my Packers fandom played a part in that. Baltimore has some grade-A D-bags: Lewis, Suggs, Joe Flacco who can't stop bitching about getting paid and thinks that awarding his home state the next SB is "retarded". And let's not overlook the fact that the franchise shouldn't exist in the first place. But if Randy Moss had actually won a Super Bowl I might never watch football again. Colin Kaepernick makes me want to vomit. Embarrassing the Pack is one thing; our D couldn't catch a cold. But the whole kissing your bicep thing is such a douche move. (pretty sure Joe Montana never did that and he won 4 SB's) And trademarking it? Why, so you can make money off of being a self-obsessed asshole? "Tebowing" might be annoying as shit, but at least he was giving props to someone else (theology debate aside).

Then there's that db who hates gay people and plays for San Francisco. Yeah. That might have been the deal-breaker for me. Moss and Lewis cancel each other out, but when one side has a guy who advocates for gay marriage and the other side has a guy who thinks gay players should stay in the closet? That's what it came down to for me. I'm happy for Brendon Ayanbadejo. And O.J. Brigance. And Ray Rice, kinda.

But I would have been much, much happier if the lights stayed off and the game was never finished. Ever.

bluzdude said...

Don’t forget, the Ratties also have anti-gay players, including Matt Birk, who campaigned publicly against Question 6, which legalized gay marriage in Maryland. He just didn’t do it during Super Bowl Week, so the rest of the country never noticed.

Montana may never have kissed his biceps after a score, but he did show up on that guy’s shirt.

Yes, Beyonce sang live, but I pretty much don’t give a crap. She might be hot and all, but I wouldn’t give you a dime for her music. I still think they should book AC/DC to play halftime. Not that’s football music.

If I didn’t live in Baltimore, the needle might have moved for me a little further in the Ratbirds direction. But faced with living among these self-celebratory revelers for the next year, I just can’t get there.

Jessica R. said...

As soon as it happened, I thought, "Oh man, Bluz isn't going to be happy." On to hockey!

bluzdude said...

Well, as they say, "suffering builds character." In a month or two, I ought to be loaded with it.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Quite the vitriolic diatribe there, Bluz. You might need to let that hatred go a bit.

I am a fan. I am a true blue Baltimorian (not really, but I work here), and I have always had pride in my hometown teams. I think a lot of what you say about the "ratbirds" as you call them, could similarly be said about most, if not all other teams. Including your Steelers. Teams are made up of people and are played in cities made up of people. All human. Every single one has faults and makes mistakes. Whether it's saying something dumb in the media, having an opinion you don't agree with, committing some kind of crime (whether obstruction of justice - Ray, or possible sexual assault - Ben) which then taints the team around them as "criminals," incidents in stadiums/city celebrations/rioting in the streets which is shameful and unnecessary, but happens in every single city at some point by over-exuberant fans. This is the world of football.

This is your blog, and obviously you HATE the Ravens and have mentioned it many times. I don't usually comment on these posts, because we have differing views on this subject. I will not convince you to love the Ravens, and you will never convince me to love the Steelers. It's just how that goes. We have very similar views on a lot of topics, but this is one in which we will always disagree.

But I went to the parade. I saw the excited fans and the general spirit of revelry that this positive event brought to the city. A city which is almost bankrupt. That needs some celebration every once in a while. I was happy to be a fan. And still am. No, I am not a huge Ray fan. I think he is an overly showy, false humility, god card playing kook. But some of the other players and the organization itself is full of good people. Talented people doing their jobs every day, without pointing to the sky every time they have an accomplishment. And Joe deserves to be paid. He is a quality QB. Best in the league? No. But good and deserving of that recognition.

Ok, that's enough . . . sorry. This is why I don't usually comment on these posts. We could go back and forth on this for days . . .

Unapologetically Mundane said...

I thought about the six trophies in your header as I was watching the Ravens win, I'll admit. I also thought about what you've written about Ray Lewis. You ruined the whole thing for me.

bluzdude said...

You should check out the supplementary links, where I spell out specifically why I feel the way I do. Like I said, it’s not arbitrary. I react to what I personally observe and what has happened directly to me.

Besides, it’s the rivalry that makes it fun. Every hero has to have an enemy, no matter whose side you’re on.

If you’ll look, I never said anything about the parade, other than how I wouldn’t be caught dead there, (any more than you would be caught dead at a Steelers parade.) It is too bad that they couldn’t figure out a way to get the team to the starting point on time. A couple of my team members at work went down there, but came back after standing around in the cold for an hour with nothing to see.

I can admit that with Lewis retiring, it makes the Ratties a bit less hate-worthy. There ARE certain players I like and admire, and would have on my team any day. Ray Rice is incredible. Anquan Boldin is a total beast, who almost always comes down with the ball. (He reminds me of Hines.) Haloti Ngata is a freak of nature, who is probably the best nose tackle in the game, when he’s healthy. Flacco? Good guy and a good QB, although he better think hard about how much of a contract he demands. He’s got to leave enough on the table so that some of his teammates can be retained too. It won’t be much fun to be a $100 million dollar QB on a 6-10 team. And Steve Bischotti seems to be a good guy, who cares about his team and his city. I have no quibble with him at all.

BUT, until they stop with the bush league in-stadium slights (that they brought with them from Cleveland), and take fan on fan violence seriously, (other than just throwing out whoever is not wearing Ravens gear), they will never earn my respect. You want to see what I’m talking about? Try wearing an opposing jersey to a Ravens game… any jersey. Then you’ll see how your good-hearted Baltimoreans really treat people.

I’ve seen 13 football games in Pittsburgh and in all my years, I’ve seen exactly one fight. And that was yinzer on yinzer violence... As Security was escorting a guy out for having a flask, he dove on the guy that ratted him out and started swinging. I was kind of bummed about the whole thing, because the guy had given me a couple of swigs.

I’ve been to games all over the country as an opposing fan and have never been treated as shabbily as I routinely was down at that purple toilet. Some people earn poor treatment because they act like idiots, but I do absolutely nothing to become a target, other than by just being there in a Steeler jersey.

Lastly, thanks for your comment. Feel absolutely free to comment any time. It’s just football. Too bad we didn’t have a lunch bet on the game… you’d have made out. (Of course if I was actually placing bets on the game, I would have bet on the Ravens and taken the points. I can totally separate who I want to win from who I think will win.)

bluzdude said...

Whole thing? What whole thing? Football? The Ravens winning? Birds in general?

red pen mama said...

Thank you for solidifying for me why I dislike Ravens so much. Still can't recall the bitter rivalry feelings for the current Brownies.

Let's go, Pens!

bluzdude said...

Everything the Ravens do wrong, the Brownies did first. And then they broke their city’s heart… a city that actually supported the team! The locals here always moan about losing the Colts, but at the time, they were not selling out the stadium like Cleveland was. (And the Browns had a larger and much uglier stadium, too. It held almost 80 thousand people!)

But I agree… when the current Browns start winning games, then they might become a real rival again. But they’ve had such constant turnover both in management and ownership, it’s no wonder they still haven’t gotten their act together.

And oh, I’m just loving hockey season so far. Let’s Go Pens!