Thursday, July 03, 2008

M&T Bank Stadium a no fly zone for ravens?

What would we talk about regarding the Ravens during this, the Dead Zone period in the NFL if it weren’t for good ole Derrick Martin carrying 3 baggies of Mother Earth through airport security checkpoints in Cleveland?

Look let’s not be naïve here, these athletes are a reflection of society. They are part of an experimental by nature demographic. The percentage of professional athletes who are tempted by marijuana is probably no different than a cross-section of men in a like peer group. That said if given a choice between an athlete smoking pot at home or having him out in Canton throwing back Jaeger Bombs, I think he’s safer at home.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning Martin’s behavior. It’s really rather laughable but in a sad way. Martin is a sixth round draft choice entering his third season. To date he’s proven almost nothing. He has an opportunity to contribute on a defense that annually is among the league’s best. He’s part of a defensive system that has an uncanny knack for getting the most from an athlete’s skills sets and elevating them to levels that a second day draft choice or an unrestricted free agent could previously only have dreamed of.

Just ask Adalius Thomas, Bart Scott, Will Demps, Ed Hartwell, Kelly Gregg and Dawan Landry.

Yet despite it all, Martin had a momentary lapse of reasoning that will probably cost him dearly.

Some might say that Martin was just flat out dumb!

I am one of those some.

This particular incident may not affect Martin at all in terms of the league’s substance abuse policy. But now he’s surrounded by undesirable red flags and for an unproven sixth round draft choice that is about as inviting to prospective new employers in the Goodell Era as a match to spilled gasoline in a tiki bar.

Derrick Martin’s transgressions aren’t the only “newsworthy” Ravens’ items being bantered these days. The Ravens have wisely leaked word during the Dead Zone that Edgar, Allen and Poe aren’t the only ravens that we’ll see at M&T Bank Stadium this season. The team plans on flying a live raven through the billowing smoke and throughout the stadium during team introductions. Pretty cool idea if you ask me.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (“PETA”) disagree.

Via a letter (that I’m sure a homing pigeon DID NOT deliver) PETA has reached out to Gabrielle Dow, the Ravens' vice president of marketing. The letter urges her to abandon this fun idea and encourages Dow and the Ravens to prohibit the use of live animals at Ravens games.

Does that mean no more Steelers’ fans are allowed in any more?

I digress…

Anyway PETA sees the bright lights of M&T, The Commodore Hotel, maniacal fans and raucous noises as threatening to the birds which apparently they believe is unethical.

I wonder what the bird thinks?

Hey what about that red-tailed hawk that lives at Fenway. She likes the accommodations so much she’s raising her family there.

What’s the big deal? For 8 minutes per season, the bird is fed well, nourished, protected and loved in exchange for enduring a few loud noises. Seems like a pretty good trade to me. Maybe it’s the Dead Zone for PETA too and they are digging for something to crow about.

"If the Ravens want to increase fan support, they don't need cheap gimmicks. They just need to start winning games," says PETA Director Debbie Leahy.


But hey these gimmicks aren’t cheap! By their own admission the Ravens spent well into four figures for each of the birds they plan to use and I’m sure their intensive training isn’t cheap either.

Leahy added, “Edgar Allan Poe would be spinning in his grave if he knew that his poem had prompted Baltimore to harm ravens in the name of marketing."

Ah cut it out Debbie! That is a total reach. You know as well as I Edgar would have traded his principle for another bottle of Cognac and the only thing spinning would have been his bed or some comfortable sidewalk in Fells Point.

Sorry Mr. Poe, I admit it. That was a bit of a humiliating kick in the crotch.

Speaking of which, the Arizona Diamondbacks placed catcher Chris Snyder on the 15-day DL Tuesday with a left testicular fracture. According to reports Snyder left Monday night's game after being hit in the groin area by a foul tip and underwent an MRI on Tuesday.

I’ve got a very bad visual going on right about now…

And since we are talking about vision, the Kansas City Chiefs don’t want to impair yours. Recently the team issued the “Chiefs Fan Code of Conduct.” Here’s how it reads on the team’s official website:

The Kansas City Chiefs are committed to creating a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience for our fans. When attending a game, the stadium staff will proactively intervene to support an environment where event patrons, their guests and other fans can enjoy the event, free from the following behaviors:

• Foul, obscene, offensive or abusive language or actions
• Excessive standing and/or obstructing the view of other fans
• Intoxication or other signs of impairment
• Smoking except in designated areas
• Fighting and unruly or inconsiderate behavior
• Obscene or indecent clothing or signs
• Conduct that endangers spectators or participants
• Harassment of visiting team fans
• Interfering with the progress of the game, going onto the field orthrowing any object onto the field
• Failing to follow instructions of stadium personnel
• Selling items or tickets in the stadium or on sports complex grounds
• Attempting to sit in a location other than the guest’s ticketed seat
• Destroying property

The “behavior” that jumps off the page at me is “excessive standing and/or obstructing the view of other fans.”

Sorry but that one is ridiculous. Teams spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to get the fans pumped up; one team proudly hoists a “12th man” flag; players constantly encourage the fans to whoop it up and now everyone has to sit down?

Look if you want to sit down, stay at home in your living room.

What’s next, if you scream too loud into the ear of the person sitting in front of you your season tickets will be revoked? Folks if the Ravens adopt a similar policy (and we can almost see it coming) and the neo-Nazis at M&T are all too happy to enforce, don’t be surprised to see my PSL’s on the auction block.

And last but not least, a few quick thoughts….

Brett Favre is considering a comeback. I have one word for that: ZZZZ…You’ve gotta love the guy who bought the Barry Bonds 756 ball for $753,000 and donated it to Cooperstown with an asterisk written on it…Give Aubrey Huff some credit. He admitted his mistake and swallowed some humble pie. He’s now relaxed and producing. Great stuff! So when will he be traded Andy?... A judge has declared a mistrial in the assault case of former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry. I wonder if the Cowboys are now interested…

Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan says that he can understand Roger Goodell’s statement of the obvious regarding rookie contracts being so outrageous. "You can also understand the other side of it, the concern of veterans who have been in the league 10, 12 years and proven themselves but not seen the money," Ryan said in a phone interview Tuesday. "I can understand both sides."

Now there’s a gutsy statement coming from a rookie who just signed a $72 million, six-year contract that included $34.75 million in guaranteed payola…


Anonymous said...

Imagine complaining when, "Dixie", of old Baltimore Colt mascot fame, was prancing around the stadium. PETA fanatics need to, "get a life!" As for standing during games, there is a time and place for everything, EXCEPT when it interferes with those behind you. Some of us old "codgers" can't stand for an entire game and when those in front of us do, they impair our vision of the field of play. "Seat" owners deserve the right to enjoy the game from their "seats", while those who choose to stand for an entire game should do so in areas where they're not obstructing the view of others. What good is paying for a "seat" with an "unobstructed view" if someone in front of you is going to obstruct your view by standing? So, "down in front", please!