I was going to save this for when the Steelers and Ratbirds play in a couple weeks, but the Baltimore Sun beat me to the punch when it ran a letter this week from a Denver Broncos fan highlighting the threats and boorish, abusive behavior she and her husband endured in the stands at last week’s Broncos/Ratbirds game. Especially nice were the racial taunts directed at her husband and the indifference of the stadium staff.
On Saturday there were several more letters run. One was from a 5’2” female Bengals fan who came all the way from North Carolina and had got pushed into the row in front of her by a 6’ biker-looking guy. (After her boyfriend left to go to the bathroom, naturally.) The helpful stadium security staff then had HER thrown out of the game, because 6’ Biker Guy said she swung at him.
Then there was the letter from the 60-year old New York man and his wife that were shoved and threatened.
There seems to be a common theme here… idiot Ratbird fans harassing the small and the weak, kind of like their carrion-eating namesakes. It’s no surprise that the stadium security people are no help. Believe me; if there is any kind of altercation, the people in the opposing jerseys are going home. I believe every word of those letters, because I know what happened to me last year.
My family has been going to Steelers away games since the early 80’s. I’ve been to Cleveland, Cincinnati, Tampa, Detroit, Green Bay, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Miami and obviously Baltimore. (I’ll be working in the many corresponding stories in future posts.) My dad and my brother have been to even more. We always dress in our Steelers game gear, so we know that there’s going to be some smack-talk. It’s expected and enjoyed. But nevertheless, I still expect to be able to go to a game and root for my team without being threatened with violence. And I know that there are some visiting fans that are just as stupid… turning around and inciting the people around them, hot-dogging and gloating whenever something happens. I have no sympathy for these clowns. You don’t poke the bear when there are a few of you and 60 thousand bears.
I used to think the fans in Cleveland were animals, but they pale as compared to Ratbird fans. At least Browns fans actually know their football. The upper deck at the Ratbird Stadium is like Darwin’s waiting room. They seem to think that the Eagles fans are role models although I’ve never seen or heard a dumber caliber of football fan. They make Jessica Simpson sound like Stephen Hawking. The comments I hear, whether directed at me or not, just defy explanation. I called one of them on it once, (I forget what the guy was yelling about) and they’re like, “Hey, we can yell whatever we want.”
To which I said, “Yeah, but you at least got to make sense!”
"Hey, Liberace called... he said your getup was a bit much."
Anyway, I was in the upper deck in Baltimore last December, when the previous exchange took place. As you may remember, this was the game the Ratbirds lost on an 91-yard drive in the final 2 minutes, capped by Santonio’s catch at the goal line that, after review, was called a touchdown. Game over, the cries of persecution poured from the tiny-brained masses.
I was sitting on the aisle, with my cousin beside me, waiting for a chance to step into the aisle and get the hell out of there. It was pretty packed, and you know how steep those upper deck sections are, so I had to be careful.
As I’m looking up the aisle, I see a 50 or 60-something dude shuffle by. I’m not saying a word, and he just looks at me and says, rather menacingly “Fuck you.”
Not wanting to start an incident with some white-haired old coot, I smiled and said, “Have a nice ride home!”
Out of nowhere, the guy behind him, another 50-something comes at me and pushes me over into the seatbacks in front of me. One minute I’m standing there with my hands at my sides, the next I’m flying into the seatbacks. Typical chickenshit Ratbird cheapshot… you know, the kind they always cry about Hines Ward taking. And these are grownups, not a couple of drunken college kids.
My cousin pulled me up again and I just started letting the invective fly. I don’t remember everything I screamed at that asshole, but I know the term “jagoff” was used. But they were already 6-7 steps down the crowded aisle and heading out of there. Obviously there were no stadium personnel to be found. In fact, they’re gone once they’ve determined that no one has any homemade signs that are derogatory to the Rats. They’re not good for anything else. I was so mad I couldn’t see straight.
Then walking out of there, there are these 2 young jagoffs walking right behind us, talking loudly to “themselves” but really to us, about Hines and using the terminology typical of one with a 3rd grade vocabulary and other garbage, trying to bait us into a fight.
I was so mad you could have fried an egg on my forehead. (And there’s room for an omelet, believe me.) The next day I had a bruise on the side of my hip the size of a softball and the color of an eggplant. I wish I had taken a picture, so consider yourselves lucky that you have been spared the sight of the side of my bare ass. (OK, I would have cropped the crap out of it.)
In a couple weeks, I’ll repost another item of “Classic Bluz” that illustrates, beyond this story, the depths of my hatred toward this provincial, bush-league organization. Till then, those poor fans from Denver, North Carolina and New York have my complete sympathy. But at least they don’t have to live here.
I’m going to try out my other new throwback jersey tonight… the Heath Miller #83, because I think we need to really put up some points. I don’t like that the defense is already down 3 starters. (Ryan Clark, Lawrence Timmons and Travis Kirschke who is already subbing for Aaron Smith) So Heath, it is, over the gold Steeler Tee along with the Steelers flannel jammy pants and Steelers socks.
To get ready for the game, I’ll leave you with this, courtesy of Dan Gigler at the Post Gazette’s Blog n Gold.