Colts fans howling over bar manager's barbs

January 15, 2010
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More than 24 hours before kick-off and the hostilities spewing from the Colts-Ravens game are already boiling over.

Colts’ Peyton Manning and Ravens’ Ray Lewis are not involved. But it's turning out to be nasty and rancorous all the same.

Lots of the usual suspects—and a few unusual ones—are involved. That is to say, this dispute is between angry fans. And the battle lines are blurred.

It all started earlier this week when Mike Augustinos, manager of the local downtown bar Howl at the Moon, issued an invitation to Baltimore fans to come visit his bar before, during and after the Colts-Ravens game at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night.

Nothing wrong with that. After all, Augustinos is a transplant from the Baltimore area, and he has his allegiances.
But the next time he issues an invitation, he might want to consult with a public relations guru. Now he needs a crisis management cognoscente. Either way, Augustinos might want to add Myra Borshoff to his rolodex.

Augustinos put word out on Ravens Roost, a Ravens fan Web site, that Baltimore fans were welcome at Indy’s Howl at the Moon. Trouble is, in the same note, he went out of his way to say how “It sucks living in Colts Country …”

He also kindly pointed out how “horrible” the tailgate scene is in Indy. Eric Griffin, vice president of the Blue Crew, the Colts’ fan club, quickly put his own scathing note on-line, detailing the Crew’s 524-spot downtown parking lot, noting that the Blue Crew is alone among NFL fan clubs that own their own parking lot.
Apparently, Griffin thought Augustinos’ note amounted to fighting words. He wasn’t alone. Augustinos reported to police yesterday that he got several threats, and the Ravens booster apparently took them pretty seriously. OK, not even Myra can help you with that.

“You could do a Ravens promotion without [insert euphemism for dropping fecal matter] on the locals,” Griffin wrote in his note. “I hope that one game makes your annual budget.”

Yikes! Talk about fighting words. Boycott threats like that could certainly hit Howl in the pocketbook.

Augustinos and his bosses at Howl’s corporate tower in Chicago were in a spin mode Thursday that would make Dwight Freeney jealous.

Augustinos passed along a “sincere apology” in his on-line mea culpa.
“My comments never stated anything negative nor were they meant to be interpreted negatively about Colts fans,” Augustinos said in his note. “I, just the same as many of you, am passionate about my team. My comments about “horrible tailgating” were not intended to reflect negatively on the City of Indianapolis, The Indianapolis Colts, nor the fans. I made a bad choice in words when comparing Indianapolis to several other cities that I have been to for NFL games. I was only referring to the sheer size and area that which the tailgating is available takes place in.”

Again, Borshoff’s posse—with a little more carefully worded apology—might have helped kill this crisis once and for all.
But bygones, I say.
After all, Augustinos is the boss at the local Howl as he pointed out in his first letter to Ravens fans. That means he has the last say, sort of.

Bud Light’s for $2 all around on Saturday.

And it doesn’t matter what color jersey you’re wearing as long as the color of your money is green.

  • Business
    I bet this will come back to bite this guy. I will be surprised if he keeps his job after those shots. If profits go down in the next few months, he will be on a bus back to Baltimore.
  • He's forgetting something
    Why doesnt he touch on the fact that he said "it SUCKS living in Colts Country". Talk about "no negativity"?!?! Ya right buddy! I run a business myself and I cant imagine saying something like that. Not even for the team playing AGAINST our Colts. This is why a lawyer will advise anyone in a high profile position, such as GM of a nightclub, not to have a Facebook, Myspace, etc or post things coming from a personal perspective. I always liked that place, and as petty as it is, I know I can go get a $2 beer right down the street and know that my money isnt going to pay a paycheck of someone as ignorant as Mike Augustinos.
  • Blue Crew
    Maybe Augustinos should have taken note that he's only a couple of blocks away from that 524-spot Blue Crew lot before he insulted our tailgating.
  • Introduction
    Dumb, meet Dumber
  • Mike A
    Mike is a good guy FYI. I used to work for him at Howl at the Moon, and with him being a diehard Ravens fan, we both took shots at each others teams a lot, but it was all in good fun. I'm sure he wasn't being totally serious about all of this, and I'm sure us Colts fans have given him hell. That's part of Howl's show, is to make fun of people in good fun. That's one reason Howl is world famous for it's piano show. If you never have been to Howl, go and you will have a blast, guaranteed!
    • lots of Ravens fans coming
      I noticed today that there are lots of tickets to Saturday's game on StubHub and they are not much more than face value. I think that means lots of Colts fans are putting their tickets up for sale and the market is flooded. It will be a huge disappointment if a bunch of Colts fans sold out and Lucas Oil Stadium is packed with Ravens fans. Howl may be hopping more so than the Blue Crew's lot if that's the case. I sincerely hope it's not the case.
      • Out of Line
        Sure, his words were a little out of line and can easily be taken in a negative light. He is a fan of a different team and it sounds like people are calling for his blood because he runs Howl At the Moon (Indy) and should not voice his opinion about his favorite team on facebook. Here is the issue. It is FaceBook, he is a sports fan. Can anyone tell me that if they liked a different team, that they would not support that team?

        He also invited the Raven Fans over for drinks (before, during and after) the big game. Granted, he should choose his words wisely (being in a position he is in), but before you want to burn him at the stake, ask yourself this, "Have you ever said something or did something that you later regretted?"
      • Lots of Ravens fans coming
        Based upon Peyton's recent playoff history the Colt's fans figured why spend money on a losing cause.
      • lame
        Thanks for the Borshoff commercial and a non-story.
      • Fairness is in the eye of the Ticketholder
        You survived the worst recession since the Great Depression making a living running a successful piano bar and life sucks? He should be "singing" Indy's praises.

        It's not our city that serves as the media's example of urban decay, it's Baltimore. Don't believe me? Which episode of Homicide or The Wire should I point you to?

        Good intentions don't lead to business success, good decisions do. Unfortunately this is one decision that will live in infamy.
      • good riddance
        Hmm, that comment from Eric (or as his friends call him, Mike Augustino) seemed pretty smooth, maybe he should've made that statement to begin with to encourage Ravens fans to come partake in from friendly drinking/jousting.

        Also, Howl at the Moon has the highest prices around and is NOT worth it. A $10 dollar cover AND 5 dollar bottles? Unacceptable when there are so many better options close by, especially in Indianapolis. If I want my wallet to be raped whenever I want to have a good time, I will go to Chicago, thank you.
      • News story? Give me a break!
        The man is welcome to his opinion, and he has a right to cheer on any team that he wants. You want to boycott the place, then boycott the place. Him voicing his opinion the way he did may have been a little stupid, but again, he can have whatever opinion he wants. But I hardly think this is going to affect his business long-term. People will forget this very quickly. The media is making this a story, when it shouldn't be one at all.

        And just because he now lives in Indianapolis, doesn't mean he has to cheer on the Colts. I am a die-hard Colts fan, and when I moved to another state... I certainly did not cheer on the team of that area. I proudly wore my Colts jersey to the bar every Sunday (since I could only see the national games on TV).

        And, whatever he thinks of our "tailgating" scene is also his opinion. And if he doesn't like living here... that's his opinion too (sometimes people can't just pick up and move when they don't like a place).

        In the end... this is only being cooked up more by the local media. And again, if you don't want to go there because of what he said... then don't go there, but I don't think it will change the habits of many people (that bar is pretty packed on the weekends with long lines typically). Also, it's the only piano bar I know of in the city... so, if you like a piano bar, not really another option.

        From this Colts fan, there are 31 other teams in the league. And not everyone who is in Indy, is from here... so, they may root for another team. Get over yourselves!

        And Go Colts!
        • A better story
          The GQ article about Marvin Harrison is very interesting and a good read. The FBI is now involved in the case.
        • can't Say it better

          I can't say it better. Social grace wasn't great, but it is said, and he, like everyone else, is entitled to his opinion. I wish there were more people like you and just took a step back and tried to objectively see the "problem" at hand and not just call for blood like the others have.
        • Another take
          Maybe he's calling for Ravens fans and said (effectively) Indy sucks because business ISN'T as great as is should be over there at Howl at the Moon. I haven't been there, I don't know. But I'm old enough to remember the piano bar that preceded it (Little Ditty's) and recall that once you've been there, done that, the whole piano thing gets old after awhile.
        • @ Drew & Joe
          I'm glad you guys are so keen on pointing out Augustinos "rights" as an American. Just because you have the right to do something, doesn't mean you should do it. The rest of us are smart enough to know he has the right to his opinion and the right to post his opinion in a public forum. However, does he need to exercise his rights in such poor taste? Is it necessary to insult the very city and fans that support his establishment and, ultimately, his job? I think not. If he wants to exercise his rights, then I'd like to see him exercise his right to leave town and never come back. No one has said he can't be a Ravens fan, rather, they have defended their city and their team.
        • common sense
          Even thought that it part of the "show" at Howl, the guy should have enough sense not to take pot shots at the very people who pay his salary. As the old saying goes, "You don't @#$% where you eat."
        • Good Grief
          If people would get this worked up about something that actually matters...
        • @SteveJ
          SteveJ's post in a nutshell: "He doesn't agree with me, so he needs to leave"... Yeah, nice rebuttal.

          And there is a difference between "defending your city" and being ridiculous. And in my opinion, this is the latter. Also, I'm willing to bet that most people making a big deal out of this have never even been to Howl at the Moon and probably didn't have a desire to go (before this situation)... so, again, this probably isn't going to affect the place.
        • Rights
          Let's look at it this way. He has a right to make his comments and like whatever team he wants to. And the rest of us can do the same. So, if we choose to criticize his choices that's our perogative, and if that also includes boycotting the bar he runs, well that's an option someone in his position should have considered.

          There's a reason we've all heard the adage, "don't bite the hand that feeds you".
        • I would be curious for a 6 month update on this. Will this guy still be managing our local Howl then.

          All he had to do is invite Ravens fans to watch the game at his bar. Most cities have bars known for hosting fans of other teams. I hit one of these in San Diego a few months back to watch the Colts with fellow Colts fans. Indy has Steelers, Bears and Browns bars. His mistake was taking a swipe at the City where he hopes to make money in.
        • Facebook group
          There is even a huge Facebook group boycotting Howl at the Moon...

        • Wait
          Oh, I'm sorry... I didn't realize there was a Facebook group for this. Then it must be a big deal and I retract all of my previous statements. (I hope the sarcasm is coming through)

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