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.