Baltimore isn't known as the City of Great Sports Billboards. But perhaps it should be.
A taunting billboard that went up in January, shortly after the Ravens beat the Patriots in the AFC playoffs, was called the "Best Sports Billboard Ever" by columnist Jessica Isner of bleacherreport.com.
The billboard, put up by Clear Channel Outdoor's DC/Baltimore branch on all 19 of its digital billboards in the city, proudly announced that Ray Lewis' retirement party was being put off until Feb. 3 -- not coincidentally, the date of Super Bowl XLVII.
The billboard added, in smaller but still prominent type, "New England not invited."
(For Isner's full list of her 20 "Best Sports Billboards Ever," click here.)
It should be noted that the Baltimore billboard was put up in response to one put up by Clear Channel's Boston branch. On that one, created in anticipation of what New Englanders unfathomably considered a sure Patriots win, a digital clock counted down the days to Lewis' retirement party -- which coincided with the day of the AFC championship game vs. the Ravens.
"Well played, Baltimore," Isner noted. "Well played."
Said Steve Ginsburg, president of Clear Channel Outdoor DC/Baltimore: "We love Baltimore and the Ravens and were happy to donate our creative energy and billboard space to our hometown."
Also last week, a new billboard went up on I-95 south, just before the O'Donnell Street exit, promoting the Charm City Roller Girls, Baltimore's entry in the Women's Fast Track Roller Derby Association. The ad, dripping with bad-girls attitude, was put up by MGH, a local communications agency that sponsored a contest offering to design a free billboard for one small Maryland business.
The billboard will remain up through June 27.
We don't know if the Roller Girls billboard will earn any Internet plaudits, but it definitely attracts attention -- and properly suggests these gals are not to be trifled with.