Any day now, or maybe next year, the Baltimore Browns will be all ours

This is for all you people in all those Podunk towns like Fresno and El Paso and Kalamazoo who wish you had an NFL football team like our Baltimore Browns, but you don't, so don't even bother.

Oh, sure, our Baltimore Browns are having a few problems right now, the main problem being that they stink.


This has led to their being clobbered, murdered, stomped, drilled, crushed and so forth in many of their games. Well, in seven of 11 games, anyway.

But so what? At least we have a football team. What do you hicks do for excitement on Sunday afternoons, head down to the Qwik-Mart at Ronnie's Sunoco?


This will probably turn you hayseeds green with envy, but I took my two boys to see their first Baltimore Browns game last week, and it was quite an experience.

Traffic wasn't a problem at all and when we got to Memorial Stadium there were plenty of seats, about 60,000 of them, in fact.

"So these are the Baltimore Browns," the 13-year-old said.

"Well, no, son," I said, "there's nothing going on here. See, the Baltimore Browns still play in Cleveland. But assuming the courts rule favorably and all the litigation is settled the way we want it to be and the other NFL owners agree to the move, the Baltimore Browns could play here next year, boys.

"Or maybe in 1998, God willing and the creek don't rise."

It was quiet for a moment, the three of us soaking up the atmosphere. Off in the distance you could hear a Dumpster being emptied and then this pop-pop-pop sound, which might have been small-arms fire, but maybe not.

Then the 4-year-old said: "Can we go home now, Dad?"

I said, sure, there wasn't much point in hanging around an empty stadium. Plus that pop-pop-pop sound seemed to be getting closer.


Anyway, this is the rich legacy we moms and dads in Baltimore can pass on to our kids now.

I bet you plowboys wish you could pass on this kind of football tradition to your kids, but you can't, so don't even try.

Of course, once the Baltimore Browns officially arrive, that's when the real excitement kicks in around here.

Because that's when we get to plunk down a thousand bucks for a Personal Seat License, plus the $40 or so for a game ticket, plus five bucks for parking, four bucks for a beer, three bucks for a hot dog and so on.

Then because all the good seats are snapped up for corporate use, we get to sit up in nosebleed territory where the players look like ants and the wind is blowing about 70 mph and there's always some frat boy named Justin who ends up puking on your shoes.

Man, that's living! And anyone who says it's not, well, I feel sorry for them. I really do.


Meanwhile, what are you hillbillies gonna do? Go bowling? Ha, ha, ha! You people are pathetic.

(By the way, we could go bowling if we wanted to. There are lots of bowling alleys in Baltimore. We'd just rather be doing something else on a Sunday afternoon than trying to pick up the 7-10 split.)

The fact is, whether you yokels believe it or not, we Baltimore Browns fans have really taken to this team.

Everywhere you go around town, people are talking about that Eric what's-his-name, the quarterback.

And don't they have a running back who's decent? Or is that the tight end?

Anyway, what difference does it make? We know all we have to know about these guys.


And the main thing we know is, they're not playing in whatever backwater you happen to live in. They're playing right here in Baltimore, baby.

Or they might be.

Still, if there's one thing that really burns our bacon here in Baltimore, it's that a lot of you bog-trotters have taken to saying nasty things about our new owner, Art Modell.

You're calling him a traitor, liar, coward, money-grubber, carpetbagger, con man, swindler, cheat, back-stabber, etc.

To which we say: Picky, picky, picky.

So the man isn't perfect. So he has a few flaws. Big deal. He still wears a pretty snazzy topcoat, doesn't he?


What is that baby, camel's hair? It's sharp-looking, you gotta give him that.

Meanwhile, what are you cider-squeezers wearing these days, yellow slickers?

L With those little plastic rain hats that tie under the chin?

Honestly, I feel sorry for you people.

I really do.