It's September and time to change your bird - and not a moment too soon. With the Orioles finding humiliating and even historic ways to lose baseball games, Baltimore's sports fans are crying out for a team worthy of their adulation. Fortunately, it just so happens there is one available.
The Ravens are back. Praise to the National Football League's Poe-men. The team opens its season in front of a national television audience tomorrow night in Cincinnati against the Bengals and their high-powered offense. Baltimore is a slight underdog.
The Ravens have the best defense in football, and last year their offense was much improved. They finished the regular season with a 13-3 record, tied for second best in the league. They lost in the playoffs to the Team-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named but gave them their toughest game of the post-season.
Still, the men in purple always play best with a chip on the shoulder. It gets the team motivated, especially those hard-hitters on defense.
Sure, they enter the season with some question marks. Every team does. Their best offensive lineman is injured. The new running back is talented but has a history of injury. They lost a talented linebacker to free agency. Bad stuff happens.
But this is a playoff-caliber team - and you can bet they won't be giving up 30 points to an opponent. Sadly, they are the only pro team in town that can make that claim.
Fed up with losing? Nevermore. Well, at least not most of the games on the schedule - and assuming no spate of major injuries.
Put the beer on ice and pass the pretzels. Let's go, Ravens.