Friday, September 1, 2017

Pre-Season Ravens Game 2017

The pool/swim team had a fundraiser in July including a silent auction. I won tickets to the final pre-season game for the Baltimore Ravens. I took my oldest son, who hadn't gone to a professional football game yet. We found some cheap parking through Parking Panda and had a fifteen-minute walk to the stadium. That walk included a walk down Ravenswalk, the path that runs between Camden Yards (the Baltimore Orioles stadium) and M&T Bank Stadium (where the Ravens play).

Walking down Ravenswalk

The usual assortment of concessions lined the walkway, including all sorts of giveaways and treats. A special treat was a stage with a live band playing pop and rock hits. We didn't stick around to listen since we wanted to get to the stadium ASAP.

Music stage

End of the Ravenswalk

Gate A of the stadium, featuring water sales

Our tickets said we should go in through Gate C. A helpful worker directed us to the left. We walked halfway around the stadium only to discover that Gate C was closed! Pre-season games have less of the usual amenities, we were soon to discover.

We walked back to Gate B and looked for the staircases, since our seats were in section 516 at the top of the stadium. We arrived in time for ten minutes of the pre-game show, including a tribute to the US military, featuring the Ravens marching band on the field spelling out the nation's initials.

Pre-game festivities

After the Buffalo Bills entered the stadium to negative fanfare, the Ravens started coming in. The starting players came in with smoke, fire, and fireworks!

Purple smoke, like the purple uniforms

Flame on as he runs in

Another player enters gloriously

Flame and fireworks

Fireworks a little further up

Smoky remains

The game started off slowly with about four million penalty flags thrown during the first half. The fans were upset when the calls went against the home team. The worst situation was when the referees had to conference on the field for a minute before they announced one of the penalties.

Start of the game

At half-time, some local school teams played a couple of downs on the field, which was very exciting for the boys.

Small teams on the big field

We went for a snack, but the upstairs concessions didn't have any cotton candy, my son's typical stadium snack (pre-season shortage again!). We settled for cinnamon pretzels. Normally they are served hot but the stand was serving on demand, so patrons had to wait for the pretzels to warm up. We weren't patient enough. Even so, we enjoyed our snack.


The second half of the game was much more exciting. The teams had fewer penalties, more turnovers, and exciting plays. In the last two minutes, the Ravens were up 13 to 7 and were caught in their end zone. Rather than punt, they let the Bills get a safety (where the ball carrier is sacked in the end zone). The Bills scored two points but had to receive a thrown ball from the twenty-yard line rather than a kick from the end zone. With a 13-9 score, they still needed to score a touchdown to win; even a field goal wouldn't be enough to tie it up. The Bills had used up their time-outs during the Ravens' possession, so the clock ran down on them before they could score. Baltimore won, though I think the safety was a bit of technical strategy rather than good ball play.

End of the game

We walked back to our car. I thought parking about three-quarters of a mile away would mean easy escape. Unfortunately, our parking was just as backed up as any other lot and it took half an hour to get out. A wedding in the hotel next door happened to end just as the game did, so we had double the departing numbers. The wedding must have been extra-celebratory because the couple who shared our elevator smelled more than a little bit of alcohol. At least the guy did. I hope the lady was driving!

We had a lot of fun at the game nonetheless. Go Ravens!

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