Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Today in History - March 29, 1984

This little blog has readers from all over...some close to Baltimore, but also many others who are out of town, out of state, out of the United States, or out of their minds.  And the guy who writes it might be one of the last group, I'll tell you that right now.

But it's always hard to tell people what it was like when The Beatles came along to save pop music and pop culture. Only people who were around in late 1963 when John Kennedy was assassinated could understand the torpid state of the nation after our young leader was taken away.  When John, George, Ringo and what's-his-name got to our shores in early '64, it was like peeling back the clouds, and everyone got an ice cream cone.

So two decades after that, when, on this very day - March 29, 1984 - the Baltimore Colts football team packed up their jockstraps and departed for the ridiculous little town of Indianapolis, hearts hung heavy and tears fell all around Baltimore.  The trouble began when the original owner of the Colts, Carroll Rosenbloom, wanted to swing with the cool cats and chicks of LA, so he arranged to swap teams with Robert "Beelzebub" Irsay, who had arranged to buy the Los Angeles Rams, and moved to the West Coast. Rosenbloom would not come to a pretty end, but that's a story for another day. Remind me to tell it to you some day.

Over the 13 years that Satan On Earth (that's what Irsay's own mother called him, so you gotta think...) owned the Colts here in Baltimore, his ham-fisted management technique and his two-fisted alcohol intake ruined a once-proud franchise, to the point that not many people went to the games, giving The Angel Of The Bottomless Pit a half-fast reason to move the team so he could wring some money out of the pinched-faced midwesterners who populate Indianapolis.

Here's the amazing part of the story for me.  The Colts had a marching band who strutted around playing the Colts Fight Song, a song that to this day delights my very soul. Since it was the offseason when Lucifer moved to East Hell, the band uniforms happened to be in storage at a dry cleaning establishment up in Lutherville, MD.

They looked like this
The band director called the dry cleaner not long after the Mayflower trucks completed their voyage up the River Styx to inquire about the suits, and was told that the uniforms were safely locked up in the back room, but he planned to leave early that afternoon and just might forget to lock the back door, and wouldn't it be a shame if someone came along with a couple of trucks and drove away with all those band uniforms, and please lock the door on your way out, thanks.

And so it was that the Colts band played on for the twelve seasons that we were without the NFL here in Baltimore, and when Ravens arrived in 1996, the band was ready and well-rehearsed.  All they needed was some new uniforms - this time, purple and black.

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