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Baltimore Ravens fans go batty over night visitor

August 27, 2012

Short-term memory loss can be a blessed thing. Like, if you live or work in Maryland and you leave the state for a while, you are liable to start to forget that things around here can get a bit — what’s the word? — unconventional.

But then, upon return, you get a quick reminder.

This is the place I was in Thursday when I arrived home from a week in the mountains to learn that all of Baltimore had been terrorized by a bat. Or at least the thousands of people in attendance at a Baltimore Ravens game, where a bat touched down in the 500 section.

This led to the state government getting involved, as it always does. State health officials warned that the bat could have had rabies and put the call out that anyone in the stadium who had contact with said bat should immediately get in touch with his or her local health department.

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Look, I’ve seen some of the people who attend Ravens games, and I think the bat might be wise to take the same advice.

But the bat, says the state government, could have been infected with rabies and so anyone who might have been touched by, drooled upon or kissed by the bat was urged to immediately seek the assistance of the authorities. This despite the fact that many fans in attendance would have been wearing a condor.

Hopefully, by the time you have stopped laughing at that last joke, you will have also come to understand that I am in no way predisposed to take the bat’s side in this brouhaha.

Indeed, it seems like every house in which I have ever lived must have had a sign written in bat that said “Free Parking” above that gables. So I am with familiar with that flap-flap-flutter-whoosh you hear at 1 a.m. that requires further action.

At least it does if you are married. If not, a guy will have absolutely no problem rolling over and going back to sleep on the theory that once the bat figures out that there is no food and that the television is off, it will have no incentive to stay.

But the married man will by this time feel five fingernails penetrating his forearm to the bone, accompanied by verbal encouragement that he DO something.

Which we do, usually by suggesting that it’s only a moth. This has only a minor chance of success because usually sometime in between the “Are you …” and “… sure?” the bat will have plowed square into her forehead (do not believe this nonsense about bats having “radar”), and as soon as that happens, forget it.

The second likely argument — bats are an endangered species and a critical part of the ecology — is a nonstarter. Women typically are lovey-dovey environmentalists until a bat is involved, at which point they turn into Halliburton. In a dark house in the early morning hours, they do not care how many potentially malaria-carrying mosquitoes the bat ingested the day before, so don’t even bother bringing it up.

So as you can see, I am not prone to being a bat apologist. But still — it’s a bat. In the city, maybe a bat is Godzilla, but out here, it’s just a bat. We run into them all the time.

I, for one, am sick and tired of this “species profiling.” You don’t automatically assume every bat you see is infested with rabies any more than you suffer a full-blown panic attack because the guy sitting next to you on the plane is wearing a kaffiyeh.

Probably the bat at the Ravens game was a nonthreatening, Christian, American citizen bat. To a Ravens fan, there are a lot more worrisome birdlike creatures, such as Seahawks, Eagles, Cardinals and Falcons.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com.

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