By Devin Bartolotta

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Ravens fans welcomed football back to Baltimore Thursday ahead of the first preseason home game.

In an empty parking lot, the early bird of the Ravens flock who never misses a game day built a tailgate nest.

“Every game, I get here six in the morning. Takes me two hours to get everything set up, and then we’re ready to go,” said fan Mike Hyatt.

The birds will hit the field to take on the Los Angeles Rams at M&T Bank Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

“Got everything right here, got our own fridge, I got draft beer built inside. Got everything we need — it’s just like home, but tailgating next to the stadium,” Hyatt said.

Hyatt was the first diehard fan of hundreds who were prepared to show off their purple power for the first pre-season game of the year.

Four hours before kickoff, fans trickled in under the shadow of the stadium.

“My husband will say we bleed purple. So our house is purple, front door’s purple,” said fan Virginia Barnes.

Barnes and her family come from southern Pennsylvania to meet friends from the Eastern Shore who they’ve been tailgating with for 18 years.

[Reporter: Why do you get here so early?]

“Because we have so much fun! Again, these are people we don’t see except for tailgating,” Barnes said.

With hours to go until the birds take the field, game predictions and partiers rolled in.

“I make these nice, big filet mignons up and we cut them in pieces and we do a steak and a shot of Jack. That’s our tradition before the game,” Hyatt said.

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Devin Bartolotta


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