Pep rally kicks off Army-Navy weekend in Baltimore

Posted at 5:59 PM, Dec 09, 2016

The bands were playing, the mascots out and the cadets and midshipmen were locked in battles in and around the Inner Harbor.

The pep rally Friday before the Army/Navy game kicked off what is sure to be a raucous weekend of competition in downtown Baltimore.

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This will be the third time Baltimore is hosting the annual tradition in of 10 years, and it comes complete with a visit from President-elect Donald Trump, which adds a touch more import for planning, protocols and security.

"We expect everything to go off without a hitch but it takes an enormous public safety commitment to make this happen," Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said.

Davis means both in resources and in geographic scope.

With a cadet and midshipmen march and a national College Game Day broadcast set at the harbor, the security footprint expands much wider than M&T Bank Stadium.

Add to that planned protests against the president-elect, and police will have their hands full.

"We'll be prepared and again, if people want to protest and exercise that right, more power to them, we'll make sure they will have a safe environment as well but we have to be prepared because the community expects us to be prepared," Davis said.

But it isn’t just police preparing. There have been practice fly overs all week, motorcades for team busses today and six Army and Navy ships coming into port for visitors to tour.

It's yet another attraction that brings in plenty of people.

"Thousands, tens of thousands of people. It is going to be a terrific opportunity not just to be able to experience Baltimore and the Inner Harbor but also get a little taste of what it is like to actually be a sailor, be a soldier on these ships full time," said Roger Mecca of Sail Baltimore.

But the main course here this weekend remains the clash between two branches of the military, and so far Army can hang its hat on the pull up bar.

Army won the challenge with 224 pull-ups to Navy's 202.

But as former Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis, who emceed the event,  put it, no matter who takes bragging rights this weekend, everyone is a winner.

"No matter what team we are cheering for we are cheering for both of them right? Because they give us everything for our country. Thank Baltimore...thank you, thank you, thank you," Lewis said.

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