October 01, 1990

PRATT STREET was there, and Antietam, but otherwise Public Television's great "Civil War" didn't have much Maryland in it. And, since the photo-collectors and the script-writers didn't rub our faces with R. B. Taney and J. W. Booth, maybe the underplay was okay.

Elsewhere, so much was going on. A 1990 watcher, however versed in the doings of 1861-1865, came away with new detail, new understanding. The glass-plate cameras turned out a million photos, and people used some afterward as greenhouse panes? Winchester, Va. changed hands 72 times? There, be it noted that the military aim was in part to smash, or repair, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

Five full, consecutive evenings was a requirement some couldn't meet. (Tape is one of the gains, since then.) There are so many calls on time, attention, support now. How could Clarksville, Tenn. and Deer Isle, Maine, of "The Civil War" appreciate our burdens?

To ask is to smile, sadly. Alongside what those Americans bore up under, today's almost easy. What price stress?

* * *

WITH THE ORIOLES ending their season as one of the hottest teams in baseball, it is time to chastise local fans for booing Mickey Tettleton.

Granted, he took too many initial pitches and often ended in the hole at 0 and 2.

Granted, he set a team record (by a wide margin) for most strikeouts in a season.

Granted, he seemed more interested in winning the most-walks championship than in hitting home runs and doubles.

But this was a player, in the catcher hot-spot day after day, whose on-base percentage was respectable throughout the season and who never stopped trying.

Sure we missed those glory days when he was busting down fences early in 1989. But we thought Baltimore fans were bush league when they booed their one-time hero as he went through a long, tough slump.

* * *

DOZENS OF STUDENTS lined up recently on a Johns Hopkins baseball field, but they weren't holding their caps in deference to the National Anthem.

They were on their knees -- more accurately, on their haunches -- directly over a 50-foot gutter filled with blobs of ice cream, tons of topping, and pounds of nuts, hungrily awaiting the signal to begin scooping to form a monstrous banana split.

This wasn't a record dessert, though. Hopkins' super-sundae was 6,955 feet short of the biggest banana split. That longer-than-a-mile treat was erected on April 26, 1980. Alpha Phi Omega fraternity at Texas (where else?) A&M University used 11,400 bananas, 1,500 gallons of ice cream, 380 gallons of topping and 170 pounds of nuts to create its catastrophically caloric wonder.

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