Can the game of indoor soccer survive without the loud music, barking public-address announcers, circus-like opening ceremonies and all the other hype?
Baltimore Blast owner Ed Hale said last week he is prepared tfind out in the next month.
"It's time for the sport to stand on its own," Hale said. "I think thgame is entertaining without all the extraneous things. We've read the letters to the editors and heard the fans on the radio talk shows who say there is too much noise and the game is too much of an event. I'm inclined to agree with them."
Hale said he has taken two steps during the past two hom games to reduce the carnival-like atmosphere at the Baltimore Arena for Blast games.
"We've reduced by 70 percent the amount of announcements foour sponsors and we're trying to play only traditional rock-and-roll music, but there has been no response at all from the fans, so we're not sure how they feel."
Hale said the team will distribute questionnaires to Blast fanbefore the Major Soccer League All-Star break (Feb. 11-15) to see how they like the new simulated dynamite opening, the new professional cheerleaders/dancers, the mascot (Denny The Detonator) and the music being played during the game.
"If people want a change, we'll do something about it as sooafter the All-Star break as we can," Hale said.
Cutting back the commercials for Blast sponsors wasn't an easdecision because "they're the life-line for our team. Without them we couldn't exist," Hale said.
It looks as if the Blast will be playing on a new carpet at the Baltimore Arena in two months.
Blast general manager John Borozzi said last week that hexpects a final decision on buying the new carpet tomorrow.
"After we [Blast and Centre Management, which runs thBaltimore Arena] make the decision official to get the new carpet, it will take 45 to 60 days to install it because you have to find enough open dates at the Arena," said Borozzi.
The new $80,0000 carpet, he said, would be purchased under "co-op agreement" between the Blast and Centre Management.
"We would share in the expense of buying it and they woulmaintain it," said Borozzi. "We're trying to determine what would be equitable."