Although Baltimore may appear to be getting lost in the crowd in its efforts to land a National Football League franchise as the owners open their meetings in Hawaii, one NFL executive who knows the league and this market is upbeat about the city's chances.
That's Ernie Accorsi, former general manager of the Baltimore Colts, now owner Art Modell's right-hand man with the Cleveland Browns.
"There's a lot of support among the owners for Baltimore," says Accorsi. "The city has three things going for it: the Colt tradition, the new baseball park under construction, and Herb Belgrad."
Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, is making "the right kind of pitch" to the owners, neither too hard a sell, nor too soft, says Accorsi. And the ballpark rising at Camden Yards, he says, is "tangible proof that Baltimore can get things done."
* You have to admire gutty Towson State for the battle it put up in its 97-86 NCAA basketball loss to Ohio State over the weekend. It was almost shocking to see the Buckeyes' players, who looked like 6-foot-7 weightlifters -- though it was not shocking to Jim Phelan.
Says Phelan, the Mount St. Mary's coach: "We were the first ones to know how good this Ohio State team is. We played them at the start of last season. We walked on the court and we'd never seen so many big, strong-looking guys on a basketball team." Ohio State beat Mount St. Mary's that night, 102-63.
* The new thing in Division I of college lacrosse seems to be players up from junior colleges. Loyola beat Princeton yesterday, 10-9, with a big assist from new players Gary Miller and Fred Haas, transfers from Essex Community College.
Miller, who went to C. Milton Wright High School, tied the game at 8 in the fourth period with his third goal of the game. Haas, a 6-1, 197-pounder who went to Perry Hall High, actually started at Loyola, spent a year at Essex and now is back at Evergreen.
"I love it here," says Haas. At Loyola, the feeling is mutual.
Johns Hopkins, for the first time in its lacrosse history, also has a pair of Long Island junior college products -- Brendan Cody and Steve Coffey. Cody, also a big guy at 6-2, 195, scored three goals in Hopkins' 13-5 win at Rutgers Saturday.
* That was quite a photo in yesterday's sports section by The Sun's Kenneth K. Lam, showing Richmond basketball player Kenny Wood being poked in the eye by Temple's Mark Macon at College Park. The resulting injury -- which sidelined Wood for the final six minutes of the game -- was the turning point. Temple pulled away from the Spiders for a 77-64 victory and a spot in next weekend's NCAA Sweet 16.
* You can depend on Buddy Ey to set the record straight in boxing. Responding to the mention here last week of the late Jack Portney's losses to Kid Chocolate in the '30s, Ey says:
"Jack never fought Kid Chocolate, who was a featherweight champion. His nemesis was Louis 'Kid' Cocoa, who defeated him three times, the last two in Baltimore at Carlin's Park in 1936 and 1937." As Ey says, Portney's record of 150 victories in 165 professional fights speaks for itself.
* We've all heard of brothers playing against each other in sports. There's a lacrosse game at 3 o'clock tomorrow at the University of Delaware that will take that angle to its pinnacle -- identical twins, Rusty and Pete Ward, both McDonogh School graduates, facing off against each other. Rusty is Delaware's captain, Pete is Vermont's.
Says the twins' dad, John Ward, "I've been watching my kids play lacrosse for 20 years and it doesn't get any better than this."
* ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan, speaking the other day in Locust Point, was asked for a lasting memory of his days as athletic director at Notre Dame. Said Corrigan, who is Baltimore born and raised:
"Our football team was not doing well and pressure was building on our coach, Gerry Faust. Father [Theodore] Hesburgh [then president of Notre Dame] called me and asked how much longer Gerry had on his contract. I told him it was two years. And Father Hesburgh said, 'Well, he's going to be our coach for two more years then. At Notre Dame we honor contracts.' "
The Irish kept Faust those two years and then replaced him with Lou Holtz. It's too bad some of today's pro athletes like Rickey Henderson don't respect a signed contract the way the Irish did.