The city of Baltimore still reels from the departure of its football team, the Colts, to Indianapolis seven years ago.
Now it appears a National Football League owner just as controversial, in his own way, as the despised Robert Irsay may be having conversation with the city. According to published reports, New England Patriots owner Victor Kiam, he of electric razor fame and female reporter Lisa Olson shame, could be shopping his team.
And Baltimore is one of the places Kiam may be shopping.
Upset with his current lease at Foxboro Stadium, Kiam has had several meetings recently with officials in Boston and Providence about moving the team.
Herb Belgrad, who heads the Maryland Stadium Authority, told The Sun at the owners' meeting in Hawaii that Kiam plans to meet soon with an unidentified leader in the Baltimore business community.
Belgrad has said in the past he doesn't want to do anything to upset Baltimore's chances for an expansion team, but he also has said he would talk with owners who are pondering moving their clubs.
Belgrad told The Sun he thinks a meeting with Kiam could be positive, "even if it does nothing more than generate goodwill for the future."
Walt Gutowski of the Stadium Authority said he had no further knowledge of the situation. "Expansion is still our priority," he said, "and I would only reiterate Herb's stand that interaction doesn't hurt.'
"Basically I had my arm twisted," Kiam told the Boston Herald about his possible meeting with Baltimore interests. "At some point in April I'll sit down with them."
Kiam refused to rule out moving the team outside New England.
Asked if he would have interest in owning a team in Baltimore, Kiam said, "I don't know. Me going down there? I don't know. I might. But I have no interest in owning a team in Memphis or Sacramento."
Kiam said he prefers to keep the team in the Boston area.
"If that cannot happen, my next preference is to keep it in New England," Kiam told The Boston Globe. "If that cannot happen, then I have to look at all of my other options."
At the Hawaii meeting yesterday, owners approved the sale of half the New York Giants from Tim Mara to Bob Tisch, the former postmaster general and owner of Loew's Corp., for a reported $70 million.
Before his purchase of the Giants, Tisch had been considered a prime player on the Baltimore expansion scene. His move to the Giants was considered a serious setback to Baltimore's chances, according to some sources.
In other news, the stage was set for another battle over instant replay and the city of Phoenix prepared an apparently futile last-ditch effort to keep the 1993 Super Bowl, which is expected to be transferred to Pasadena or San Diego because Arizona voters turned down a ballot proposal in November to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.