It's easy to get an insider's insight to the Major Indoor Lacrosse League's championship game between the Baltimore Thunder and the Detroit Turbos Saturday night at the Arena.
Our town is crawling with players from other teams in the league, especially Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In their minds there's no doubt who will be crowned the new league champion.
"Detroit will kill 'em, I would think," says John Tucker, a former Johns Hopkins All-America who plays for the Philadelphia Wings. "Detroit has those two guys."
Those two guys are the Gait twins, Gary and Paul, who were the best players in college lacrosse outdoors at Syracuse and now are the best indoors.
Says Ricky Fried, ex-UMBC, now of Philadelphia: "I think Detroit will beat 'em by seven goals. Detroit also has the best goalie in the league, Ted Sawicki."
Dave Pietramala (ex-Hopkins, now of the Pittsburgh Bulls) predicts Detroit's winning margin will be five goals. Says Pietramala:
"Detroit has more than the Gaits. Peter Parke is a great scorer. And Ted Sawicki has the Thunder's number. Jeff Gombar [the Baltimore goalie] doesn't have Detroit's number."
What it comes down to is that indoor lacrosse, also known as box lacrosse, is a Canadian game, played for generations in ice hockey rinks during the summer. The Gaits, Parke and Sawicki are Canadians.
It doesn't look too good for the Thunder. But they said Duke didn't have a chance against UNLV either.
* Towson State lacrosse coach Carl Runk was quoted here Monday saying his team is not going to be denied. His actual quote on page 2 of the press guide: "We don't want to be denied this year." Towson plays at Loyola Saturday in a game important to the NCAA playoff hopes of both schools.
* The Orioles' scoring barrage over the past week is precisely the sort of thing they hoped to gain with their offseason moves.
The 1990 O's lacked power. They were last in the American League in total bases, next to last in slugging. In acquiring Glenn Davis and Dwight Evans, they have added a pair of veterans who have 100 more career home runs than the remaining players on the roster.
* The Famous Chicken (originally the San Diego Chicken), who'll perform at the Blast game here tomorrow night, is a misunderstood sports phenomenon. I've always thought he was some college kid who picks up a few hundred bucks here and there dressing up like a chicken.
But Ted Giannoulus, who is the chicken, is in his mid-30s, has done this for 10 years, makes 200 appearances annually like the one here, and earns close to $1 million a year. In Baltimore he's much better off as the Famous Chicken rather than the San Diego Chicken. San Diego has KO'd the Blast four times in the playoffs.
* It's time for spring football practice. It starts Saturday at the University of Maryland, where there's an entirely different atmosphere from a year ago.
Back then, the death watch was on for coach Joe Krivak, who hadn't had a winning season and was in the final year of his contract. But Maryland beat Virginia in its finale to finish 6-5 and went to a bowl game. Krivak was then signed to a new, four-year contract.
"Everything is different now," says veteran Krivak aide Greg Williams, one of the most respected defensive coaches around. "Everybody wants to help us now."
"Everybody," Williams says. "Alumni. High school coaches. The media. A year ago we couldn't recruit a quarterback because of Joe's contract status. This year we could have recruited 10 quarterbacks."
* Navy also opens spring drills Saturday to prepare for an 11-game schedule that once again includes about nine beatable opponents.
For Navy, that doesn't necessarily mean a 9-2 season. The Middies had nine beatable opponents last year and beat six of them. This year only Virginia (at Charlottesville, Sept. 15) and Notre Dame (at South Bend, Nov. 3) appear to be out of Navy's class.