WASHINGTON -- Is there anything more insignificant than the last exhibition game of spring training?
Certainly no one will remember that the Boston Red Sox beat the Orioles 6-5 here yesterday to sweep the Comsat Baseball Classic (Classic? In April?) in a game that had all the intensity of watching other people read.
Reliever Roy Smith almost certainly won't want to remember the game, since he gave up five runs in three innings, with the last four coming after he had been staked to a three-run lead.
After the Orioles went ahead 5-2 in the seventh, Smith, who was dispatched to Rochester after the game, gave up five runs and seven hits in the three innings, including a game-winning double Randy Kutcher in the ninth with two out.
Oh well. There's always next spring.
* THE YOLK'S NOT ON ME: All things considered, District of Columbia Armory Board chairman Jim Dalrymple was a much happier man yesterday than he was on Saturday.
At a time when officials are trying to lure major-league baseball back to Washington, Dalrymple said he had to clean "egg off my face" from Saturday's debacle, when an estimated 4,000 fans were kept waiting outside the RFK Stadium will-call windows to get into the Orioles-Red Sox exhibition game.
Dalrymple said stadium officials had been caught off guard by larger-than-expected lines at the will-call windows because many fans had purchased their tickets by telephone credit card sales, rather than in person.
"Will call used to be media tickets and players tickets," said Dalrymple, who oversees operations at RFK and the nearby D.C. Armory. "Now, with telephone charge numbers, will call becomes something different."
To deal with a larger crunch yesterday, Dalrymple said officials -- opened more will-call windows and opened them earlier.
"We hated what happened, but it's corrected," said Dalrymple. "I think everyone's going away happy."
The two-day series between the Red Sox and the Orioles attracted 80,712, including 43,264 yesterday.
While the total figure was nearly 45,000 less than the two-game attendance for exhibition games at Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium last weekend, Dalrymple said he's convinced that the nation's ,, capital is still very much in the hunt for one of two National League expansion franchises to be awarded in June for play in 1993.
"In the numbers crunch with Miami, we're doing OK," said Dalrymple. "We [Miami and Washington] are the two front-runners and we want to show that we're ready."
* BY THE NUMBERS: The Orioles limped to their sixth straight losing exhibition season (14-16) with yesterday's loss. The last time the team reached .500 was in 1985, and the Orioles haven't had a winning spring since 1984, when they were 15-12 . . . Cal Ripken, who was 0-2 yesterday, finished the spring batting .380, with hits in 14 of his last 19 games. He fell five hits short of Don Baylor's team-record 32 hits during the spring campaign of 1975.