June 13, 1991|By Kent Baker

It has been a discouraging season on the field for the defending Carolina League champions, but the turnstiles have been clicking.

With an appearance by President Bush Saturday, the Keys drew the biggest Grove Stadium crowd in their history (7,912) and went on to a three-game weekend total of 19,652 for a series against the Durham Bulls (another record).

Through 28 dates, the Keys had an average crowd of 3,738, second in the league to Durham, despite their worst start in the standings.

The largest crowd to attend a Frederick game came during the Keys' first year (at old McCurdy Field) when more than 8,000 paid their way to see Ben McDonald's debut. But there were more than 1,000 no-shows who couldn't have crammed into the facility.

* MISCELLANEOUS: P Steve Culkar has been released despite 14 strikeouts in 12 innings, and the roster has added P Brad Pennington from Kane County (Ill.) and IF Randy Berlin and OF Dan Berthel from Hagerstown. OF Jason Alstead is on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. . . . Sunday's game against the Bulls was telecast by both teams, the first time that has happened in the Carolina League. The game was on Frederick Cablevision and WRAL-TV (Raleigh, N.C.).

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