Miami, coming into the major leagues, has a ready-made manager a ready-made manager already living in town: Earl Weaver
It's true that the man who took the Orioles to four World Series ('69, '70, '71 and '79) retired after the '86 season but he's played enough golf by now that he should be getting antsy. At 60,weaver could still do the job.
What might pull Earl away from the golf course is money H. Wayne Huizenga,multimillionaire chairman of Blockbuster Video,who will own the Miami club,has plenty of that.
It really doesn't matter who manages either Miami or Denver. As expansion teams, they'll both be terrible. What Huizenga needs is a manager with color to provide excitement as the franchise gets off the ground. That's precisely why the expansion Mets hired Casey Stengel, and why Miami would be wise to hire Earl.
Today is the sixth anniversary of Weaver's return to managing the Orioles after having laid off two years.
Coming back at that time proved to be a bad mistake. Earl simply wasn't ready. GM Hank Peters knew that, but late owner Edward Bennett Williams thought he knew better. Williams threw some major money at Earl and reeled him in. Weaver may be ready now for one more hurrah.
A few weeks ago, when Washington was still in the running for a major-league franchise, D.C. point man John Akridge invited former Orioles owner Jerry Hoffberger over for lunch.
Akridge wanted Hoffberger to help him land baseball for the nation's capital. Jerry declined. Says Hoffberger, who made an aborted effort to buy back the Orioles when Eli Jacobs purchased the club in 1988:
"I told Mr. Akridge that as a Baltimorean I couldn't lend myself to his cause. I think it would be terribly damaging to the franchise in my own city if one were to move into Washington."
Hoffberger was only using common sense. With the Orioles getting 25 percent of their attendance from Washington, it stands to reason Baltimore would lose a lot of fans to a club based in D.C.
* Roland Hemond's signing a two-year contract extension as general manager of the Orioles no doubt creates peace of mind in the Hemond family, and apparently in the Orioles' family as well, but the news bothered some of the fans I spoke with yesterday. Said one, who has been a great lover of Orioles baseball for many years:
"What's Roland talking about when he says, 'We're marching forward day by day?' Doesn't he realize his ballclub is moving in the other direction? The Orioles are in last place in the weakest division in baseball."
A more realistic description of what the Orioles are up to now comes from manager John Oates: "We'll just keep trudging along until everything comes together."
* Walter Romans believes the winner of the 91st U.S. Open this week at Hazeltine National in Minnesota will be "the little guy from Rochester." That's Jeff Sluman. Says Romans, pro emeritus at the Baltimore Country Club and one of the few local pros ever to have played in the U.S. Open:
"Sluman proved he can win a big one when he won the PGA in '88. He's playing well now [second-place finishes this year in Los Angeles and at the Kemper] and even though he's a little guy [5 feet 7, 135] he can outdrive some of the long hitters."
* Dartmouth College's lacrosse goalie, John Banks, has transferred to Johns Hopkins. He'll have to sit out a year of residence there, after which he could take over for Scott Giardina, who'll be a senior this coming year. Banks, from Ward Melville High in Stony Brook, L.I., has two years of eligibility remaining.
Dartmouth has been the weak sister of Ivy League lacrosse, but the school's second-year coach, Tim Nelson, the former All-America from Syracuse, is encouraged by the recruiting class coming in. Says Nelson: "We got one good kid from Baltimore, Andy Thut [pronounced Toot], from Gilman. You're going to hear from us."