Reset clock to 1988 to ensure success

The Insider Stuff

June 20, 1991|By Bill Tanton

Baltimore businessman Mark Fetting was typical of the fans who attended the Orioles' "Turn Back the Clock" to 1966 promotion at Memorial Stadium yesterday.

"It was a great game," he said of the O's 8-4 loss to Minnesota, "until the ninth inning."

True enough, but what will be remembered is the Orioles' collapse in the five-run Twins ninth, including the most nightmarish day of Gregg Olson's career.

Oh, well, 1966, when the O's won the world championship, is a tough year with which to make a comparison. If the club wants to make the present team look good, next time it'll turn back the clock to 1988.

* The day Len Bias died, I told Mr. DeWayne, a barber at the Hess Snippery, that the tragedy might shock others into staying away from drugs. "Nah," Mr. DeWayne scoffed. "Look at all the rock stars who died on drugs. That hasn't stopped anybody and neither will this." Sadly, five years later, I have concluded that Mr. DeWayne was right.

* The people who call the shots at Dartmouth really must believe in assistant basketball coach Dave Faucher, whom they promoted this week to head coach.

In hiring Faucher, they passed over two attractive candidates with Baltimore backgrounds, Bullets assistant (and former UMBC head coach) Jeff Bzdelik and Loyola High grad Pat Dennis, now the No. 1 assistant to Dick Tarrant at Richmond. Or maybe this is just another example of the kind of thinking that has made Dartmouth the pits of Ivy League basketball.

* If you don't think this is a hard time to get people to invest in major-league baseball, get a load of this: Donald Dell, who helped organize the effort to land an expansion franchise for Washington, had to approach 206 potential investors to find a mere handful. And remember, Dell, one of the top agents in the world, earns a handsome living by convincing people to spend their money on sports.

* Pimlico plans to hold more steeplechase racing in the wake of Sunday's success after a 40-year layoff. Joe DeFrancis, Pimlico's president, liked the fact that the jumpers brought new faces to the track.

Says DeFrancis: "There were more people out in the owners' boxes for steeplechase racing than there were for the Pimlico Special."

* The Pro Football Hall of Fame made an excellent choice in the Baltimore Colt band to play July 27 at the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. Funny, but when we had a fabulous team here, the band wasn't all that great. Now we have a fabulous band and no team at all. Maybe some day we'll get it in sync.

* It was interesting to learn this week from the Sports Illustrated-commissioned poll that football is the most popular sport in America.

Of far greater significance in the same poll is the revelation that nearly two out of three Americans say they would pay to watch sports on TV if there were no alternative. If they were able to get the public to shell out $39.50 for Holyfield-Foreman, imagine what they'll get for the Super Bowl or World Series. The promoters are licking their chops.

* Local lawyer John Sandbower, once a University of Maryland basketball player under Bud Millikan, has become involved with the Baltimore Wheelchair Athletic Club. Says Sandbower: "It took me only one game to become an enthusiastic spectator. This is an exceptional group of athletes."

Sandbower points out that Baltimore's wheelchair basketballers were ranked No. 15 in the country this year, their highest ranking ever. Few realize that some other BWAC athletes are nationally ranked in other sports: Keven Whalen, third in tennis; Keith Lewis, softball. Others compete in track and field, skiing and water skiing.

* NCAA lacrosse champion North Carolina has signed long-term, home-and-home agreements to play Loyola and Princeton. Good for the Tar Heels, taking on the best.

The lacrosse game that really needs to be played is Loyola-Johns Hopkins. Loyola has been trying for years to get on the Blue Jays' schedule. Hopkins athletic director Bob Scott says the teams will play in time. Around Evergreen they say Loyola's president, the Rev. Joseph A. Sellinger, S.J., is growing more and more impatient over the impasse.

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