Two weeks after saying that the new downtown baseball ballpark might be named this week, Gov. William Donald Schaefer amended that prediction slightly yesterday.
The governor said the ballpark will be named when Baltimore Orioles principal owner Eli S. Jacobs is ready. He also suggested that Jacobs will have the largest voice in naming the new ballpark.
"It will be done in his time. When he's ready, he'll do it," Schaefer said yesterday.
The governor said he hasn't spoken with Jacobs since the two conferred in the owner's box at Memorial Stadium during an Orioles game July 2. He said he isn't sure when he might talk with Jacobs again or when a decision would be announced.
Schaefer also referred to newspaper columnists who've written critically of him, saying that the governor intends to allow Jacobs to take the lead in naming the ballpark. Schaefer said that was accurate.
"I read in the paper today that the name will be picked by the governor, [Maryland Stadium Authority chairman Herbert J.] Belgrad and Jacobs -- which means Jacobs will make the decision. That's about right," said Schaefer, who has said he has a favorite name for the ballpark but won't reveal it.
Through a spokesman, Jacobs said he expects to talk to Schaefer about the ballpark name "very soon." The spokesman said that Jacobs "did not indicate one way or another" whether he agrees that responsibility for picking the name for the new ballpark has fallen mostly to him.
According to the 15-year lease that commits the Orioles to playing in the new ballpark starting next Opening Day, the job of selecting a name is shared by the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority andtheir respective leaders -- Jacobs and Schaefer. The issue didn't receive much attention until recently, when stadium authority officials warned that more indecision might foil their plans to have the ballpark's signs completed by Opening Day 1992.
Belgrad said it would be "a tragedy" if the name isn't in place when the ballpark opens.
"In view of the fact that we are making every effort to have everything completed on Opening Day -- the ballpark, the [B&O] warehouse and Camden Station -- it would be so unfortunate to have a major element missing," Belgrad said.
The name could be displayed in as many as three locations at the new ballpark, said stadium authority officials. They point to spots behind home, on the back of the main scoreboard (which faces the Inner Harbor) and possibly one sign that would hang fromthe eight-story warehouse, which will be a backdrop to the right-field fence.
The ballpark namers have received hundreds of suggestions, but the leaders appear to be Camden Yards, Oriole Park, Memorial Stadium and Babe Ruth Park.