The Washington Bullets, who drew criticism from visiting teams and the NBA for repeated technical glitches at the Baltimore Arena last season, have vowed to rectify the problems when they return to play four games as part of their 1991-92 schedule announced yesterday.
The Charlotte Hornets will play at the Arena on Dec. 28, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 18, the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 17 and the Milwaukee Bucks on March 7.
"Our main problem last season," said Bullets president Susan O'Malley, "was that we did not treat the homes games in ZTC Baltimore the same as the ones at the Capital Centre. We just didn't pay enough attention to potential trouble spots."
The first and last of the four games at the Arena last season, against Philadelphia and Atlanta, respectively, were marred by a malfunctioning scoreboard and faulty 24-second clocks.
After the Hawks lost, 121-116, on March 22, coach Bob Weiss considered filing a protest over the repeated confusion with the game clock. Bullets officials still received a message from Rod Thorn, NBA chief of operations, to solve the problems or restrict future home games to the Capital Centre.
"We'll have new 24-second clocks installed this season," said O'Malley. "We found out that the scoreboard glitches were a result of not being programmed properly for basketball. It worked fine for hockey and soccer."
Average attendance for the four Arena games last winter was 10,327. The previous year's average was 11,524.
But O'Malley continues to covet the Baltimore market and wants to maintain a presence in the city the Bullets abandoned in 1973 when team owner Abe Pollin built his arena in Landover.
To obtain the four-game plan, Bullets fans can purchase seats ranging from $400 for front-row viewing to $70 for upper concourse seats. Last year, the Bullets sold 4,000 packages for the Arena games.
As an added inducement, for a limited time, Baltimore plan purchasers will receive a ticket to one of the Baltimore Orioles' three home games with the Boston Red Sox, Sept. 23-25.
There are, of course, also full-season ticket plans available for the 41 home games priced from $717.50 to $4,100.
The Bullets will begin their new season on the road against the Indiana Pacers Nov. 1, but return home the following night to play host to the Boston Celtics.
After winning only 30 games last season, the Bullets will be hard- pressed to get off to a quick start with 12 of their first 20 games on the road, including a West Coast swing.
NOTE: Larry Stewart of Coppin State scored 19 points to lead the Bullets to a 127-100 victory over the Pacers in a Detroit Pistons Rookie League game at the Palace of Auburn Hills (Mich.).