To their surprise, the Orioles learned through the inquiries just before the Aug. 1 trading deadline that they had only one player other clubs really wanted to talk about: Mike Flanagan.
Flanny is still in Baltimore for two reasons. Those interested in the 39-year-old reliever were told they had to give the O's top prospects who might play regularly for years to come. No one bit. Also, Flanagan and Cal Ripken -- and now Mike Mussina -- are just about the only bright spots here.
* It's easy to see, as the season moves into its final two months, why the Astros insisted on Steve Finley in last winter's Glenn Davis deal instead of the player the O's wanted to give them, Brady Anderson. Finley is outhitting Brady by 100 points and is among National League leaders in hits and triples.
* When the Orioles were in Seattle last week, Mariners owner Jeff Smulyan was complaining about the unfairness of baseball's distribution of local TV-radio money. With a team like the Yankees receiving several times the income of Smulyan's, he pointed out, it might be impossible for him to compete from a market as small as Seattle.
Ownership and management types laughed at Smulyan's moaning. Says one: "He, of all people, should have known about air revenue before he went into baseball." Smulyan is in the broadcasting business. One of his properties is WFAN, the popular all-sports talk station in New York.
* Minnesota's Tom Kelly is likely to win the American League's Manager of the Year Award, but baseball people doubt that the Twins' low-key skipper could do it in the media pressure cooker that is New York. They also question whether John Oates could survive in the Big Apple. One manager from a small market who reveled in the New York scene was Earl Weaver.
* Despite stress fractures, a Madonna complex, head problems or whatever caused her to sit out Wimbledon -- plus her loss to Jennifer Capriati yesterday -- Monica Seles continues to play very well. Yesterday marked the 13th straight tournament, counting Mahwah two weeks ago, in which Monica has reached the finals.
* Fans of the Orioles' Class A farm club in Frederick have their own clever version of the hanky waving favored by baseball fans in Baltimore. During the seventh-inning stretch, the Frederick folks get out their key rings and jiggle them. Get it? The Keys?
* At the age of 75, Walter Romans obviously plans to play a whole lot more golf. Romans, pro emeritus at the Baltimore Country Club, underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery today by Dr. Charles Silberstein.
The surgery was recommended to Romans by one of his club's golfing members, TV's Jim McKay. McKay had the same operation earlier this year. Now, good as new, Jim is back on the links. Romans expects to be sidelined six to eight weeks.
* General manager George Young, whose New York Giants play Buffalo tonight in their exhibition football opener, have their usual large number of holdouts. One New York columnist has written that Young's penurious ways hurt the Giants, to which the ex-Baltimorean replied: "It really hurt us last year, didn't it?" The Giants, of course, beat Buffalo in the Super Bowl.
* Ball State, which opens Navy's football season at Annapolis in five weeks, opens its own schedule the week before -- on Aug. 31 at Miami of Ohio. That'll give BSU (don't you love it?) an advantage.
Navy is by no means the only, ahem, big-time team that appears on Ball State's schedule over the next four years. Others include Clemson, Kansas, Syracuse, West Virginia, Minnesota, Purdue and Indiana. Ball State coach Paul Schudel had better have a long-term contract.
* When Wayne Hardin, who may have been the best coach Navy ever had, was coaching later at Temple that school got a new president who vowed the Owls would make the top 10 and go to the Sugar Bowl.
Hardin asked him: "What changes do you plan in budget or admissions that will make that possible?" "None," the president answered. "We're just going to do a better job with what we have now." Hardin, wisely, resigned. He knew a no-win situation when he saw one.