Is EBW sentiment holding up naming of stadium?

The Inside Stuff

August 06, 1991|By Bill Tanton

Brooks Robinson was right when he said on the Orioles telecast Sunday that there are a lot of secrets in Baltimore this summer -- including what's going on in the long, drawn-out TC process of choosing a name for the new ballpark.

"How hard can it be?" Brooks asked.

It shouldn't be hard at all, unless there is some complication holding up a decision.

A theory two different people advanced to me yesterday is that the late owner of the Orioles, Edward Bennett Williams, wanted the place named after him. The man who bought the club from him, Eli Jacobs, the theory goes, agreed to it only to run into opposition later from state people.

It's bad enough that an apparent lame-duck owner would be choosing the name for the park. If it's named for Williams, it would be worse, and there'll be major screaming from the public. You can put me down now as one of the head screamers.

If there are no complications, the delay in choosing the name is getting ridiculous. Much more important than the name of the place are whether it's a good ballpark (it sure is) and whether the team playing in it is a good one.

* If one game can stamp a rookie pitcher as the real thing, the O's Mike Mussina did that Sunday with the beautiful job he turned in against the White Sox. He deserves all the raves he received for his major-league debut.

Mussina will face the same White Sox here Friday and a lot of people are eager to see how he does against them the second time around. There's no question that the first time hitters see a pitcher the edge belongs to the pitcher.

* The Orioles lost more friends than they won with their handling of ticket sales for the final game at Memorial Stadium. Typical of the disappointed fans who were shut out is Bob Wuenschel, a 43-year-old social studies teacher at St. Michael's School in Overlea. Said Wuenschel:

"In my opinion the Orioles led us to believe we'd all get seats for the last game. They say now we should have gone to Ticketron. If we'd known that we would have done it.

"Mr. [Bob] Aylward [Orioles vice president for business affairs] said on TV that we were told not to stay in line all night. I was in that line from 8:30 Thursday night until 9:45 Friday morning and nobody told us not to wait. In fact, the Oriole Bird was out there with us, suggesting to me that the Orioles were endorsing the line.

"Mr. [Bob] Miller [assistant public relations director] said the club billed it as a sale of tickets for the final weekend. Let's be honest -- the final game is the only one anybody wanted to buy tickets for.

"My father took me to the first game in that stadium in 1954 when I was 6 years old. I'd rather have things like they are now than they were in '71 when you could buy tickets for the seventh game of the World Series. Then we were worried about losing the team.

"What bothers me most now is the Orioles' attitude. They were awfully smug."

* Congratulations are in order for the Bennett Institute wheelchair sports team that competed recently in the national junior championships at Princeton. The Baltimore team, led by Joey Jaroni, of Glen Burnie, and Claude Hall, of Baltimore, brought home 34 medals -- 14 gold, 11 silver and nine bronze.

* Scott Zolak, the quarterback who last fall led Maryland to its first winning season since 1985, is in a perfect spot in his NFL quest. He's with the New England Patriots. If any team can use help it's the Pats, starting with the quarterback position.

The team has two unknown QBs in Tom Hodson and Hugh Millen. It has a coach, Dick MacPherson, who has just come into pro football from the college ranks (Syracuse). And it is coming off a 1-15 season.

Zolak, one of 37 new faces on the squad, did not play last weekend in the exhibition opener, a 28-7 loss to Green Bay. Zolak may get a look-see this Saturday (7:30 p.m.) when the Redskins visit Foxboro. He'll certainly get one before long if the Patriots continue scoring seven points a game.

Zolak is big (6 feet 5, 222 pounds) and has a great arm. He definitely needs experience, though, having played only one season as a regular at Maryland.

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