Luskin vs. Jacobs is cheap debate

Ken Rosenthal

August 09, 1991|By Ken Rosenthal

Brain-flossing, criss-crossing, pillow-tossing:

Jack Luskin holds down prices the way Eli Jacobs holds down the Orioles' payroll. The cheapest guy in town buying the team from the cheapest guy out of town? Luskin's nephew, attorney Steven L. Miles, says, "Let's talk about it!"

We say: Bring back Boogie.

Luskin, of course, has no chance of buying the team -- yo, Jack, that stock is going the wrong way -- but it's sure fun to think about. Would big-screen TVs become a regular giveaway? Would minority owner Miles do more obnoxious commercials? Adorn the cover of the media guide?

Local ownership, local ownership.

Here's an eclectic group that could work:

John Waters, CEO.

Artie Donovan, club president.

Joan Jett, general manager.

Joanie's got a hot new single the Orioles could relate to:

"Backlash."

* First Jeff Robinson leaves us.

Now the Major Soccer League might be packing up, too.

Institution after institution, this city just keeps falling apart.

* New York Mets general manager Frank Cashen, the man who built the Orioles of the late '60s and early '70s, isn't planning to attend the final game at Memorial Stadium. Right now, he's got other problems.

The Mets are only 5 1/2 games out of first place, but their uninspired play is ridiculed in New York. There's no sense here picking apart Cashen's recent moves -- the home team keeps us plenty busy. It's just sad his career is ending this way.

Cashen, who turns 66 next month, wanted to phase himself out this season, but his plan was put on hold another year when Joe McIlvaine left for San Diego. Now he's more immersed in the Mets' day-to-day operations than at any time since the mid-'80s, and the team is breaking his heart.

Under Cashen, the Mets won more games than any major-league club from 1981-1990, but only two division titles. They're still the most successful New York sports franchise since the Yankees of the early '60s, but as Cashen said, "You pick up a paper or listen to the radio now and think we're the biggest bunch of idiots in the world."

Cashen, a graduate of Mount St. Joseph High, Loyola College and the University of Maryland Law School, led the Orioles to four World Series and the Mets to one. Like Memorial Stadium, he deserves a better ending, not a season to dismember.

* Just one question about Rick Dempsey's appearance at Christopher's:

Did he lip-sync?

* He hasn't even been in the lineup a month, but you can bet the Orioles can't wait to shriek "We told you so" about Juan Bell. Now let's see if they've got the guts to stick with him as their regular second baseman -- not just the next few weeks, but beyond.

No question, Bell has performed far better than expected in place of the injured Bill Ripken. His defense is unsteady, and his 15-for-45 surge isn't proof he can play every day. But just for argument's sake, what happens if the guy's for real?

Bell, a switch-hitter with speed, offers more offensive dimensions than Ripken, who is batting .216 after leading the club in hitting last year. Yet Ripken merits a huge edge in the field, and he's also one of the most popular players in the clubhouse.

The best option still might be to trade Bell, but the Orioles no doubt are reconsidering. They desperately need speed in their lineup, and they don't want to see another of their talented young players develop into a star for another team.

Bill Ripken, utility man?

Yikes.

* The Chicago Spy Sox are in town, which means war.

Any more sign stealing, the Orioles kidnap Frank Thomas.

On second thought, they'd probably screw up and grab Ron Kittle.

* Ben McDonald won't be Exhibit A if pitching coach Al Jackson gets the chance to defend himself, which he won't. The other night manager John Oates talked about finding four better pitchers if McDonald doesn't improve, bringing this mess full circle.

The Orioles planned for McDonald (5-6, 5.27) to be their No. 1 starter, not their No. 5. Their biggest off-season sin was ignoring their glaring need for quality starting pitching. Now they're faced with the horrifying notion that McDonald might not be as good as they believed.

A new pitching coach might help.

He'd better.

* Not Babe Ruth Stadium.

Not Orioles Park.

Camden Yards.

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