Two guys play the name game

Dan Rodricks

August 16, 1991|By Dan Rodricks

Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer and Baltimore Orioles owner Eli S. Jacobs are negotiating the name for the new stadium. We take you now to Annapolis, behind closed doors, where the two men are meeting one-on-one, eye-to-eye, nose-to-nose, cheek-to-cheek. It's late. The two men are tired. They have unfastened their ties, rolled up their sleeves, slipped off their shoes and pulled off their socks. There is a stack of empty pizza boxes on a colonial sideboard.

Jacobs: You want this last slice?

Schaefer: It's yours, Ellie. Chow down.

Jacobs: Governor, please. It's Eli. Eee-lie. Ellie is the bullpen coach.

Schaefer: Sorry. It's gettin' late, and you know, Mr. Jacobson . . .

Jacobs: It's Jacobs. Like Jake-Cubs. Jacobs. How you gonna name the stadium when you can't even name the owner?

Schaefer: You know, Eli, I'm always giving people nicknames. Those reporters. Love to bug 'em. Call 'em funny names. That one from The Evening Sunpaper, love to call him Don Brodrick. Drives him nuts. Love to call the women reporters 'little girls.' Sometimes I call the male reporters 'little girls.' Bunch of creeps. Drive me crazy. This mansion stuff. And you know, not one penny went to that mansion that didn't go to that mansion, and they kill me for it, kill me. Place was a dump. Ceilings cracked, toilet seats loose, and they kill me for making repairs, kill me! What did they want? Go to Hechinger's? Do it myself? And you know, I have nothing but contempt for the ones, and they know who they are, the ones who keep writing that because, you know -- a lot of people will tell you this -- it's been the most unfair crusade against a public official I've ever seen. And let me tell you . . .

Jacobs: Hey! Hey! Shut up! Enough! We're here to name the stadium. Please, now, can we deal with the matter at hand?

Schaefer: Take it easy, Elston.

Jacobs: Eli! Eli! And don't tell me to take it easy. You take it easy. You've been whining for three days, and I gotta tell ya, governor, I'm sick up to my ears with it. So, if you don't mind, can we please go over the business at hand?

Schaefer (calmly): OK. All right. Go ahead. Go right ahead.

Jacobs: Now, we've agreed that Babe Ruth is a bad name for the stadium, is that correct?

Schaefer: Whatever you say.

Jacobs: What do you mean?

Schaefer: Whatever you say. You're the boss. You can tell the governor of Maryland to shut up. You own the Orioles. Whatever you say.

Jacobs: Now, governor, don't be that way. We're in this together. Remember, you have 50 percent of the say.

Schaefer: And 100 percent of the bill.

Jacobs: We're not gonna beat that dead horse again, are we?

Schaefer: Oh, no. Oh, no. Not at all. But just remember, it was my idea to build this stadium and the people, they write letters to the editor. They kill me. Always with that mansion thing. Spend, spend, spend. They think I do all the spending. But remember, not one penny goes that isn't approved by Mike Miller and Clay Mitchell and the legislature, and let me tell you something else that . . .

Jacobs: STOP!!!!

Schaefer: You don't have to yell.

Jacobs: What do you want to name the stadium?

Schaefer: Isn't this a pretty office? You know, not one penny went for this office that didn't go for this office . . .

Jacobs: Just tell me. I'll write it down.

Schaefer: Boogie Stadium!! Ha, ha, ha!

Jacobs: Please, governor, be serious.

Schaefer: Boogie, Boogie, Boogie! Ha, ha, ha!

Jacobs: This is the last time I'm asking.

Schaefer: Let me tell you a little story . . .

Jacobs: Oh, God, no.

Schaefer: Once there was a man and he was a mayor, a do-it-now mayor, and he made a city, gave it a new start. Good mayor -- good, good mayor. People loved him. Loved him. Didn't write letters to the editor. Didn't call up the radio and say mean things. Loved him. He wanted good things for his city. Built a new harbor. Built a new stadium.

Jacobs: You want the stadium named after you?

Schaefer: Great idea! Great idea! You know something, Elrod, you're a bright young man -- a bright, bright young man. Let's talk about this. The night is young. Let's burn some midnight oil. Send out for more pizza. By the way, how do you like the rugs? You know, not one penny went for these rugs that didn't go for these rugs, but they kill me for it. Kill me! . . .

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