Don't blame players for ticket hike

Phil Jackman

August 19, 1991|By Phil Jackman

In Monday's editions, it was incorrectly reported that Mayor Kurt Schmoke turned the operation of the city's public golf courses over to the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corp. In fact, former Mayor William Donald Schaefer created the BMGC in March 1985. The Evening Sun regrets the error.

Traditionally, August has been the big vacation month around these parts. And, judging from some of the utterances in the sports pages lately, it's easy to see why.

For example, in finally getting around to announcing the ticket-price scale for Park With No Name, Larry Lucchino said proudly, "There will be some bargains and we're pleased about that."


Inherent in such a statement is at least a hint (admission) that the Orioles' president doesn't think Orioles ducats have not been bargains in the past, generally speaking.

"Where we have raised prices," he continued, "we have done so in order to help offset escalating player costs . . ."

Ah yes, there goes management again, blaming those money-hungry, ingrate ballplayers for a price increase when even newborn babes are aware that (1) the Birds carry the second smallest bankroll in baseball, and (2) owner Eli Jacobs is hellbent on squeezing every Lincoln head penny he can out of this property.

Better, of course, had Lucchino said, "Look, folks, we're a business and these prices are what the market will bear." And, as an aside (under his breath), "if 3 million of you show up [as expected] next season, we'll sock you with another hefty increase."

Regarding the ridiculous delay in naming the giant concrete and brick crab of downtown Baltimore, Larry said the ballclub wanted discussion "to go on for a while, to allow the public and press to present ideas."

Yeah, right, the Committee of Two, Jacobs and Gov. Schaefer, have always indicated that they put great stock in what the public and press is thinking.

Next, we move to the area of participatory sports where, for the last several years, the Baltimore Triathlon has maintained a reputation for being a first-class event.

One, repeat one, Sunday morning every year, a gang of triathletes emerge from the waters of the Gunpowder River and ride bicycles through a small segment of Baltimore County and the northeast portion of the city to downtown.

How much bother can it be for affected countians, most of whom probably haven't even stopped snoring, considering the roads are cleared by late morning?

Bother enough evidently to cause Carol Hirshberg of the Baltimore County Office of Communication (no feather-bedding here, gang, no sir) to suggest "the minuses outweighed the pluses."

Baltimore City, which contributes maybe five times as much toward this being a popular and worthwhile event, has no problems with the triathlon despite countless more residents supposedly being "inconvenienced" by it.

Maybe it's a good thing they didn't decide to construct "Park With No Name" out in vibrant and progressive Baltimore County. No doubt even more of the escapees from the city would have been put out, and on many more occasions.

Then there's another story concerning "Park With No Name" and the enterprising Roy Becker, who applied for a trademark to sell clothing bearing the words "Camden Yards."

The Maryland Stadium Authority and/or the Orioles should have applied for such a trademark and others covering names proposed for the park. After all, it's not as though the list stretched out the door, just Camden, Babe Ruth, Orioles and Memorial or combination thereof.

Herb Belgrad, chairman of the stadium authority, explained the apparent oversight by saying, "If we copyrighted every potential name, there'd be speculation that that was the front-runner."

Excuse me.

Isn't that what the Orioles were looking for, according to Lucchino, speculation and discussion raging on and on well past the brink of boredom?

Lastly, there's Mayor Schmoke, who, a couple of years ago, made the very good move of turning direction of the budget-draining public golf courses over to a non-profit organization.

The city got what it wanted, savings. And just like in the case of Capital Management coming in and putting the Baltimore Arena in order, it also has freed itself of the care and worry of running these operations.

Besides patting himself on the back for so many more golfers taking advantage of the vastly-improved and well-run facilities in his re-election campaign literature, Schmoke now wants the golf organization to forgo plowing excess funds back into strengthening the program and cut the city in on the overage.

Yes indeed, it's either time for people to hustle away on vacation or at least to do a little more thinking before they proceed to insert their feet in their mouths.

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