Shooting down reports of a stalemate between Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Baltimore Orioles principal owner Eli S. Jacobs over a name for the new downtown ballpark, Maryland Stadium Authority chairman Herbert J. Belgrad said yesterday that a deadlock isn't likely because the governor has no favorite yet.
Belgrad said he has a good reason to believe Schaefer is flexible -- an invitation to meet with the governor and to share the $H preferences of the stadium authority.
Belgrad wouldn't say when the meeting is planned, but he noted it would be the first time he and the governor had met primarily to discuss the name of the future Orioles home field.
"I can only say that the governor is too busy to go through a meaningless process [of seeking opinions] if he has already reached a firm decision," Belgrad said.
The Washington Post reported yesterday that Schaefer and Jacobs can't agree on a name for the $105.4 million ballpark. Quoting unnamed sources, the newspaper also said that Jacobs is intent on calling the new ballpark, which is scheduled to open for next season, Oriole Park while Schaefer is equally adamant that it be named Camden Yards.
Belgrad said: "If there is an impasse, I would say emphatically that is news to me. . . . To the extent I have any knowledge, the governor's mind is still open."
According to the 15-year ballpark lease, the name is to be selected jointly by the Stadium Authority and the Orioles, an arrangement which has, in effect, left the decision to the governor and the 87-percent owner of the baseball team.
Publicly, neither Schaefer nor Jacobs has said which name or names they like and yesterday brought another round of vague comments.
Schaefer's press secretary, Frank Traynor, said, "I don't think they are deadlocked. I think they are trying to come up with best name they can. The governor is planning on coming up with an announcement, hopefully soon."
Jacobs' spokesman did not return a telephone call yesterday. Orioles president Larry Lucchino said that the team has "no public comment" about the naming talks.