Donald vs. Eli, or is it Elijah?

Dan Rodricks hHC bB

August 23, 1991|By Dan Rodricks

After weeks of negotiations, Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer and Oriole owner Eli Jacobs are still unable to VTC reach agreement on a name for the new baseball stadium in Baltimore. We take you now to a private dining room at D'Alesio's Restaurant in Little Italy, where these two powerful figures try once again to break the deadlock.

Jacobs: That was a fine meal, governor. Thank you.

Schaefer: Oh, so I get to pick up the tab for dinner, too, eh?

Jacobs: Well, I . . .

Schaefer: Never mind, never mind, Elwood. I'll take care of it. Order dessert. Go ahead, have an armadillo.

Jacobs: You mean an amaretto?

Schaefer: Whatever. The state can buy a new stadium, we can buy you dinner, too.

Jacobs: Would you get my name right? It's Eli. EEE-lie!!

Schaefer: Got it.

Jacobs: You know something, governor? I have not enjoyed these discussions.

Schaefer: Really? Mike Miller says the same thing. Mickey Steinberg too. Don't understand it.

Jacobs: There's been a persistent hostility in your comments and, frankly, it makes me quite uncomfortable. It makes negotiations twice as difficult.

Schaefer: What hostility? (Looking under table) Where?

Jacobs: Getting my name wrong, and all these cheap shots about the cost of the stadium, and the things you said last time about the political beating you're taking . . .

Schaefer: Oh, come on, Elijah. You don't care about me. Why should you? Look at yourself. Own the team. Live in New York. New stadium. Cheap payroll. People come by thousands. Team stinks, too . . . You don't have to face people. Don't have to run for office. Don't have to go to Eastern Shore and have people call you names. Don't have to have reporters beating on you. They kill me, kill me, always writing about that mansion . . .

Jacobs: Waiter!

Schaefer: What's wrong, Elmer?

Jacobs: Governor, this is an unproductive conversation and, as I learned on Wall Street many years ago, 50 percent of life is knowing when to leave the table. I'm a busy man, I have a lot of reading to do.

Schaefer: Did you know you were in the city that reads? Smoke came up with that one. Not bad.

Jacobs: Governor, listen to me now. The stadium is nearly completed. We've got to decide on a name. There are tickets to be printed. A new scoreboard has to be ordered. So what do you say? Let's be men and get on with it.

Schaefer: Right. Men. Let's be men.

Jacobs: Now, I think we're beyond naming it Schaefer Stadium, are we not?

Schaefer: You know, I thought it over. I can't suggest it. Wouldn't look good. And they'd kill me for it, kill me. Press go nuts. Lots of letters, idiots calling the radio to say nasty things. Ugly stuff. Can't do it. Later, when I'm gone, maybe. Not now.

Jacobs: I'm glad you see it that way.

Schaefer: Of course, Ellie, you could always suggest it, and I could excuse myself. Say, "Oh, that nice Mr. Jacobson . . ."

Jacobs: Jacobs! JACOBS!

Schaefer: "That nice Mr. Jacobs thought it should be named for me, all my years as mayor of Baltimore . . ." Quite an honor.

Jacobs: Stop dreaming. It's not going to happen. My preference, as I have stated many times, is that the stadium be named Oriole Park.

Schaefer: And my preference, as I have stated many times, is that it be named Camden Yards. I like that. Camden Yards. Good name. Strong name. And it has history. Railroads. Trains. Warehouse. Lots of history.

Jacobs: That's boring.

Schaefer: Yeah, like your baseball team.

Jacobs: That's it! I'm outta here. I know exactly how those guys in the General Assembly feel when they have to deal with you.

Schaefer: You know, Elton, maybe you ought to sell the team. That Stephen L. Miles -- good man, smart fella. Don't think he supported Steve Sachs for governor. That Jack Luskin, good man. Don't think he supported Sachs, either. And Boogie -- wild and loaded. Boogie! Boogie! Boogie! If I were you, I'd sell. That way, if I were you, I wouldn't have to deal with me anymore. Let me tell you a story -- just so you know who you're dealing with. Once there was a man, a mayor . . .

Jacobs: Waiter! Check!

Schaefer: At last, he pays for something!

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