Oriole Park or Not

October 03, 1991

If state officials and the Baltimore Orioles cannot agree on a name for the new baseball stadium at Camden Yards, they should call in an arbitrator. Or an arbiter. Or an umpire. Baseball is a game of arbitrary judgments. All who play it live with disputed calls.

A panel of opinionated people consulted by this department had a clear consensus that Oriole Park is the best name. It is informative and consistent with municipal and baseball history.

Be that as it may, other means could be found to settle this trivial pursuit:

1. Hand out a questionnaire to all who attend Memorial Stadium on the Orioles' final game Sunday and announce that the name with the largest vote total will be placed on the facade of the new downtown structure.

2. Since state taxpayers are underwriting the construction of the new stadium, we could make the name-game part of next year's income-tax form: a check-off question to determine the public's favorite stadium name. In due course, Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein could report on what the taxpayers had decided.

3. Since lottery players know that the instant rub-off games subsidize the stadium bonds, we could let Lotto decide. Put the leading candidate-names on scraps of paper inside ping-pong balls. The name that pops up is it. If this approach works satisfactorily, Lotto decision-making could be adopted for all issues of legislative paralysis, such as the stalemate over congressional redistricting.

The point is that if the Powers That Be can't agree, they should at least decide how to decide.

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