Attendance record is sunny weekend away

Bill Tanton

October 03, 1991|By Bill Tanton

The Orioles have to draw 129,826 for their final three dates this weekend to set an all-time club home attendance record. The only thing that can stop them is a rainout. They're likely to draw close to 150,000.

Last night fewer than 2,000 tickets remained for Friday and Saturday. Sunday is a sellout. It's something when a sixth-place team such as the Orioles outdraws a division winner like Pittsburgh, which will end up just under 2.3 million.

It's hard to get excited about the O's-Yanks battle for fifth place if you can remember when the Orioles were winners and Earl Weaver used to say: "If you're not in first place, you're camping out."

* When Jerry Hoffberger was selling the Orioles in the late '70s his people contacted Eastern Shore poultry millionaire Frank Perdue.

Perdue was intrigued by the marketing possibilities. The ballclub's name and his product were both Birds. Maybe one reason he has decided not to buy into the NFL now is he didn't think Chickens was an appropriate name for a pro football team.

* The young man popping field goals over the crossbar consistently from 30 yards out at Johns Hopkins one afternoon this week was not even a Hopkins player. It was Mike Andrews, senior kicker and punter for Morgan State.

"We play at Northern Iowa this week," Andrews explained, "and they have artificial turf. So has Hopkins. If I ever make a lot of money in my life I'm going to turf Hughes Stadium for Morgan."

Andrews, who is from Martinez, Calif., near Berkeley, has made three of his six field goal tries this season. He's averaging 40 yards punting. But Morgan, in its first year under coach Ricky Diggs, is 0-4.

Are the win-starved Bears about to give up the proverbial ghost?

"You don't even think about that around Coach Diggs," Andrews said. "I've played for a lot of coaches but never one like him. He's got us believing we're going to win some football games."

* Keep an eye on Annapolitan Jim Brady in next week's Columbus Cup yacht competition here. He could win it all skippering Team Chesapeake.

* The basketball coaches at Towson State, which produced Kurk Lee, believe he has a better chance with the Bullets than he had with his previous NBA team, the Nets. Says Jim Meil, the ace recruiter who lured Lee to Towson:

"The Bullets need a backup point guard to Michael Adams. Kurk will be good in that role. LaBradford Smith [who's injured] and Ledell Eackles are really No. 2 guards."

At least Lee is in condition. The Bullets have no idea what kind of shape John Williams and Eackles will be in when they report. General manager John Nash and coach Wes Unseld should be embarrassed to admit they have so little control over their high-paid talent.

* The average fan watching Towson State (0-3) lose to Rhode Island in football last week, if he were the coach, would make Danny Crowley his starting quarterback Saturday against Indiana (Pa.) here. Crowley, a true freshman from DeMatha High, moved the Tigers impressively with his passing and running in his first game action last week.

But Phil Albert, who has been coaching at Towson for 23 years, will stick with Gary Worthington, senior co-captain and a converted linebacker.

"Gary is a five-year player who commands respect," says Albert. "Crowley is going to be a real good football player for us, but right now he doesn't have the experience or the leadership Gary has. Those things are so important -- especially at quarterback."

* The high school game that interests me most this weekend is Gilman at Calvert Hall Saturday. Both are undefeated.

Gilman, under Sherm Bristow, has another well-drilled, high-quality team, though the talent level is not as high as last year when Gilman was MSA co-champ with Poly.

Calvert Hall has made a dramatic turnabout this season, coach Bill Mackley's fourth at the Hall. He won four games last year. He's 3-0 now.

"We rediscovered the word 'fun,' " says Mackley. "Last year we had 48 players and a lot of them stood around. Fourteen kids did not return -- their choice -- and now we have 36 players. We don't have great athletes but they have a great attitude. We haven't beaten Gilman since 1984. It should be a real nice ballgame."

tTC

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