AMONG THE 50,700 fans who witnessed the final baseball game at Memorial Stadium, few will forget the carefully staged transplant of home plate to the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Five white-suited groundskeepers riding in a stretch white limousine rode onto the field, dug out the 50-pound marker, dumped it into the trunk and then drove quickly downtown, under motorcycle police escort, for a ceremonial replanting that was carried live on Memorial Stadium's big center-field screen.
It was just one tear-jerking moment among many and, alas, it was a fake. First, the old home plate was too heavy to lug across the huge stretch of soft dirt that by next April will become a pristine baseball diamond. The grass sod is now a-growing in a field near Salisbury. Second, the home plate used for what might be called this photo-op occasion was strictly for show -- show biz.
Fact is, home plate is not yet in place in the new stadium. It will be precision-placed only when the construction schedule permits.
Since the last game at Memorial Stadium had much of the nostalgia and mysticism of that great baseball movie, "Field of Dreams," we are quite content to forgive this bit of buncombe.
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KURT SCHMOKE, it is said, won by a landslide, getting 72 percent of the vote in last week's election. He got 72 percent of the votes of those who showed up.
But one could also say he got 20 percent of the vote -- with 326,000 voters registered and eligible, 64,000 pulled the Schmoke lever.
Or one could say with equal correctness Mr. Schmoke's "landslide" represented under 12 percent of the vote -- 64,000 votes in a city with an adult population (according to the 1990 census -- a count which Mr. Schmoke says is too low) of 556,000.
Mr. Schmoke shouldn't feel too bad about his 12 percent total. Counting the same way, his Republican opponent, Samuel A. Culotta, polled 4 percent of the city's over-18 population. And the Republican candidates for city council president and comptroller each drew about 2 1/2 percent of the potential electorate.
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EVERYONE KNOWS that seats on the New York Stock Exchange go for big money. But did you know that a stockholder membership to the Frederick County Agricultural Society Inc. recently rose to $17,750 after a rousing 10-minute bidding?
Only 250 stockholder memberships exist on the 129-year-old society, which owns the Frederick Fairgrounds and produces the Great Frederick Fair. Most society memberships are privately transferred among family members but now and then one is sold.
The price is going up. When the previous membership was sold about five years ago, it reportedly fetched $6,000.