League (continued from last week): Bad...

THE HOT STOVE

November 18, 1991

THE HOT STOVE League (continued from last week): Bad enough that Memorial Stadium has gone out of the baseball business; what's worse is that Oriole Park, too, has shut its gates. All summer and into fall, the Maryland Stadium Authority has been giving free tours to small, favored groups -- altogether, 5,000 people.

That's a ballpark figure.

But by now Oriole Park is almost the real, completed thing. For a view of that, with players, you'll be buying tickets.

From spacious promenades to long dugouts to way-up-there seats, the MSA's No. 1 tour guide has been Nolan Rogers. He showed 'em the works: downtown skyline, skyboxes (way-up-there dollars), tiled athletes' quarters, subterranean pipes for beer supply. Which of these neighborhoods is Mr. Rogers' favorite?

When a tour approached home plate, Mr. Rogers would stop and point to the Camden warehouse. The shortest-line distance is 432 feet. How many batters nowadays are able to propel a baseball that far? Will it be an Oriole who first hits the bricks, or some lesser team's homer-basher?

Let not the anxious taxpayer worry. The building's nearest windows, it seems, are fitted out with shatter-proof panes.

* * *

IT IS TRUE that cigarette addicts of America have become an oppressed, despised, humiliated minority, pushed off to one side by fellow citizens who can't stand the stink or the threat of passive vulnerability to cancer.

In workplaces throughout the land, including the Baltimore Sun fortress on Calvert Street, smokers have been told to indulge their habit only in the great outdoors or in backrooms especially set aside to accommodate and segregate them. In our case, it is a dreary, drab, hazy place sometimes visited by non-smokers who scamper in and out to buy a soft drink or use the automatic teller machine. Never to inhale the fumes.

Yet the Gallimaufry clique, non-addicts all, sheds only half a tear for these unfortunates. Why? Because some smokers have discovered the eternal truth that those bent under by adversity bond to one another. This phenomenon is observed in twosomes, threesomes, foursomes often seen puffing away, exchanging confidences, drinking a cozy cuppa and otherwise enjoying their togetherness as outcasts.

* * *

FOR THOSE -- and they are not many outside the Capital Beltway -- who have tried to keep track of the New Republic magazine's ideological permutations over the years, comes this

tidbit:

In the annual poll conducted by Washington Journalism Review, the New Republic has been nominated for "best liberal magazine," as well as the "best conservative magazine."

Which settles that.

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