Hale says he has no plans to sell Blast after season

MSL Notebook:

November 26, 1991|By Sandra McKee

Since Blast owner Ed Hale won his battle for control of the Bank of Baltimore, the rumor mill has been active, suggesting Hale will unload the Blast at the end of the season.

"I've heard that, too," Hale said. "Where does stuff like that get started? It's bull.

"I'm chairman of our [Major Soccer League's] executive committee. I'm still active in league affairs . . . It's just not true.

"I really don't have any headaches from owning this team. I like the players -- even as far as [Tim] Wittman goes, if I thought he could play the entire season, I'd have no problem with him coming back. But his durability, since I've owned the team, hasn't been very good."

Hale said the key to not losing money in the MSL is winning and drawing an average of 8,000 to 9,000 fans.

"If we can do that, we won't lose money and that's an amazing story in itself," he said. "I'll tell you this much. I had said if we'd played 52 games this season, I would not have come back and played, because that's a formula for financial disaster. But with 40 games we've got a very viable situation."

* GOALKEEPING THRILLS: Cris Vaccaro had one of the best offensive games of any Blast goalkeeper -- and the best for a keeper in league history -- Saturday when he shut out Cleveland in the second half and scored a goal and an assist in the team's 6-3 victory over the Crunch.

Vaccaro, voted the MSL's Defensive Player of the Week, is the first goalkeeper in league history to be his team's leading scorer in a game.

Saturday, Vaccaro was the only Blast player with two points. He assisted on Mike Stankovic's goal to tie the game 3-3, and late in the fourth quarter, when Cleveland was on the sixth attacker, he saw a perfect opportunity to throw the ball down field and give the Blast a 5-3 lead.

It was the seventh goal of Vaccaro's career.

"It was a tremendous feeling and the goal I scored took a lot of pressure off us and took the wind out of them," Vaccaro said. "It was exciting, but it's over with now. We've got to look ahead."

The Blast plays at Wichita Friday and returns to the Arena Saturday for a 7:35 p.m. game against St. Louis.

* THE HIRMEZ QUESTION: Former Blast midfielder Waad Hirmez has returned to his home in San Diego, while the MSL Players Union tries to settle the injury question surrounding his release.

Hirmez claims when he was cut Nov. 16, he still was suffering from a knee injury incurred in a Nov. 10 game in San Diego. "We're trying to arrange a neutral physician to examine the player and determine the state of his health," said MSLPA spokesman Will Bray.

If the examining physician finds Hirmez to be healthy, no further action will be taken. If Hirmez is found to be injured, the MSLPA will ask that he be restored to the Blast's roster and compensated for back pay. If the Blast fails to do that, a grievance would be filed.

* IF THIS IS GAME DAY: The old movie, "If this is Tuesday, it must be Belgium" has nothing on radio announcer Dave Johnson.

Saturday he worked two indoor soccer games in two different leagues in two different cities.

First it was the MSL's Blast at Cleveland in the afternoon. Then on to Chicago for the National Professional Soccer League's Chicago Power against the Kansas City Attack in the evening.

"Most of the advertisements in the NPSL are live reads," said Johnson. "By halftime of the Chicago game I wondered what I had gotten myself into and asked myself if I was enjoying this? But at the end, it was fun. And I'd probably do it again."

* ATTENDANCE CLIMBS: Wichita had its first sellout (9,689) since April 14, 1989 . . . In Dallas, attendance is on the rise. Owner Don Carter went into the locker room before the first game of the season and told his team to ignore the empty seats. "Your job is to play," Carter said. "Ours is to take care of attendance. I don't want you to worry about it, because we're going to take care of it." In four home games, attendance has progressed from 4,100 to 5,200, to 6,900 to last weekend's 8,100.

* MSL-LANIA: Wittman had the winning goal for San Diego in overtime against Wichita Saturday . . . St. Louis' Branko Segota continues on a steady path, with eight goals in seven games . . . San Diego's John Kerr Jr. is MSL Offensive Player of the Week, having scored three goals last weekend, including the game-winner in overtime at St. Louis . . . Cleveland signed Kai Haaskivi and released Theo Kulsdom, who has been signed by Wichita.

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