Since this is the end of still another great year at the old keyboard writing sports and getting paid for it, I thought I would be right in step with my colleagues.
Our crack staff has thrown together the top local sports stories of the year. Lem Satterfield, "The Fall Guy," thought they all should be wrestling stories, but we wouldn't have it.
My preference was, of course, track, but that was turned down as well. I want Leon Walters, Gary Bater and Dennie DeWitt to know I went to bat (there I go with that baseball again) for them.
To give this edition some balance, and because some of you have accused me foryears of dealing in fiction, I thought I would give you the top local sports stories that almost happened.
They're not in any special order, sports fans, because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
* It was the spring of the year, when a young man's fancy turns to love, that Northeast Principal Joe Carducci called his athletic director, Bob Grimm, into the office.
Grimm was given a pink slip and exiled to Meade High School. While he wasn't treated so harshly as those on the football staff, Grimm did have to take phone messages for Mustang Ralph Beachley.
That was a piece of cake, because no one knows that Beachley is AD at Meade except for his immediate family and Butch Young.
Meanwhile back in Pasadena, the "Flying Lindas" were scheming to have Grimm reinstated. Linda Grunder and Linda Tetrault petitioned Superintendent Larry Lorton and the school board.
Grunder and Tetrault cited Carducci's views on the TV show "Married With Children" and said he had called several girls into his office and asked them what they thought of the Bundys. Carducci was alleged to have encouraged students to watch the show and give him reports on Monday mornings.
His wife wouldn't let him watch it.
Upon hearing this, Lorton, who was swimming in the pool at Annapolis, transferred Grimm along with six secretaries, a janitor and four guidance counselors back to Northeast.
Grimm was reinstated as athletic director, and Harry Lentz was promoted to principal, with Carducci moving into a high-paying job on Riva Road counting paper clips. Lentz immediately changed the name of the school to fit the environment of fast-food joints and signs along the Mountain Road-Pasadena corridor.
The schoolwas renamed "Harry and Bob's."
* In March, robust Annapolis hoop coach John Brady won his 300th game at Cole Field House in style. HisPanthers presented him the 300 milestone on a platter that included his second state title, his favorite cheese balls, two pizzas with everything on them and a gift certificate to Bob's Big Boy.
His voice cracking with emotion (and because his mouth was full), Brady tearfully announced his retirement.
That set off a thunderous, standingovation and church bells sounded in Cape St. Claire, at Fort Meade and in Old Mill.
Broadneck coach Ken Kazmarek embraced Brady (well,he got his arms halfway around the big guy) and told him to put in aword for him with Fred (Stauffer, Annapolis AD). Kaz had to be restrained when it was determined that he had come onto the floor from under the wrong hoop.
The last time he did that, they had a near-riotat Annapolis High.
Pat O'Malley was there to get the exclusive onBrady's stunning retirement announcement, as the Panther coach refused to talk any other reporters.
Opposing coaches paid tribute withsuch remarks as, "That's great, what's O'Malley going to write aboutnow?"
"What an egomaniac."
"Anybody could have coached that school and talent to 300 wins in 14 years."
* Archbishop Spalding football coach Greg Fuhrman announced his resignation amid pressure from the Environmentalist Wackos Club at the school. Seems Fuhrman allowed his players to frequently spit on the lavish practice field at theSevern school.
Former Los Angeles Rams coach John Robinson replaced Fuhrman as Spalding coach because of his experience working for a woman (Georgia Frontierre).
The Cavaliers' Fathers' Club recommended Fuhrman for the Indianapolis Colts job, but he turned it down because it was too far to drive every day, farther than from Spalding to his Westminster home.
* With 30 seconds to go, the playoffs at stake and his team on the Old Mill 1-foot line with the score tied, Annapolis football coach Roy Brown calls timeout.
After a huddle with offensive coordinator Billy Phebus and head junior varsity coach Dennie DeWitt, Brown and Phebus leave to get a pizza.
DeWitt calls fora flea flicker, inserts freshman indoor track star Kristen Nicolini and puts her out on the flank. An Old Mill defensive back thinks she's cute and follows her out of the end zone and onto the parking lot, going for the decoy.
Quarterback Juan Johnson, after a double-fakeinside, bootlegs into the right corner of the end zone untouched, and Annapolis upsets Old Mill and goes onto the state playoffs.