Two weeks from tomorrow the Orioles will get their first look at their new home at Oriole Park at Camden Yards when they come home from Florida and play the Mets in an exhibition game.
If the players have any doubts about the place, they can take my word for it: They're going to love it. I went through it again yesterday and checked out the final touches on the clubhouse, etc. All I can say is: "Wow!"
The new Orioles clubhouse is gigantic -- 4,000 square feet. The players have their own kitchen and lounge. The visitors' clubhouse, at 2,200 square feet, is the largest in the majors. There's also an auxiliary clubhouse that will be used only for special occasions such as old-timers' games.
Nolan Rogers, of the Maryland Stadium Authority, recently showed some Orioles wives through the clubhouse (the wives also have their own lounge). Rogers showed the women the 16 showers in the new clubhouse, compared to the six in the old one.
"Good," said one. "Now we won't have to wait so long after the games for our husbands to shower."
"Yes, you will," Rogers said. "There's also a sauna and a Jacuzzi for the players. They'll linger there."
Don't worry about your new home, fellows. You'll be treated there in a manner that befits a bunch of millionaires.
* Syracuse U., the No. 1 lacrosse team in the country in this week's Sun poll, has a record of 69-5 in its own Carrier Dome. Even so, coming here Saturday to play 2-0 Johns Hopkins shouldn't bother the Orange.
Last year Syracuse lost at home in the Dome to Hopkins, 18-12, in a regular-season game, but came to Homewood Field in the playoffs in May and beat the Jays, 11-8.
Most of that Syracuse team is back, including the top eight scorers. Chief among these is three-time All-American (although he's Canadian) attackman Tom Marechek.
Marechek, with 143 career goals, is not only on a course to break Gary Gait's school-record 192 goals but also the NCAA record of 193 set by North Carolina State's Stan Cockerton from 1977-1980.
* Towson State's touring baseball team is playing at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., today at the most exciting moment in the 105-year history of the Baptist college. Unfortunately, that excitement has nothing to do with Towson State or baseball.
Campbell's basketball team tonight plays the No. 1 team in the country, Duke, in Greensboro, N.C., in the first round of the NCAA tournament. One Campbell man who has a sense of humor about that is the school's basketball coach, Billy Lee.
Says Lee: "USA Today says we're a trillion-to-one shot to win the NCAA championship. I'd like to know who that one was."
Campbell, incidentally, is the champion of the Big South Conference, of which Towson State becomes a member next year. Interesting note on Campbell: since its founding in 1887, the school has had only three presidents.
* Ex-Baltimore Bullet Paul "The Bear" Hoffman, the roughest basketball player I've ever seen, is resting comfortably at Children's Hospital after undergoing surgery for a complete knee replacement. It makes me wonder how many opponents who were manhandled by The Bear in the old days have since had to have corrective surgery of their own.
* Chester O'Sullivan, chairman of the State Athletic Commission, is still recovering at home after surgery on a broken shoulder a month ago. O'Sullivan, 87, is in high spirits this week. He received more than 50 St. Patrick's Day cards and last Sunday was taken out to ride in the St. Patrick's Day parade with a former Miss America.
* Not so fortunate in his recovery is Gordon Beard, who has been working with the Oriole public relations department since he retired as an Associated Press sportswriter three years ago.
Something burst inside Beard a month ago -- tests are still being conducted to determine what -- and the popular local emcee is bedridden at University Hospital.
Says Helen Conklin, herself a legend in the O's PR department: "It's so sad about Gordon. His wife, Joan, says his eyes follow people around his hospital room but he still can't speak. It's going to be a long, hard recovery for Gordon. He's such a good guy."