LACROSSE, horse racing, duckpins, sailing, jousting and...

GALLIMAUFRY

April 04, 1992

LACROSSE, horse racing, duckpins, sailing, jousting and other pastimes favored by Marylanders have quietly gone about their business, but under the surface there must be throbbing ire the noise volume over baseball.

It doesn't promise to let up. Baseball & Baltimore have a train of events aligned, to follow 1992's acclaimed new proscenium: in 1993, the All-Star Game; in 1994, the centennial of our first pennant; in 1995, the centennial of Babe Ruth's birth -- followed, all going well, by Cal Ripken Jr.'s passing Lou Gehrig in the most-consecutive-games-played standings; and in 1996, 30 years after Baltimore's first World Series championship, maybe this generation's Orioles will win something.

L As for 1997, the opening of downtown's new football stadium?

* * *

SPRING IS HERE! If you found no confirmation in The Sun or TV, figure that newspapers are too sophisticated to bid a photographer shoot the first robin, the other too jaded to assign an on-camera interview with the archbishop's first crocus. Rather the news of spring is still communicated by the senses. You pause, outdoors in the dark, and overhead the geese tell you it's so.

* * *

THE STORY WAS big in the Times of London, and the book is a sellout in Australia. Yet in his own country, Howard Donahue seems to rate as just another Kennedy-Dallas hobbyist.

The allusion is to "Mortal Error," by Bonar Menninger, telling how Mr. Donahue, the Towson gun expert, has identified the bullet that killed President John F. Kennedy as a shot fired accidentally by a Secret Service man in the following automobile.

All this brings to mind King Pellinore and the Questing Beast. That long-ago elderly royal was forever crashing about the forest on the trail of a fantastical animal. Eventually, it was plain to onlookers that King Pelly didn't really want to capture the Beast; the chase, the pursuing, was what he lived for. The allusion is to that wonderful Arthur-and-Merlin novel of half a century ago, T. H. White's "The Sword in the Stone."

Is that why the U.S. public, hypertensed from so many intrigue books and conspiracy films, resists? Is it happier not knowing for sure what happened in Dallas in 1963?

* * *

A GENERATION ago, would the daily newspaper have dared print verbatim the words uttered in the Colt locker room after the Jets beat them in the Super Bowl?

Two or three generations ago, would it have published a photo of Mrs. Henry Barton Jacobs, the grandest of Mount Vernon Place dames, in her swimsuit?

Yet the other day there it was, disclosing the annual salary of the president of Johns Hopkins University ($275,671). And all was silence.

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