It made me cringe to hear the No. 1 guy in the NFL draft, Steve Emtman, gush to a national TV audience yesterday, "It's great to be a Colt."
There was a time when there was nothing like being a Baltimore Colt. Great team every year. Great fans. Sold out stadium every week. An owner, Carroll Rosenbloom, who ran a good show. But it has never been the same since Bob Irsay became the owner and subsequently took the team to Indianapolis in 1984.
Emtman, the defensive tackle from the University of Washington, is assured of monetary riches, but he'll end up as frustrated as everyone else who plays for Irsay. Even with the top two picks in the draft -- No. 2 was linebacker Quentin Coryatt, of Texas A&M -- the Colts will find a way to fail. Does Emtman think it was an accident that the Colts were 1-15 last year?
"Things are different now," Emtman has said. Oh, really? Bob Irsay still owns the team and calls the major shots. Lawyer Mike Chernoff is still whispering in the boss's ear. Son Jimmy Irsay sits in the GM's chair. Ted Marchibroda is the coach. Sound different to you?
* Never have I pulled so hard for a horse or been as disappointed as I was with John the Bold's eighth-place finish in the Tesio Stakes at Pimlico Saturday.
John the Bold was going to run in the Kentucky Derby this Saturday, if he'd won here, which would have been beautiful. The colt's owner, Margaret McManus, and her husband, ABC-TV's Jim McKay, have done so much for racing and for many other great causes in Maryland.
The McKays (they also answer to McManus, if you prefer) will be all right, though. There may not be anyone in the world who has had a better course in how to handle the agony of defeat.
* The Yankees drew only 51,827 for three weekend dates with the Orioles, the largest being yesterday's 19,473 for New York's 3-1 win. If the teams had played here, they'd have drawn 140,000-plus. Did you ever think you'd see Baltimore outdraw New York like that?
* The motto on the cover of the Bullets' press guide -- You Gotta Believe -- looks pretty silly at this point. Next year the public should have a motto for the perennially disappointing Bullets, such as: You Gotta Give Us Something To Believe In.
* A letter in yesterday's sports section headlined "Opener a Bummer" confounds me. The writer wanted a big name singer to do the National Anthem at the Oriole opener instead of those who did it -- the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Morgan State University choir.
It filled me with pride to see two great local organizations, the BSO and the Morgan choir, stride out on the field at Camden Yards that day and do the national anthem. How appropriate! Big name singer my foot.
* The four-team Atlantic Coast Conference lacrosse tournament, won by favorite North Carolina, drew only a little over 7,000 at the University of Maryland Friday and Saturday nights. Bad weather held the crowds down. The tourney will come to Maryland next year anyway. It breaks even financially at College Park. It loses money down south.
* If you've never been exposed to the grace and beauty of top women's lacrosse -- some males prefer it to the men's game -- here's a suggestion: Go to Loyola College tomorrow at 3 p.m. and watch the Lady Greyhounds, who are ranked No. 4 in the nation, play Maryland, which is No. 2. The price of admission will appeal to lacrosse fans. It's free.
Says coach Diane Aikens, whose Loyola women beat Towson State Saturday, 9-7, while Maryland was beating Penn, 17-6: "This should be a terrific game. Only six teams are invited to the women's NCAA tournament. At this stage of the season we're battling to make the tournament."
* Look for Navy to beat Army in football again next year (Army was the only team Navy beat in 11 games last season). Navy, judging by Saturday's spring game, appears to have a good quarterback in Jim Kubiak. He completed 18 of 28 passes for 316 yards.
Two weeks ago I happened to be watching spring football at West Point. The QB there threw four straight interceptions. Army, which doesn't throw the ball anyway, can't even complete a pass in practice.