What: The Baltimore Claws Pro-Box Indoor Football team in the newly formed five-team Atlantic Coast Professional Football League
When and where: Claws will play five games this summer at Du Burns Arena on Boston Street. Claws are playing all home games because other teams had trouble getting arenas. Tonight is the first game, with the New England Crusaders providing the opposition.
Rules of game: Pro-Box Football has nothing to do with Arena Football. It is a cross between indoor soccer, box lacrosse (indoor lacrosse) and ice hockey. It is played on a 60-yard-long and 30-yard-wide field, covered by a 60-foot-high net. Unlike Arena Football, there is a penalty box for two-minute penalties when a player is assessed a 15-yard infraction, there are no out-of-bound lines and the ball is in play until it hits the floor. For instance, a receiver can catch a pass off the net or the sideboards. It is eight-on-eight football, with five offensive players having to be on the line of scrimmage. When a player enters the penalty box, it becomes eight on seven. There is full contact, with 15-minute quarters. There are no punts. On fourth down, teams have the option of attempting a field goal or going for a first down. Each team will have a 24-man roster.
How name was chosen: Team owner Jerry Fair liked the name Baltimore Claws when it was used for about three months before this city's entry in the old American Basketball Association folded before playing a game in 1974. But Fair said he could never figure out why the basketball team used a lobster claw on its team logo, instead of the authentic blue crab claw that the football team will use. Fair first used the name Baltimore Claws three years ago for an outdoor team he owned in the Atlantic Coast League.
Team colors: Chesapeake royal blue, steam crab orange, and white
Mascot: Buster the Crab
Top players: Former Morgan State 310-pound OL Steve "Sugar Bear" Boyd, former Morgan State TE Ricky Cruz, former Wesley College 315-pound OL Paul Schwiger, former Maryland OL David Parker and former Northern High RB Brian Parker (both sons of Colts Hall of Famer Jim Parker), former Archbishop Curley and Perry Hall K Rick Loftus and Cecil County RBs Tim and Terrance Minor (brothers).
Coach: Elroy Brewer, former Baltimore Bears offensive coordinator
Teams in league: Six with hopes of expansion to 10 teams when league begins play on a permanent basis Feb. 1, 1993. In addition to the Claws, teams are the New England Crusaders, New Jersey Oaks, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Kings, Metro Buccaneers of Washington, and Plainfield (N.J.) Mariners.
Season schedule: Tonight -- New England; May 30 -- New Jersey; July 18 -- Brooklyn; July 25 -- Metro; Aug. 1 -- Plainfield.