Here's exciting news for you golfers at Longview in Baltimore County -- or maybe you don't need news this exciting:
The foxes are back.
That's right, the foxes who used to dart out of the woods and steal golf balls right off the fairways -- a story that was reported five years ago -- are up to their old tricks.
"We used to see the foxes back in those days," said Jimmy Clifford, "and now we're seeing them again.
"I played at Longview with Joe Fulca the other day. On the 12th hole a fox came out, picked up Joe's ball in his mouth, and ran off with it.
"On the 14th hole, the same thing happened. It looked like the same fox, but it could have been two different ones. He just ran off with the ball."
This does not come as news to Longview's pro, Frank Laber.
"These foxes are all over the place," Laber said. "I don't know what the attraction is with these golf balls. Maybe they think they're food or eggs. I don't know. But this is what they do -- they run off with the balls."
"Back five years ago," said Clifford, "they found a foxes' den with a lot of golf balls in it. The worst part is that some of those foxes were found to be rabid."
It'll take more than a few foxes to keep the golfers away from Longview, especially with the July 4 weekend coming up.
"All these Baltimore County courses will be full of golfers," Laber said. "We only have three public courses in the county -- Longview here in Timonium, Rocky Point in Essex, and Diamond Ridge in Woodlawn. The county hasn't built a new one in 23 years.
"Between us, the three courses have 200,000 rounds played on them annually. We desperately need more public golf courses."
* American League president Bobby Brown lost some of his luster this week with his handling of the Tim Leary scuffball incident that occurred here June 21.
That's not because Dr. Brown threw out the Orioles' protest. Anyone who has been around baseball for a while expected that. These protests are almost never honored.
It was Brown's backward way of investigating the case that was disappointing. After denying the protest, Brown announced that he will ask Leary to meet with him. After?
Said Orioles manager John Oates: "I would think that's something that would be done before the decision."
Two things I feel I've learned through this: Leary does doctor baseballs, and Oates thinks more clearly than the league president.
* Parity. Are you beginning to get tired of it, as I am?
When No. 1 seed Jim Courier was eliminated at Wimbledon by a virtual unknown, he said, naturally, "There's so much parity in tennis now."
The NFL has boasted of its parity for a decade. Baseball certainly has parity when both league championships can be won by worst-to-first clubs. Even lacrosse has it, as Princeton's NCAA championship proves.
Frankly, I'm starting to yearn for the time when somebody was just plain better than everybody else.
* If you thought lacrosse season was over, then you don't know about the Vail tournament, which is played in Colorado every Fourth of July weekend.
Most of the best players in the world are out there now to participate in the 20th anniversary tournament. Play began today for 16 men's teams from places such as California, Florida and Texas. The best are largely from Maryland.
"No one has ever won this tournament three years in a row," said Bill Packo, who sponsors the Greene Turtle team. "Our goal is to do that this weekend."
The Turtle has both Gait twins, Gary and Paul; Dave Pietramala, Rob Shek, Matt Panetta and Jeff Wills. Even that bunch will have trouble scoring on another Baltimore team, the Mount Washington Tavern.
The Tavern, defensively, has Alex Martin (North Carolina) and David Morrow (Princeton), both first team All-Americans this year, plus Towson State's Steve Kisslinger, the best takeaway defenseman the game has seen in years, along with ex-Johns Hopkins All-American Steve Mitchell with Quint Kessenich (Hopkins) in the goal.
There are 12 women's teams in the tournament, one of them from England, and a 12-team Masters tourney for players 35 and over. The Lax World team in that category has Hall of Famers Jim Darcangelo and Ted Bauer plus Joe Cowan, Dennis Townsend and Doug Radebaugh.
Something tells me the trainer's room will be the busiest place in Vail this weekend.