Decision on Storm could decide if MSL gets ultimate boot

The Inside Stuff

July 09, 1992|By Bill Tanton

The Major Soccer League, of which the Blast is a member, should know by tomorrow whether it will continue to operate in the coming season. If the St. Louis Storm stays in, the season is on.

By now Blast owner Ed Hale is frustrated not only from losing money but from dealing with the league's life-and-death crisis that seems to come up every summer.

Coach Kenny Cooper and others in the organization hope Hale will stick with it. Drew Forrester, the Blast's director of soccer operations, said at a clinic the team held at Lutheran High yesterday:

"Earl Foreman [MSL commissioner] has been working hard to get the financial backing for the St. Louis franchise. St. Louis would be the sixth team and the league would be a go.

"The funny thing is, St. Louis is the best-drawing team in the league. They averaged 12,000 this year. We averaged 8,000."

* The jury in Minneapolis can't have much sympathy for the NFL owners in the players' antitrust suit against the league now that it knows about the huge salaries owners have been paying themselves -- including the $ 7.5 million the Eagles' Norman Braman collected in 1990.

The trial has brought to the public's attention some salary details that are particularly interesting to Baltimore fans.

For instance, Carl Peterson, once general manager of the USFL's Baltimore Stars, earned $1 million in 1990 as GM of the Kansas City Chiefs. Ex-Baltimorean George Young, who built the New York Giants team that won two Super Bowls, was paid less than half that, $441,000.

But if anyone who knows both men had tried to guess which one would wrangle a $1 million contract for himself and which one would develop Super Bowl teams, it would have been easy to guess right.

In the years when Young taught history and coached football at City College here, probably no one in his classes dreamed he'd go on to achieve what he has. Fewer would have thought a classmate with a spotty attendance record named Leonard Weinglass (yes, Boogie) would become rich enough to buy an NFL team.

Two former Baltimore pro football coaches are doing well at the ** pay window, thank you. Don Shula is a $1 million-a-year man with the Dolphins, and Jim Mora, who won championships with the Baltimore Stars, made $560,000 in 1990 as coach of the New Orleans Saints.

* It's amazing how much harder baseball players worked for a pittance in the really old days compared with the $1 million-plus average salary today.

Eighty years ago this week, the late Rube Marquard set a major-league record for consecutive wins when he pitched and beat the Giants, 7-2, for No. 19 in a row.

Marquard, who died in 1980, lived the final decades of his 90 years in Baltimore. He played golf regularly at the Suburban Club. One day I visited him at his spacious and attractive apartment on Eutaw Place and listened to stories about playing for John McGraw.

"Every morning at spring training," Marquard said, "McGraw made the whole Giant ball club run the mile-and-a-half from the hotel to the ballpark. We ran back to the hotel for lunch, then we ran back to the park for afternoon practice. And we ran back to the hotel for dinner."

Marquard leaned toward me, and poked his finger into my forearm.

"And you know something?" he said. "I pitched in the big leagues from 1908 to 1925, and in all that time I never had as much pain in my arm as you just felt in yours. That's because we were in great condition from all that running."

Today we have an underachieving club such as the New York Mets, who have spent millions to land Bobby Bonilla, Bret Saberhagen and Eddie Murray, and their manager, Jeff Torborg, says the team is struggling because it is not doing little things.

If you managed a millionaire player who didn't know how many outs there are, wouldn't you at least sit him down?

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