With less travel costs -- is better road for Blast

NPSL --

July 16, 1992|By Bill Tanton

It shouldn't be at all traumatic for the Blast to shift from the defunct Major Soccer League to the existing National Professional Soccer League.

The NPSL might have been a better fit for Baltimore all along.

The NPSL has at least three big-league cities -- Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City, the westernmost teams in the nine-team league. Eliminating trips to MSL cities on the West Coast (Tacoma, San Diego) would mean a saving in travel costs.

Baltimore soccer fans don't seem to care which league the local team plays in anyway.

"Just so we have a team and they're in some league," typically says Mark Kaufman, Blast season ticket holder.

The MSL and the NPSL have clashed in the past whenever merger talk came up. The issues were hardly insurmountable:

Which commissioner would reign over all? Which rules would the merged league play? Which ball? Would it be a non-union league, like the NPSL, or will there be a players association, such as there was in the MSL?

Two major inducements should bring forth financial backing for a Baltimore team in the NPSL. One is Kenny Cooper, whose missionary zeal for the game is unmatched. The other is that with the World Cup coming to the United States in 1994 for the first time, investors here are more apt to take a shot with soccer.

As for the suggested Arena League, forget it. Games would be played from May through July, when another downtown team owns this city. The public here has never shown a willingness to patronize the Arena in the summertime.

* Mac Barrett, of McCormick & Co., has come up with an creative plan to get the name Colts back, if Baltimore is awarded an NFL franchise. Indianapolis, in case you've forgotten, already owns the Colt name.

Says Barrett: "Let's call our new team the Hoosiers. The people in Indiana would be frantic trying to trade the name Colts back."

* The All-Star rout was a ho-hummer, but Loyola College lacrosse assistant coach Bill Dwan had to be kidding when he said he found the Democratic convention better entertainment.

In truth, the Old-Timers game in San Diego Monday provided the top thrill of the break -- Reggie Jackson's grand slam as the AL alums beat the NL. Turning back the clock 10 years was a neat trick, even for Reggie.

Rout or not, baseball's All-Star Game remains the best of any sport's because the AL and NL players don't face each other except then and in the World Series. Inter-league play would spoil that.

* If you're getting the impression there are a lot of lacrosse camps for kids this summer, you probably don't know the half of it. Explains Johns Hopkins coach Tony Seaman, who ran his 205 camp two weeks ago at Loyola along with the Greyhounds' Dave Cottle and Bill Tierney, coach of Princeton's NCAA champions:

"There are 126 camps in business now. I counted them."

Seaman says he has no clue whom Brown will hire as its head lacrosse coach to succeed Dom Starsia, who moves on to Virginia.

"The Brown job would be a great opportunity for John Haus (Seaman's top assistant at Hopkins)," Tony says. "Jimmy Stagnita (former Seaman aide at Penn, now head coach at Washington and Lee) would be a good man for Brown.

"This is an important hire for Brown. Lacrosse is the one sport in their athletic program that's been winning. That shows you what a great job Dom Starsia has been doing up there."

* Weather advisory: if you think it's been too hot for tennis or golf, the New York Jets have been practicing since Sunday. Every day more NFL teams are opening practice for the league season that opens Sept. 6.

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