Reflections of an unhappy ex-Oriole fanThat sure is a nice...

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December 17, 1992

Reflections of an unhappy ex-Oriole fan

That sure is a nice new stadium the citizens of Maryland helped build for the Orioles. If I were to threaten to move out of Maryland I doubt that the citizens would build me a new house to keep me here. Perhaps the Orioles will some day get around to sending out their "thank you" note.

Maybe it will even be sincere. Last season, my 13-game Sunday plan tickets were out in left field. Not great, but not bad for $8. Then the Orioles raised the price to $12 -- a 50 percent increase. The reason: because mine were "good" seats.

I'm sure many fans would love the view from left field. But Brady Anderson's derriere doesn't justify $12 a ticket. If 375 feet from home plate -- where the game is sometimes only a rumor -- is such a good seat, why isn't the Orioles sky box located out there?

To renew my partial-plan season ticket, payment in full is due by early December. Gone are the days of partial payments and discounts if paid in full before an early December deadline. I can live with that. But then I hear from an Oriole official on the radio that the new ticket payment policy is for the "benefit of the fans." Puh-leez!!

"Fans" means "fanatic," not "brain-dead." It's these insults to my intelligence that I find most irritating about the Jacobs regime at Camden Yards. It's bad enough that they treat the fans like idiots. But sometimes I think that the media in this city serve as mere extensions of the Orioles public relations and propaganda department.

Eli Jacobs owns the Orioles and it's his right to squeeze as much profit from the team as he can. It's also my right not to participate. So after 10 years I will relinquish my Sunday plan and sharply curtail my attendance.

I am a former Colt season ticket holder. When the Colts left town I was angry, but I quickly found that there were many other things to do on an autumn Sunday afternoon in the land of pleasant living. I'm sure that I will have no problem in the summer, either.

Marty Zemel

Owings Mills

Flashbulb invasion

Once again I sit watching my TV in outrage at the unbelievable behavior of the American press in Somalia. One has to wonder if there is anyone left in the media with so much as a grain of common sense.

The Navy Seals were sent ashore quietly, under cover of darkness, for a purpose. Did illuminating their positions with spotlights help them in some way? Did I have to see them come ashore to know, or even believe, that they were there?

This is sensationalism at its worst. What really adds insult to injury is that not one of the editors at the major networks had the common sense not to show the film clips.

To no one's surprise, the press acts bewildered at the public's condemnation of their actions. Fortunately, none of our troops lost their lives due to this unbelievable irresponsibility.

Nevertheless, I'm fed up with this type of need-to-know mentality that has become commonplace in the press. How about some common sense for a change?

Stephen Wilkerson


Serving aboard war-time hospital ships

The possible reactivation of Navy hospital ship Comfort brings back many memories of our assignment during World War II.

Though many were unaware, the Army also operated hospital fTC ships. Because of our activities on the first of these, the Acadia, we were intimately involved during Casablanca, Oran, Algiers, Bizerte, Palermo and a host of other Mediterranean battles.

As recently as October we celebrated our 50th reunion with some 15 nurses/officers of the 204th Hospital Ship Company who had served together. This meeting was held in Pennsylvania, where people came from as far as Texas and Florida. Never a more dedicated bunch of people you can imagine.

Among the most violent was the battle at Anzio beachhead, when a U.S. Navy sweeper struck a mine and we were able to pull out 35 sailors from burning waters. Another consequence of Anzio was the high rate of malaria. Our ship was rated to handle 1,000 patients, but because of the high fevers among some of our soldiers, we put another 100 on the decks with blankets to carry them back to a base hospital in Lake Bizerte.

By a stroke of good fortune, I returned to Anzio on business in 1959 to find no evidence of the bloody battle beaches, but only pink and blue and yellow chalet-like buildings hanging on the sides of the hills.

The contrasts between the 50 years are dramatic. The Comfort is a rebuilt oil tanker, three football fields long and sails with great stability. The Acadia was a round-bottomed vessel designed for coastal vacation travel and only a third as long, a bit of a cockleshell. In 1942 we were still equipped with very ordinary X-ray, monocular microscopes, one evaporator to produce 60 tons of purified water on a daily basis. In 1992 ships such as the Comfort enjoy almost unlimited supplies of water, fully equipped laboratories, CAT-scan and imaging apparatus.

The Comfort is staffed with some 400 medical personnel; the Acadia's complement was 13 officers, 35 nurses and 100 corpsmen.

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