Not all neighbors happy stadium might reopen

January 06, 1993|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,Staff Writer Staff writer Mark Hyman contributed to this article.

Baseball may be back at Memorial Stadium -- for the summer at least -- an idea that doesn't please everyone who lives or works near the old 33rd Street landmark.

It's possible a minor league team from Bowie will be playing in the stadium for four or five months, starting in mid-April. Although plans for the Bowie team to occupy the stadium are not yet final, the prospect of having baseball back in the Waverly neighborhood has some avid baseball fans smiling.

"It'll be great to have a little minor league action here," said Colleen Connelly, 32, a bartender at Stadium Lounge on Greenmount Avenue. "I worked at the stadium for almost six years and would hate to see them tear it down."

"Besides, it's almost impossible for people to get tickets downtown to watch the Orioles," Ms. Connelly said. "This way, everyone will get a chance to see some baseball."

Stadium Lounge was a popular hang-out for baseball fans who wanted to catch the game on two 27-inch televisions -- especially when the weather was bad or they couldn't get tickets or they didn't subscribe to Home Team Sports on cable, Ms. Connelly added. But business slowed down when the Orioles moved downtown after the 1991 season.

The bar wasn't the only business affected by the Orioles' new home. Other area establishments also missed the crowds baseball drew.

"The stadium used to bring a lot of people, mostly tourists, from different areas like D.C., Virginia and Pennsylvania," said Po Chang, 28, assistant manager at Uncle Lee's Szechuan Restaurant on Greenmount Avenue.

"Since there were so many people walking around and lots of police patrolling the neighborhoods, people felt safer about coming out," he said.

"It's nothing compared to the Orioles," said Mr. Chang, referring to the minor league team. "But it'll bring in some more business to this area."

Memories of traffic problems that included congested streets and pilfered parking spaces, as well as the noise and riff-raff that came with every home game brought groans from some people.

"I wish they [the minor league team] would go downtown, too," said John Jones, 44, manager of A-1 Pizza & Subs on Greenmount Avenue. "It made things better for me when the Orioles left because I didn't have to deal with the traffic."

Councilman Wilbur E. "Bill" Cunningham, D-3rd. , said minor league baseball games would be expected to draw crowds of less than 5,000 people, he said.

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