THE following report comes from a Harford County...


August 03, 1993

THE following report comes from a Harford County father:

The running debate in our family for weeks may have been similar to one raging this summer in many households with young children, especially boys: Could the kids see "Jurassic Park?"

We thought our son, 6, should see it. He'd been particularly mature about the way he'd asked and, like many youngsters, reads a lot about dinosaurs. He knows that some of them ate other creatures and that they're long extinct. We tried to rationalize that dinosaurs seemed explainable, while, say, the bizarre criminality in the "Batman" movies, which we didn't let him see, did not.

But plenty of fierce opposition to our son's seeing the movie surfaced from sources such as his maternal grandmother and aunts who had seen the movie. They were quick to quote Director Steven Spielberg, who said he wouldn't take his own kids, although one has to wonder how often the globe-trotting moviemaker sees his own kids.

At last, the moment of truth arrived -- a Saturday matinee. We took our son, who enjoyed the movie thoroughly (and only once cowered behind the seat in front of him.)

He proclaimed it "scary, but good," and seemed happy to have engaged in a big-boy activity.

The only time we were uncomfortable having made the "big decision": During the pre-movie coming attractions for some Mafia flick in which countless people get their heads blown off.

* * *

THESE days professional sports (and college sports, too, if you consider that different from professional sports) are seldom accused of passing up a chance to make a buck.

So, we were disappointed when the great Oriole auction wasn't televised yesterday.

Would anybody watch?

Well, lots of people tune in to the National Football League and National Basketball Association drafts. They even tune in to the lottery to determine the order of the NBA draft.

And people tune in to "People's Court" and other shows with a courtroom format. There's even a cable all-court channel, Court TV. Maybe "Bankruptcy Court" wouldn't make it as a regular show, but as a one-shot deal, we're sure there would have been great ratings, at least in Baltimore.

Or, if television executives were being myopic, the auction could have been shown live on the JumboTron screen at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. After all, the stadium not only sells out for games, it sold out for All-Star batting practice.

If 47,000 people had paid an average of 20 bucks a head for admission, it would have raised enough to cover the salary for the rest of the year for Rickey Henderson (the outfielder picked up for the pennant drive by the Toronto Blue Jays, a team whose ownership is not in bankruptcy court).

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