Much more urgent than Rhino Fever is fixing the potholes on Grundy Street

Milton Bates

August 23, 1993|By Milton Bates

THERE was my old Bawlmer buddy, Fats Drobnak, at the bank on Highland Avenue last week. From his demeanor, I could tell he was not making a deposit.

Things not going too well? I asked.

"Nah. Got the shorts again. Ponies treatin' me bad. My 3 horse in hTC the sixth yesterday, breezin' till he spotted the finish line and then like to froze."

Unsurprising. Did you vote, Fats?

"Always do; Mimi taught me that. Voted for the kid."

The kid?

"Yeah. Clinton. They're all tryin' to cut him up, but I knew he was better than that other stumblebum."

Not that election, Fats. I'm talking about the vote for the team.

"The O's? What the hell good's a vote gonna do? They need more pitchin', hittin' and a manager who's heard of the hit-'n-run."

I'm simply not getting through to you this morning. I mean the fan vote for the name of the new football team -- if we get one. Surely you've heard about that?

"I heard. First, it's no lock we get a team, right? And if we do, it's a patched-up expansion outfit that'll take five years to get out of the cellar, no? Take Tampa Bay: oh-for-the-decade."

Forgive me, Fats, but you're in a minority on this one. The whole town is buzzing about whether it should be the Rhinos or something else, and The Sun was swamped 'My guys in Hollantown, though, they're still cryin' in their beer about the Colts.'

with responses about it.

"Well, they didn't hear from me. My guys in Hollantown, though, they're still cryin' in their beer about the Colts. Stash, he wanted somethin' close, so he voted for the Dolts. Said a lot of those big linemen ain't too bright anyway. And Dino, him too. He come up with the Jolts or Volts. Claimed that would put a charge in things. Pretty bad, huh?"

Don't you pine for the Colts, Fats?

"You tryin' to agitate me? Colts, fillies, geldings. I haven't cashed even a show ticket this month."

Forgive me. Then what appeals to you?

"What appeals would be a week downyohshun if I had the what-with, which I don't because of them nags. Look, does it make sense to you that a bunch of grown-ups would get all worked up about a name most of 'em prolly won't like for a team we might not even get? Explain that one to me."

Well, we live in a sports-hungry city, Fats, and much of the populace apparently is disturbed that peer pressure might require them to purchase T-shirts and other memorabilia which feature the image of a repulsive, horned beast with no noticeable redeeming features.

"My, ain't we gettin' fancy with the words all of a sudden. Hey, I read the papers. Letters and ballots and columns are full of it. Theo, he don't mind the Rhinos but worries about them bein' called the Winos when they start wobblin' around, which they're gonna do, or the Whine-O's if they blame the refs when they lose, which they're sure gonna do if we get 'em, which we might not. Look, I'm no deep thinker, but there sure as hell are other more important things goin' on."

Such as?

"I don't want to go highbrow on ya, but the mess in Bosnia and the chances for health care. And whether Mussina is healthy and Rhodes can start throwin' strikes as a rule and Cal can get good wood on the ball. And, biggest of all, fixin' those potholes on Grundy Street. Where's Mimi now that we need him?"

Maybe you're right, Fats. It's been a pleasure.

"Likewise. You headin' up the JFX? Gotta get to Pimlico before the second race. The 8 horse is 12 and 1, and, so help me, he'll cruise."

Milton Bates writes from Baltimore with apologies to Mike Royko.

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