Block to Bays, fans show their local pride Be they historical or environmental, suggested names boast of Baltimore QUOTH THE PUBLIC: THE RAVEN

August 27, 1993|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

Can't you see it now? Old Memorial Stadium is filled to capacity, with most of the state's top officials in attendance. Big Wheel is there, too. The Baltimore Colts' marching band is

playing. The legends are being introduced. One by one, out jog Unitas, Berry, Moore, Mackey.

And then the new team is announced. "Ladies and gentlemen, your new expansion football team, the Baltimore Block."

The Baltimore Block?

"It's a great name," said Kenny Smith, 50, from Carroll County, a retired recreation employee from Springfield Hospital Center.

"That's what football is about, blocking and tackling," said Mr. Smith. "As a team emblem on a helmet or jersey, put a picture of Blaze Starr at the 2 O'Clock Club on The Block or Pam Gail. There could be Baltimore Block Cheerleaders and the Baltimore Block Band."

Mr. Smith played in the name-that-team game.

So did Paul Ballard, 31, of Baltimore, who did it in four letters: Huns (others spelled it Hons). Brent Hare, 10, named it in four, too: Bolts.

Or how about the Bays? If you prefer something longer, how about the Ravens or the Hornets? Maybe a name with a Chesapeake Bay twist like the Crabbers, or possibly a little more noble sounding, like the Lords?

"Quite honestly, I don't care what they name the team," said Cleo Matthews, 35, of Lutherville. "They can name them the Baltimore Peons. Just give us a football team."

The National Football League is expected to award two expansion franchises in October, with Baltimore one of five cities in consideration.

Some 21,626 people responded to The Baltimore Sun Name-That-Team Survey.

While a lot of names were endorsed, many Marylanders still have not forgotten the Baltimore Colts, who owner Robert Irsay moved to Indianapolis on that cold March 28 night in 1984.

"Colts is the traditional name and the city should sue Robert Irsay to get it back," said David Tingler, 43, from Baltimore.

"If they don't sue, they should negotiate with him to get it back," said Donald Welsch, 63, a former Colts fan who now lives in Hedgesville, W.Va.

If city officials can't get the name back, Mr. Welsch suggested Baby Colts. Or Colts-II.

Allen Passman, from Baltimore, liked Colt 45's because it ties in with the "brew made here."

A number of readers couldn't get away from Maryland's horse racing industry. Don Skinner liked the Mustangs. Gerald Brooks preferred the Horsemen. Gene Hoffman wanted the Elite Stallions because of Baltimore's connections with the Elite Giants and Colts.

And these people were serious.

Consider Albert Ricciuti, 70, of Baltimore.

"I looked up in the Webster Dictionary the word colt, and it is a young male horse. What name would be more fitting than the name Steeds?" said Mr. Ricciuti.

Others preferred names more symbolic of the Chesapeake Bay and the environment.

A little drum roll please: Bays, Bluefins, Bass, Baysharks, Blue Crabs, Osprey.

Richard Firestone wanted the team named after workers who caught the fish, the Watermen.

"I think it's a unique name for Baltimore, one that is relevant," said Mr. Firestone, 46, from Columbia. "It's like Green Bay and the Packers, which is named after the meat packing industry.

"Football is an aggressive sport and we know the players are going to be aggressive, so we don't need an aggressive name. We want people to learn about the city."

Donald Imm disagreed. He liked the Baltimore Blue Herons because it encompassed everything about the Chesapeake Bay and more.

"It's a great fisher like the Chesapeake Bay's watermen, it's majestic, elegant, a graceful flyer, and stern and evil looking," said Mr. Imm. "It's ornithological, just like the Baltimore Orioles."

Now, a little more about Baltimore history.

Three years ago, Billy Laumann, 16, from Rosedale, learned from his grandmother that Lord Baltimore founded this city. He recommended the Baltimore Lords. So did Stephen Cyford, 19, of Bel Air.

"It's just a very powerful name," said Mr. Laumann. "The Lords ran everything and controlled all the money."

Almost every history theme was touched, from the Keys for Francis Scott Key to the Blaze, in memory of the great Baltimore Fire.

There was the "Baltimore Boogies" in case prospective owner Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass buys the team, the Baltimore Charms and the Baltimore Rock (slogan included: "From the city that reads, to the city that Rocks").

"I know it's not the Colts, but it's time for a new beginning," said Chuck Imwold, from Baltimore. "It's time to lay a foundation for the future. The Baltimore Rock is something to build on."

Naming the team became a family experience. Mr. Passman also recommended the name Boo-Bats, a term of endearment used by his granddaughter.

But if Baltimore truly wants to keep the name in the family, Phillip Fertetta of Essex suggested the Baltimore Marylanders.

"Let's see another take our new NFL team away now," said Mr. Fertetta.

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