Horse racing is our major league sportI would like to...

the Forum

September 03, 1993

Horse racing is our major league sport

I would like to bring attention to one of the greatest poker hands ever played in Maryland, that being dealt by the owners of the state's horse racing tracks.

Joe DeFrancis' obsession with the bottom line has blinded him to the fact that racing is not just gambling but a sport.

When Baltimore football fans can do everything but build a stadium with their bare hands, and our baseball team has its most publicized year ever, there is not a sound from the public relations department of the state's largest major league sport, one in which we rank near the top in the world.

But when Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly of Washington mentions casinos, Joe DeFrancis' concern is headline news.

Horse racing is this state's most undervalued entertainment. Why pay a lot of money to watch some men standing around waiting for a ball when you can invest $2 in a team that's sure to give its all?

John B. Merryman


Missing tickets

For approximately 10 years, we, a group of senior citizens living in Baltimore County, received free baseball tickets from the Jaycees, who in turn obtained them from the Baltimore Orioles.

Until this year, we got 46 tickets a game for about five games each season. This year we did not receive any. The reason given was that they had to cut back on these passes.

We all looked forward to receiving these passes. We greatly appreciated the Orioles for issuing them and the Jaycees offering them to us.

Naturally we were all disappointed this year, not receiving passes for any games at all. Even though the Orioles were sold out this year, they were sold out last year too.

We hope they continue to make millions.

William J. Brugger


Offensive sign

I'm riding east on Pratt Street last Friday afternoon with a friend from Scottsdale, Ariz., in my car. We had been to the B&O Roundhouse Museum because she is a train buff. I am in oratorical glory because I know all the facts, or think I do, and she has to listen because she's from out of town.

"The Mount Clare Station was built in 1830. It was the first railroad station in the U.S.A.," I'm saying "and now we're going to see the one at Camden Yards, built some 30 years later to accommodate the increasing crowds of travelers.

"Abraham Lincoln went through it on his way to the White House, on his way to give his Gettysburg address, and in his coffin going back to Springfield, Ill., to be buried." I stopped a minute to take a breath.

"And isn't it near your new stadium? And don't you remember we had the Orioles for spring training in Scottsdale when they first came to Baltimore?" She was managing to get a word in.

"Of course you did!" I could afford to be magnanimous. "And here is the new stadium on your right. And see . . . right next to it is the Camden Station, where Harriet Tubman had a marvelous underground railroad for escaping slaves . . ."

Then I froze. The light was green, but I couldn't move the car. I could not believe that I was seeing a sign advertising Nabisco cookies on the red brick wall of the recently restored Camden Station.

"Are you all right?" asked my friend. Horns were blowing. The light changed to red. A policeman appeared.

"Who did that?" I asked him, pointing to the sign.

"I don't know," he said. "Want I should push you over to the curb?"

"No. I want to get away from here," I gunned the motor and we got to the Beltway in no time.

I had to apologize to my friend for such a dreadful affront to decent taste. I want to apologize to every tourist or baseball fan who comes to Baltimore and is exposed to that cookie sign.

I don't know yet how it got there, but please, please let's get rid of it before every visitor who sees it begins to know that underneath the major league glamour Baltimore is still a provincial jerky town.

riscilla Miles


The writer is author of "Historic Baltimore: 12 Walking Tours."

Policy vacuum

Principle and policy vacuums, not to mention vacillation, create international instability and danger.

Unfortunately, international problems can't be put on hold while Bill Clinton and the Congress focus on domestic economic issues. They are elected to handle more than one problem at a time and to lead public opinion regarding both domestic and foreign issues.

By failing to communicate a clear vision for the future the president is abdicating his responsibility as world leader at a time when we are faced with an onslaught of change, challenge and realignment.

Ethnic strife, terrorism, human rights, trade, disarmament, the future roles of the U.N. and NATO, the new Russia and the old China are just a few of the critical, volatile issues that beg for clarity, commitment and strong leadership.

As the recent State Department resignations demonstrate, these are not problems that the administration has under control.

Roger C. Kostmayer


Real leadership

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