Artie's opinions expansive as ever

November 21, 1993|By JOHN EISENBERG

"I just got back from two weeks in Mexico," Artie Donovan was saying. "Don't ask me what's going on with the expansion thing. I don't know. And I'll tell you what: I don't want to know."

But wait, you're still rooting for us to get a team, aren't you?

"Oh, sure. Of course. I've lived here 44 years. If we get a team, I'll buy like maybe two or three seats and go to the games. I don't think I'll buy one of those sky boxes, though. When you pay that much money for something, you better take it home with you at night. That would look good, huh? Walking down Calvert Street carrying a sky box under your arm."

So, you're rooting. But it doesn't sound like you're losing any sleep.

"I feel sorry for these people walking around sweating it, like it's life or death. They tell me, 'Oh, it'll be a tragedy if we don't get a team.' Give me a break. I wonder where their priorities are. A kid dying, that's a tragedy. Football, it's just a happening. It isn't real life. If we don't get a team, I'll just go do something else."

But you've got opinions, right? You've always got opinions, right? Like, if we don't get a team, should we go steal one?

"I don't get that. What do we want with somebody else's garbage?"

TC You don't want the Baltimore Bengals?

"Oh my God. I think we could get a team together here right now and play them. I feel so sorry for Shula's kid."

The Baltimore Rams?

"I don't think the name makes sense, do you?"

The Baltimore Raiders? Al Davis right here in Bawlmer, hon?

"I wouldn't want to deal with that guy. He'll pluck your eyebrows out and you won't even know they're gone. He's the smartest guy in the league, though. I remember when Weeb was paying him a few bucks to scout players in the military, and he applied for another job and called himself the offensive line coach."

A new franchise would be better, huh?

"At least it'd be our team. You know they're going to lose, but at least you can cheer for them. These other teams don't have an excuse for being so terrible."

So, the Baltimore Bombers . . .

"Hey, wait, I liked Rhinos. That's a great football name. I was watching a show on A & E one night and a rhino tipped over a car. What else do you want? He's a tough son of a gun."

That was Boogie's name. Poor Boogie. The guy really got a bad deal.

"Oh, I feel bad for him. He worked all that time, and spent all that money. I don't know Mr. Lerner. I don't know what any of this stuff means. There's lots of know-it-alls out there with more angles on how this thing works. They come around and talk to me. They got so many angles going they're gonna start running into themselves coming around the corner."

You know, pro football isn't quite as simple as it used to be.

"Yeah, let me tell you how I made the team when I was a rookie. They had so many guys in training camp that they didn't give me pads the first week. So I just hung around in back until everyone else got cut and then I went and got pads. Worked pretty good. I made the team by default."

Now it's all about "philosophies" and "packages." It's the NAFTA of sports.

"The coaches make it more complicated than it is. It's just 11 guys against 11 guys. Joe Gibbs had a play where they looked one way and ran the other. That was real complicated. But no one ever figured it out for 10 years."

A good game pops up on television every once in a while, though.

"I watch most of them. Except the ones that come at night. I turn them off at halftime and go to bed."

You aren't missing much.

"Yeah, I've never seen so many bad quarterbacks in all my life. It's incredible. Like Bernie Kosar. When he lines up under the center it's like an accident waiting to happen. They say he can't throw the long one. The other day I saw him throw one 40 yards . . ."

Yeah?

"Yeah. On three hops."

Not good.

"No, and the most overrated guy in the league is Bruce Smith. The announcers talk him up, but when the other team needs yards they run right at him."

OK. Enough football. Doing anything else? Been on Letterman lately?

"They called me the other day. They wanted me to come on a couple days later. I told them no."

You turned Letterman down?

"What do I need to go up there for on two days' notice?"

Artie, if you're important enough to turn down Letterman, you must know the expansion skinny.

"I'll tell you what. Come talk to me when it's all over."

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