Bad burgers, scrambled patriotism and distasteful stadium names

THIS JUST IN...

March 16, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

One day this month, a man walked into a fast-food restaurant on Reisterstown Road, near the Plaza, and asked to speak to the manager. "I ordered a bacon-cheeseburger in here last night and it made me sick," the man said loudly.

"I'm sorry, sir," said the manager.

"Yeah, made me sick," the man continued. "Tasted like somebody stuck a cigar butt in the thing. Made me sick. Tasted terrible!"

"Look," said the manager. "I'm sorry about that. May I offer you a refund?"

"I don't want no refund," the man snapped. "I want another bacon-cheeseburger!"

House that Arlington built

Most people I know, and I know a bunch, just call it Camden Yards. But officially the full name is Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the most unwieldy stadium name in the majors, having resulted from that long, drawn-out, ego-dominated negotia tion between William Donald Schaefer and Eli Jacobs, the former team owner. But, take heart, sports fans. Texas has come up with an even worse name. The Rangers will play in "The Ballpark in Arlington," a new stadium that, like all new ballparks, took its architectural inspiration from Camden Yards. Some fans favored Nolan Ryan Stadium, but the team selected The Ballpark in Arlington to honor the city that paid for it, according to Rangers spokesman Eric Kolb. The park replaces one with a similarly uninspired name, Arlington Stadium.

OPACY denizens will recall the Maryland Stadium Authority-Orioles lease provision that required a name jointly selected by the state and team. Schaefer favored Camden Yards, after the neighborhood; Jacobs, Oriole Park, after his investment. A standoff lasted for months, ending with that too-long- to-bother-with name that most people have shortened to, simply, Camden Yards.

Oh, and back for another season: Eli Jacobs Plaza. That's still the official name of the flag court above right field. Why, I have no idea. How about changing it to something like "La Plaza de Angelos"?

Strictly Genuine Gina

Haven't received many answers to those varied inquiries from curious readers that appeared in this space last week. We still don't know, for instance, whether the noticeably alliterative names of certain Baltimore television news personalities are genuine. So far, I only know for sure about one, Fox 45's Gina Germani. A relative verified that Gina Germani is not some made-for-TV name and that the stylish anchorwoman has had it since moments after birth. Bad news is that, come March 31, Germani will no longer be anchoring WBFF-TV's News at 10 on Fridays and Saturdays. She's leaving the station, and too bad. Germani presented the news directly and smartly, she looked good and she had that awesome hairstyle.

Burning of the Socks

Around the Chesapeake Bay, a sure sign of spring is the bare ankle. When yachtsmen, boaters and other wharf rats remove their socks, winter is over.

"This is the time of year when you you start to see sailors with only their Topsiders or Docksiders," says Bob Turner, owner of the Annapolis Harbor Boat Yard in Eastport. "It's just easier to dry your boat shoes than to dry both your shoes and your socks. Putting your socks on is the first sign of winter. Taking them off is the first sign of spring." So each spring, Annapolis Harbor is host to the annual Burning of the Socks. It will happen again Monday afternoon. Turner will build a fire in a concrete bird bath, and local sailors will stop by, take off their socks and burn 'em. "It's a fiery fanfare to the end of winter," Turner says. "In this business, you know, you hold onto your shorts and hope that, come spring, you still have a pair of shorts." But the socks must go! "And if you go," says Turner of Monday's sock-burning ceremony, "make sure you come early so you get a good seat upwind."

Another Hon reflects

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that a woman named Elizabeth, a relative newcomer to Baltimore, felt "Hon" was offensive because it seemed to be used primarily by "low-class [expletive deleted]" and, for this and other reasons, constituted a politically incorrect depiction of Baltimore womanhood in particular and the community in general. Well, another woman, who gave her name as Shirley, responds:

"I grew up in Baltimore, married and moved to the suburbs, had three children, have five grandchildren, own my own home, own my own company, drive a new Cadillac, pay taxes, have charge plates, get mad at my husband, hate my neighbor's dog, love mine, miss the Colts. I'm just your lovable lady who calls people Hon. I have found myself in a meeting or phone conversation, and I call people Hon. Elizabeth should move back to where she came from. I just cannot for the life of me stop calling other people Hon. And I don't really want to!"

Grand old rhetoric

At the State House in Annapolis, one sometimes hears the painful sound of a politician stretching to make a point with strange metaphors, inappropriate analogies and bad similes. Last week, for instance, Del. W. Ray Huff, of Anne Arundel County, made everyone wince with a long rhetorical stretch in support of a resolution to ban flag desecration. Huff likened the American flag to a business. The flag "should be treated like a corporation," he said. "You don't go into a corporation and tear it down." Ray must have pulled a muscle in his head coming up with that one.

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