Banish ``Biffs'' who turn their backs on the ball field


April 25, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

What's your gripe with the scene at Oriole Park? Maybe it's the guys in suits -- or oxford shirts and loosened ties on warm nights -- who stand with their backs to the field, sipping white zinfandel and "glotching." That's what Mary Schweitzer calls it. I call it "schmoozing" or "being a Biff." You know it when you see it, and it makes you wanna holler: "Down in front, Biffo!" I used to see back-to-the-field Biffs schmoozing it up at Memorial Stadium, too. (One lawyer, in particular, did it almost every half-inning.) Schweitzer and her husband, Bob, live in Delaware but have been regulars at Oriole games for years. They travel frequently to both Camden Yards and Veterans Stadium for Phillies games. Mary thinks Baltimore's Biff factor is much higher than Philadelphia's.

New newspaper in town

There's one less practicing attorney in Baltimore, but one more newspaper. Mark Adams gave up his briefcase to start publishing the Harbor Crescent. The second issue hit the street over the weekend, and it features a look at Mayor Schmoke's personal finances. Adams and his partners -- Dave Bollinger, Terry Nazir, Nasir Alvi -- are trying to present community news for neighborhoods from Locust Point to A-to-K. (In case you're unfamiliar with A-to-K, it's the East Baltimore neighborhood of alphabetized streets from Anglesea andKane.) That's a big territory. In fact, it's the whole waterfront. "We're hoping to fill a gap in community news," says Adams, whose office is on Conkling Street, right across from the popular East Baltimore Guide. (Adams and his wife, Cathy, live in what some people call Upper Fells Point but what Adams calls West Highlandtown.) "This is a newspaper for people who don't have front lawns and don't want one. We're having what the restaurant business calls a 'soft opening.' We're taking it one step at a time, coming out every two weeks, hoping to go weekly eventually." Harbor Crescent's first few press runs will be between 20,000 and 25,000.

Out of the mouths of tots

Rae Miller Heneson, the well-known cheer-up lady at Sinai Hospital, writes:

"Some people wonder how, for 37 years, I could work as a volunteer and love and care for the children in Sinai pediatrics. What they don't realize is that there is joy as well as tears, laughter as well as screams. The other day, a precious boy, age 6, by the name of Devon, said to me, 'Miss Rae, I know how old you are. You're 2,000 years old.' Then he leaned over, took a strand of my gray hair in his tiny hand and said, 'This is how I can tell.' So how many people live to be 2,000? And how many know the joy of being with a child who speaks from the heart?"

Grateful Dead and knish

Elia Mannetta, back from Big Italy to visit his parents in Little Italy, had a craving for a provincial treat. Mannetta, who works as a consultant in Europe, married an Italian woman three years ago and lives on Sardinia. When he got back to Baltimore, he wasn't interested in a sub at Mugavero's; he wanted nothing Italian. All Mannetta wanted was a corned-beef-on-rye at Attman's. So that's what we did. And guess what happened while we were kibitzing? Seymour Attman, the big boss, agreed for the first time ever to attend a Grateful Dead concert with his son, Stuart, the little boss, as long as I go along. I said sure I would go -- as long as the Attmans supply the knish. What's the Dead without knish?

A biblical message?

A man drives up Chestnut Avenue, right near Loyola High School, as classes are ending for the day. He slows his car and rolls down the driver-side window. Boys emerge from the school. The man stretches his left arm out the window. In his left hand is a Bible. The man says nothing. He just holds the book in the air. One Loyola dad, who spotted Bible Man in action twice, said, "I asked my son and his friends about the guy when I picked them up from school, and they said, 'He's always there.' But no one knew his name or where he was from." Or what exactly he was trying to say about a Jesuit education.

It wasn't an air

Hey, hey, hey! All you smarty-pantses out there: OF COURSE, I know it's "median strip" and not "medium strip." Wake up and smell the java. That was a joke. It was an intentional mistake for ironic effect in last Friday's column. You see, "medium strip" is the most common malaprop for "median strip," and I only mentioned the former because Joe Schweiger, the Medfield man mentioned in the column, had reported hearing a second malaprop for highway divider -- "meteor strip." So, I know it's fun to play nya-nya with the newspaper columnist and that it makes you feel superior, but please, no more smug phone calls correcting me on "medium strip."

In case you haven't had your fill of malaprops, you can hear a dramatic reading of them by calling Sundial, the Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800. Using a touch-tone phone, enter the four-digit code 6230. You'll hear what my long-suffering relatives have been hearing for years -- me reading one of my columns out loud. Incredible -- isn't it? -- what they can do with phones.

The regular number for tips to This Just In is 332-6166. Letters should be addressed to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, 21278.

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