About ballparks: Rich Dubroff wrote the bookA wife's...


May 22, 1994|By Chris Kaltenbach

About ballparks: Rich Dubroff wrote the book

A wife's curiousity and a friend's offhand suggestion combined to turn Rich Dubroff from a television producer and part-time Orioles-beat writer into a first-time author and chronicler of America's ballparks.

In "How Was The Game?" -- the title comes from his wife Susan's query whenever he returns from covering the O's -- Mr. Dubroff offers descriptions of most of the major league's 28 ballparks, as well as ruminations on his life as a baseball fan and the state of the game in general. The book is available at Gordon's Booksellers and Greetings and Readings in Towson.

"One day, a friend of mine who was sitting next to me said, 'There really ought to be a book about how stadiums are different around the country," recalls Mr. Dubroff, who lives in Bolton Hill.

Among the author's conclusions: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, despite the "ugly warehouse that stands behind the concourse," is among the top parks in the game, certainly an improvement over "homey" Memorial Stadium (though he admits he was sorry to see the matriarch of 33rd Street close up shop); Fenway Park in Boston is great, though the city is vastly overrated; and no one should shed a tear if they decide to tear down Detroit's Tiger Stadium.

A Brooklyn native who went to his first ballgame, at Yankee Stadium, in 1962, Mr. Dubroff moved to Baltimore in 1981, landing a job with the PBS television series "Wall $treet Week With Louis Ruckeyser."

So is he a Yankees fan or an Orioles fan? Neither, he says. "I'm a baseball fan." Does your historical knowledge of Fells Point go back only as far as the opening of John Steven tavern or the shooting of the "Homicide" television series?

Robert Eney can fill in the gaps, all the way back to the 18th century, when William Fell and Edward Fell moved from Lancashire, England, and settled in this waterfront neighborhood. An amateur historian of this colorful neighborhood, Mr. Eney will show slides and speak about its history at the Halcyon Gallery, 909 Fell St., tonight at 8 p.m.

Mr. Eney, 65, grew up in Dundalk but recalls being drawn to Fells Point and its seafaring atmosphere as a youngster, when he and other members of an art program visited on a walking tour.

He became part of what he calls "the ragtag group" that successfully fought a 1970s plan by the federal government to condemn the neighborhood to clear a path for an expressway. He and other preservationists researched the area's past and won a historic designation that saved it from demolition.

"There's no other part of the city where you can see original Baltimore still standing," Mr. Eney says fondly. "There may be one building, but you never see it in the context of the total community."

Mr. Eney's talk is part of a continuing series of community events at the gallery, which is above Margaret's Cafe Open. Seating will be limited, and the gallery will begin selling the $4 tickets at about 6 p.m.

Jean Marbella

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