Merchandise in storage, Speros thrown for loss

June 30, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,World Features Syndicate Inc.Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore's Canadian Football League team picked up its first tab last night for the loss of its name in Indianapolis federal court.

Jim Speros, owner of the expansion team, estimated he was forced to store $30,000 worth of merchandise with the Colts' insignia for the exhibition game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

"I can't hand out cups and brochures we had [with the Colts name]," Speros said before his first game ever at renovated Memorial Stadium.

Speros said that U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney informed the club at 3 p.m. yesterday it could not sell game programs with the Colts name. After an appeal by Speros' attorneys, McKinney relented and programs -- with the word Colts blackened out by magic marker -- were available at souvenir stands for $3.50.

"He did give us a break with the program," Speros said.

"Since 9 this morning, I probably changed 15 things. They've put the scare in me. I was told I can't do anything flagrant or I'll go straight to jail for 179 days without bail."

Among the changes he made was a banner hanging from the north facade of the stadium. The first banner was to have said, "Welcome CFL Colts fans." Instead, it read "Memorial Stadium, 40th Anniversary."

Both end zones had the word Baltimore with a CFL helmet and the team's horse logo.

"It took four months to get the stadium the way it is," Speros said. "We can't change it in two days."

Speros said his attorneys expected to file an appeal by the end of the week on McKinney's decision to grant a restraining order against the CFL team.

The Colts name still could be seen, though, on a banner at East 31st and St. Paul streets. The banner proclaimed, "Football is back. The tradition lives on. Baltimore CFL Colts."

Speros said it was the city's responsibility to take the banner down. "I've sent out over 100 letters to tell third-party people [to make the change]," Speros said.

Practice change

Speros had planned to use a practice field at Eastern High across from the stadium during the regular season, but has had to improvise. The team will continue to practice at Towson State until July 22, then use nearby Kirk Field or Eastern.

The problem at Eastern was lack of water. The newly laid sod became very hard. Speros said new sod will be installed.


Baltimore cornerback Irvin Smith played three games in Memorial Stadium with Maryland -- against Miami, Penn State and Clemson -- and lost all three. . . . Scouts from the New York Giants, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins attended last night's game. . . . Public relations director Mike Gathagan said he received more than 100 requests for media credentials, but was able to accommodate only 55. . . . Matthews and Winnipeg coach Cal Murphy worked together for five years with the Edmonton Eskimos. Matthews was defensive coordinator and Murphy offensive coordinator. . . . Winnipeg accumulated 672 yards in total offense, 565 passing, in a 61-28 rout of the Ottawa Rough Riders last week.



Odds to win the Canadian Football League title:

Team ... ... ... ... ... Odds

Calgary .. .. .. ... ... 3-1

Edmonton ... ... ... ... 5-1

Winnipeg ... ... ... ... 6-1

British Columbia ... ... 8-1

Ottawa ... .. .. ... ... 8-1

Sacramento ... ... .. .. 8-1

Baltimore ... ... ... .. 10-1

Hamilton ... ... ... ... 10-1

Toronto .. .. .. ... ... 12-1

Saskatchewan ... ... ... 15-1

Las Vegas ... ... .. ... 20-1

Shreveport ... ... .. .. 30-1

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