Ticket to a nightmare: dubious scalping arrest, TV replay

THIS JUST IN...

July 25, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

Back on the evening of April 26, a 33-year-old Baltimore businessman went outside Camden Yards to try to sell two extra O's tickets at face value -- $12 each. A hustler walked up and offered to broker the sale for him, but the offer was rejected. A few minutes later, the hustler returned, this time with a customer.

"Twenty dollars each," the fast-talking hustler announced.

"No," the businessman countered. "Only 12."

"You're under arrest," the customer barked.

The customer was an undercover cop, another of Baltimore's finest on dubious assignment at Oriole Park. A videographer for one of the Baltimore TV stations was nearby and recorded the arrest. The businessman was supposed to be holding a party at the ballpark for 20 of his customers and friends, but never got back to them. He spent 14 hours in jail. Recently, he went to District Court. Fortunately, the scalping charge was dropped. The state's attorney didn't bother to prosecute. But that's not the end of the story.

Apparently, the TV station that recorded the businessman's arrest re-uses the video whenever it presents a news story on ticket scalping.

"I've been arrested a half-dozen times on TV," the man complains to me. "People tell me every time they see it." Last week, his lawyer wrote to the station, asking it to stop with the video already!

New exposure

I first met Bill Pacer in 1991, and he wasn't wearing any shorts. In fact, he wasn't wearing anything. He was press spokesman for the Nude Olympics, held at a fun-and-sun camp way up in northeast Maryland, where Harford County meets Cecil County, so far away that all the TV stations had to use satellite up-links to bring this important story to the outside world.

The press corps was international -- members of a Japanese camera crew got in trouble for taking pictures where they weren't supposed to -- and Pacer was the guy who arranged press conferences, photo opportunities and set the ground rules for media contact with the nudists.

He managed an awkward situation -- most of the reporters had never covered naked people before -- and succeeded in getting maximum exposure for his organization, Tri-State Sun Club. Pacer was adept at explaining the theology of sun worship and defending the right of men, women and children to frolic in native buff.

So, producers of "Donahue" could not have picked a better guest for an upcoming show on life without a stitch. "Nudist Families Raising Nudist Children" is the theme of the show, and it airs Aug. 8.

Pacer, his wife, Fran, and their three children will be on stage answering questions from Phil Microphone. Pacer says the other guests include a New Jersey couple who met at a nudist picnic and had a nudist wedding, a woman and her two teen-age daughters and Ray Connett, an 80-year-old California nudist. "Most of the audience questions were good," Pacer says of the taping. "It was curiosity more than anything. Some people made remarks about raising kids this way. But, at one point, Donahue said, 'These kids look normal to me,' or something to that effect. All in all, it was a good show." And everyone kept their clothes on.

The name game

Let's face it. The Baltimore franchise in the Canadian Football League needs a name that sticks. CFL Colts carries history and meaning, I guess, but it's awkward, and a federal court might forbid its use anyway. A Baltimore guy came up with an idea and wants to share. "Let's call 'em the Coats," he says. "The Bawlmer Coats. You know, as in, 'I got them Coats tickets, hon.' Whaddaya think?" Beats Rhinos.

Pride of Remington

Sybil Higgins is Super Mom: 27 years old, married, two kids, runs a cleaning business, volunteers for all kinds of community ,, and charitable groups, stays in great shape. And she's Mrs. Maryland for 1994. Friends and relatives are quite excited and justifiably proud. Her dad, George Heinecke -- just about everyone around Remington calls him Sonny except those who call him Cliff -- foams with pride when he talks about his Sybil and pulls out her photograph. A few weeks back, he was talking about his daughter at length in Buckley's Bar -- it used to be called Igor's before it was called Tony's -- in Remington. "All of Remington, where Sybil grew up, was watching for the results of the Mrs. USA Pageant," says our correspondent from that neighborhood, Ingmar Burger. "If she wins, property values around here should skyrocket."

The results are already in; they just haven't been on cable yet.

"Mrs. Arizona won," Sybil, just back from the pageant in Las Vegas, tells me. "But I had the time of my life. I had a blast out there. Everyone was so nice. They gave us a big dinner, and we went to a mall to sign autographs and pose for pictures. We were treated like celebrities out there. My roommate was Mrs. Maine."

Sybil finished 21st, just ahead of her roommate. "But it didn't matter, we had a great time," she says.

And her dad? I bet that George Heinecke was proud of his Sybil.

"He sent roses to my hotel room," she says.

Didn't he go to Las Vegas with her?

"No. He was in Ocean City."

Ocean City?

"Yeah, he was in the tuna tournament."

The tuna tournament?

K? "I did better in Vegas than he did in the tuna tournament."

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