In the hour of no baseball, a fan stands convicted in court


September 21, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

Back in July, when baseball was still a game and Baltimoreans were still dreaming of something grand -- besides a papal visit -- for Camden Yards in October, I told you about one LTC Michael Heinz. He's the Hopkins grad student who got nailed for scalping tickets to an Orioles name. Allow me to refresh your memories:

Heinz took his mother to an Orioles-Mariners game. He had four tickets, two he had purchased and two a friend had given him. The tickets from his friend were better than the ones Heinz had. So, as his mother waited by the gate before the game, he went out on Eutaw Street to sell the leftovers. They were valued at $12 each.

When an undercover detective asked Heinz how much he wanted, he said $20 each. That's according to the detective. Heinz is adamant that he only wanted $20 for both tickets.

Anyway, two cops took the lad away and apparently never told his mother that her 23-year-old son had been arrested. (Mom learned of Michael's whereabouts two hours later when she called home; by then, Michael had already called there from jail.) Heinz stayed in the lockup til 4:30 the next morning. The Heinz matter was one example of the utter nonsense that went on around Camden Yards this summer as the city cops and Orioles management cracked down on scalpers.

Monday, Heinz had his day in District Court, and the nonsense continued. The judge found him guilty but offered him probation before judgment. Heinz turned it down and took the judge's guilty verdict instead -- just so he and his attorney, Steve Tully, could appeal the case to a smarter judge in Baltimore Circuit Court. Maybe such a test of the city scalping law will put an end to all these efforts to keep entrepreneurs -- not that Michael Heinz is one of them -- from taking advantage of the high demand for Orioles tickets. (I've said it before: The scalping law is probably unconstitutional. And I know a seasoned Baltimore attorney who is champing at the bit to offer his services for Heinz or anyone else willing to take part in a test. Watch this space).

Ah, Baltimore stories

Coming soon to This Just In: Baltimore by anecdote, a new installment in the ever-evolving "What is Baltimore?" essay that first appeared under this byline two years ago. "Baltimore is the House of Foam. It's Eddie the Chicken Man. It's kids lining up at Sammy's on Fayette Street to buy new shoes for Easter. It's old tires painted white and filled with petunias. Baltimore is a guy in tube socks, cutoffs and tank top leaning on a mailbox in Highlandtown." This time, I asked readers for contributions, and I received many. "What is Baltimore?" wrote a Fells Pointer to be named later. "It's a $5 haircut from Sam, the barber who still gives trims in his front room. It's a guy in a dress relieving himself out the door of a cab on Broadway at 7 in the morning." Baltimore -- the good, the bad, the mildly amusing -- that's what we're looking for.

Looking for a nice person

Marie Ozer, a Los Angeles food writer who contributes regularly to Vegetarian Gourmet magazine, was in Baltimore last week to promote the new book she authored, "Luscious Low-Fat Desserts" (Chariot Publishing, $11.95). Marie did an interview here, a lunch there, a soundbite there, a book-signing here. (Ah, the frantic life of the noncarnivorous journalist!) At some point, Marie visited Harborplace. At some point, she went to a restroom. Inadvertently -- you know, accidentally -- she left her daily planner there. Inside the daily planner were Marie's airline tickets back to L.A. "And more," she says, "I basically don't know what I'm doing without my daily planner. I went back to the restroom. It wasn't there. I looked everywhere, contacted security. We couldn't find it." Four days later, Marie showed up at the USAir ticket counter at BWI for the return flight to California. And, yo, guess what? Her ticket home and her daily planner were there waiting for her in a USAir vault. Someone had taken the trouble to turn them in. Marie doesn't know who did this deed, but she's downright ecstatic -- I exaggerate not -- about the consideration extended her by strangers. And she wants names. So, if you're the do-gooder, call me. I'll get you in touch with Marie. You might not want a book with recipes for 85 low-fat desserts -- I mean, what's the point? -- but I bet Marie sends a free copy in gratitude. It's an $11.95 value.

A chance for a thief

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