For Speros, evil legion to the rescue

October 08, 1994|By KEN ROSENTHAL

At first, he was the outsider, the maverick, the rebel leading the charge for the football fans of Baltimore, known within the NFL as Les Miserables.

Now, Jim Speros is about as anti-establishment as Nancy Reagan.

He talks about getting into the NFL.

He wants to bring major-league baseball to Northern Virginia.

And he keeps fighting for the Colts name not because he's morally outraged, but because it's good for business.

Suddenly, he's one of them.

Who created this monster?

Frankly, there's only one way for Speros to save his soul before Peter Angelos steals the Los Angeles Rams and dooms him to sports purgatory.

The Ring of Dishonor.

A formal recognition of the villains in Baltimore's recent sports history.

The complete, official list.

The Ring of Honor -- a salute to the city's sports heroes -- is one of Speros' best ideas. The halftime ceremonies are moving. The plaques add a nice touch to Memorial Stadium.

But enough Mr. Nice Guy.

The Ring of Dishonor would better reflect our anger.

Speros need not limit his "dishonorees" to those who sabotaged our quest for an NFL team. Inductees could come from baseball, basketball, horse racing -- wherever grievances were committed.

The ceremonies can begin next season. By then, Gov. Schaefer will be out of office -- he can be the official presenter.

Speros started with Unitas, Moore and Donovan.

Here's our little list:

Robert Irsay. Send for him in a Mayflower van stocked with gin. And kidnap him if he won't come -- just to see if Indianapolis offers ransom.

Paul Tagliabue. Tell him Baltimore is on the way to Washington, Charlotte and Jacksonville. Maybe he'll condescend to stop by.

Jack Kent Cooke. Invite Coco, Marlena, the whole family! The idea would appeal to Cooke's roguish side. Besides, anything to sell those luxury boxes in Laurel.

Bill Bidwill. He'd get a big ovation for refusing to move the Cardinals to Baltimore. His team has played 100 games in Arizona -- and won a grand total of 33.

Alfred Lerner. The guy Schaefer shafted Boogie for, remember? He'd show up for 10 seconds, then leave, reprising his disappearing act at the NFL owners' meetings in Chicago.

Malcolm Glazer. The expansion loser won't make it -- he'll be too busy trying, and failing, to buy a pro sports team.

"Glazer close to deal for Padres."

"Glazer interested in Pirates."

Just once, pal, pull the trigger.

John Shaw. Any day now, he'll move the Rams to St. Louis. Reserve a spot for this inductee-in-waiting.

Al Davis. Not for any particular reason. Just because he'd like the idea.

Wayne Weaver and Jerry Richardson. The owners of the Jacksonville and Charlotte franchises would pass, afraid to venture out of Tagliabue's beloved Sun Belt.

John Elway. Wouldn't play for the Colts. Smart move, but an insult is an insult. Throw the Bronco in the ring.

Donald Kroner. Better invite him, or he'd crash the party.

Now, getting to baseball:

Eli Jacobs. The problem is, you'd need to pay his way, feed him the finest lobster and rename the bleachers "The Jacobs Amphitheater."

For Eli, anything.

Glenn Davis. What mishap would befall Gentle Glenn the moment he reentered the city? No one would dare stand next to him near the end of his Orioles career. In memory of those heady times, the plaques on either side of his would remain blank.

Jeff Stone. Symbol of the 0-21 Orioles. He'll reprise his act durina special halftime ceremony, getting thrown out at every base, then losing a ball in the lights.

Chris Sabo. Special presenter: Leo Gomez.

Ken Dixon, Eric Bell, Mike Griffin, Mike Kinnunen, Tony Arnold. Answer to the immortal question: Which Orioles pitchers combined to allow a major-league record 10 homers in a game?

Cito Gaston. His plaque would hang in Camden Yards, with his first name followed by the appropriate expletive.

And not to forget:

Joe De Francis. Wants to be his father. Isn't.

Abe Pollin. Took the Bullets out of Baltimore and moved them to the Capital Centre, which he renamed USAir Arena, which he now plans to abandon for an arena in downtown Washington.

For years, Pollin and Co. moaned about their poor luck in the NBA lottery. Finally, they get Juwan Howard at No. 5, and decide they can't pay him. Wonderful operation.

There you have it, the Ring of Dishonor.

Act now, Mr. Speros -- or join the list.

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