Dubbed "Franklin's Friends," a new charity ticket program is designed to help former Spirit nemesis Franklin McIntosh win over Baltimore's fans.
As he prepares for his Spirit debut here Friday against the Buffalo Blizzard, McIntosh says he will purchase 20 upper reserved seats for underprivileged children for each of the 13 remaining home games. McIntosh had a rocky relationship with Spirit fans when he was with the Harrisburg Heat the past two seasons, sometimes responding to taunts with obscene gestures.
"I'm looking forward to a fresh start in Baltimore," said McIntosh, who was traded to the Spirit last week for Tarik Walker and Steve Boardman. "I hope fans understand I'm here to entertain them and to help win games."
McIntosh, the National Professional Soccer League's all-time leading scorer with 743 points in 225 games, including 70 in 15 games against the Spirit, participated in his first Spirit workout yesterday. Although hardly in top shape after a contract holdout, he will play Friday.
"It will take some time for him to get used to our players," coach Dave MacWilliams said. "As he starts getting fit, teams will key on him and open up lanes for others."
Marinaro assists, too
The Cleveland Crunch's Hector Marinaro, who holds several NPSL goal-scoring records, set a mark for most assists in one game with seven in an 18-7 win over the Wichita Wings. Marinaro had a hand in 10 of the 11 goals, scoring three himself for a 12-point night. The record of six assists was held by, among others, teammate Zoran Karic.
A pair of defenders and team captains, Cleveland's Tim Tyma and the St. Louis Ambush's Kevin Hundelt, share NPSL Player of the Week honors. Each produced offensively (Hundelt, five goals and five assists in two games; Tyma two and two in two) while excelling on defense.
Free Christmas trees
A fan who purchases four or more lower concourse tickets at the Baltimore Arena box office to either the Buffalo game Friday or the Detroit Rockers game Saturday will receive a coupon good for a free Scotch pine or Douglas fir from Lynn's Christmas Trees across from the Timonium Fairgrounds.
The Spirit is eighth in the 12-team NPSL in attendance with a 5,230 average after seven games, almost matching last season's figure (5,236) at the same point. Attendance invariably picks up after Christmas.
Best of MacWilliams
After reviewing Friday's dramatic victory in which the Spirit rallied with six points in the final six minutes, MacWilliams said: "We can't expect to win a lot of games when you're trailing by six with six minutes left, but this goes to show that you never stop playing until the final whistle. We erased a poor third quarter with a magical six minutes."
Draft on tap
As the team with the winningest regular-season record (26-14) last season, the Spirit will select last in the NPSL's annual draft Tuesday. Most of the draftees are expected to be college seniors. Of the 60 players chosen in last December's draft, 15 have played in the NPSL this season.
After being deprived of his 200th NPSL coaching victory by the Spirit's comeback, the Milwaukee Wave's Keith Tozer got it 24 hours later at Harrisburg. . . . National Division leader St. Louis has won a club-record six straight. . . . Detroit will play the Chicago Power March 17 at the neutral site of New Haven, Conn., marking the NPSL's third such game as it tests various markets with an eye toward expansion in 1996-97. . . . St. Louis signed defender Steve Trittschuh, a defender on the U.S. national team who played in the 1990 World Cup.