Fans get the big picture thanks to Memorial Stadium upgrades


June 18, 1995|By Ken Murray and Gary Lambrecht | Ken Murray and Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writers

The most noticeable difference at Memorial Stadium last night was the fan-friendly Sony JumboTron positioned at the open end of the stadium for replays and game highlights.

There was no video board last year in Baltimore's first season in the Canadian Football League.

But that was one of three big items in a state-funded renovation of the stadium for the Baltimore Football Club in the off-season. The other improvements were a new surface on the field and an upgrade in locker rooms.

According to Jim Speros, general partner of the BFC, the state spent more than $800,000 making those improvements. He said $400,000 was spent on the locker room, which is not finished, and $175,000 on the Bermuda Tufcote surface. He said the state will pay $250,000 for rental of the 28-foot-by-20-foot video board if he uses it for 12 games this year, including two playoff dates.

"That was the missing piece last year," Speros said. "It's a top-of-the-line board. If it goes well this year, we're talking about putting one in permanently next year."

Super redux

Norm Bulaich came from Fort Worth, Texas. Lenny Lyles came from Louisville, Ky. And Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey came from Los Angeles.

They were among the former Baltimore Colts on hand for Alumni Night, when the CFL team honored the 25th anniversary of the Colts' victory in Super Bowl V.

In a special ceremony, Mackey was inducted into the Memorial Stadium Ring of Honor.

"Any honor given to me by Baltimore means something to me," Mackey said. "That's why I came back to Baltimore to get my [Hall of Fame] ring."

Mackey refused to go to Indianapolis to get the ring, but got it during halftime of an NFL exhibition game here between the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints.

Former Colts heroes came from all distances -- paying their own way -- to reminisce.

"I came because [Tom] Matte was putting the reunion thing together," said Bulaich, who started in Super Bowl V as a rookie. "These people are special to me, to see Roy Hilton, John Unitas, Freddy Miller. I was 22, and these people accepted me right away."

Former cornerback Lyles, who played in the 1958 championship game, has been back in Baltimore a few times.

"I'm happy that Tom Matte was able to work this out," Lyles said. "It's nice the CFL team is doing this, but it's sad we don't have an official reunion with an NFL team."

Among the former Colts was quarterback Gary Kerkorian, now a judge in Fresno, Calif. Kerkorian, a graduate of Stanford, was the Colts' quarterback in 1953-54.

Callback for Crowley?

All in all, the audition went fairly well for Dan Crowley. The former Towson State star quarterback, who looks like the future No. 3 quarterback for the Baltimore Football Club, got the starting assignment last night against Ottawa.

The offense sputtered for most of the first quarter, but it wasn't all of Crowley's fault. He completed just two of seven passes for 23 yards, and he overthrew two receivers, while under-throwing Mike Alexander on a play that probably would have resulted in a touchdown. In addition, two passes were dropped.

"Those two drops stopped drives," coach Don Matthews said. "He was nervous, but I thought Crowley did well overall."

Living up to billing

Either Ottawa is that bad, or Baltimore is as good as advertised, or both.

Baltimore rolled up 347 yards of offense in the second half, despite missing its entire starting backfield.

Tracy Ham did not play; running back Mike Pringle and fullback Peter Tuipolotu made short appearances in the first quarter. Pringle rushed three times for 14 yards and caught one pass for 6 yards. Tuipolotu did not touch the ball.


Ottawa didn't waste any time in Baltimore yesterday. The Rough Riders arrived at BWI Airport just over six hours before game time and were scheduled to depart by charter jet at midnight and arrive in Ottawa at 1:15 this morning. They will practice this afternoon at 3:30. . . . Tickets to the Grey Cup game, Nov. 19 in Regina, Saskatchewan, went on sale to the general public yesterday. To apply for tickets, call the Roughriders' ticket office at (306) 525-2181 or (800) 667-8179 or (800) GREY-CUP. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Successful applicants will be notified by September.

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