New York take it, when Cal bumped Lou? With some...

HOW DID

September 16, 1995

HOW DID New York take it, when Cal bumped Lou? With some emotion. After all, Henry Louis Gehrig (same origin as Henry Louis Mencken) was as much a home-towner there and then as Cal Ripken Jr. is down here today.

But with how much emotion? How much eager attentiveness? In 1939, when Lou Gehrig sat down after his game 2,130, the New York Times gave it the top headline -- on Page 28, its first sport page. In 1995, last Thursday, the same sports-page prominence was accorded Cal's game 2,131. But the read-out head, the one-column headline just above its story text, said, "Lengthy Streak / Is Considered / Remarkable."

Well, suuuure. There at OPACY that night, people sitting nearby did remark about the streak. During that fifth-inning interruption, one spectator said, "Gosh!"

Let us not pound sports; it's a separate jurisdiction. But the editorial page is another matter. How impressed was it?

Also on Thursday, the day after, under the heading "The Streak," the Times published an editorial commending the Baltimore Orioles' famous shortstop. "One of the few people who has kept the 13-year streak in perspective," it said, "is Ripkin [sic], who is a gentleman as well as an extraordinary athlete." The Times editorial mentioned him by name nine additional times, misspelling it all the way.

Eight times, altogether, might have been a symbol of sorts. But alas, New York went 0 for 10.

* * *

WHOLESOME, affordable family fun. A tribute to Maryland agriculture. "The 10 best days of summer."

That's how the Maryland State Fair describes itself. But it's having trouble living up to that description.

Several folks we know complained about the high price of the rides this year. Howard "Max" Mosner Jr., vice president and general manager of the event, says he, too, heard a smattering of complaints, and plans to address the matter with his board of directors.

It cost a family of five $16 to ride the Ferris wheel -- one time. That's almost enough to buy one all-day ticket at a regional theme park. Granted, the fair offers a $4.50 discount "bracelet" for unlimited rides, but if you aren't aware of it or can't be there at prescribed times, you're out of luck. The reasonably priced fairgrounds fee feels like fish bait once you get inside and blow $50 in just minutes on the midway. The food and games vendors also informed Mr. Mosner they didn't make as much as expected presumably because the rides cost so much.

The midway blots out the agricultural flavor of the fair. Produce exhibits, farm animals and equestrian competitions are relegated the outskirts of the grounds, while the blaring rides, freak shows ("See the Two-Foot Tall Woman!") and carny barkers with their cheesy games of chance dominate. Wholesome and affordable it's not.

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