Team-grubbing city should lose guilt

This Just In...

November 08, 1995|By DAN RODRICKS

Feeling guilty about the Browns moving from Cleveland to Baltimore? Yeah, right. That lasted about a day. What's with all the frowns anyway? Spare me the angst.

The suits in this state have been on a scavenger hunt for a football team ever since Bob Irsay humiliated William Donald Schaefer in 1984. And, along the way, we tried to do the "noble thing" by competing for an expansion franchise. (As if a state spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make millionaires even more millionaire-ish is "noble.")

I only have one question today: Why didn't Parris Glendening have someone sing, "You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings" to Art Modell?

Gloat? Yeah, the governor gloated. Bad form and all that. This guy needs to have his dweeb gland removed; it ruptures when he gets too excited. (Of course, had I been the person who cut the state's $157 monthly stipends to the disabled poor, I might have been a little more reserved about spending $200 million for a football stadium. But, hey, to each his own.)

Come on now, what was Glendening supposed to do? Cry for Cleveland?

Are we supposed to feel guilty because Cleveland, which has professional baseball and basketball, Eddie Murray and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, lost its football team?

Look, we got into this game a decade ago because somebody -- mostly sportswriters, TV sports guys, some politicians, Schaefer lackeys and downtown business suits -- decided Baltimore just wasn't a big-league town without the National Football League. This was totally untrue, of course. Some of us out here actually measure "quality of life" by things other than how many nouveau riche yuppies and corporate types can fit into Camden Yards. We think municipal subsidy of millionaires is obnoxious public policy.

But, like it or not, we started hunting for a new team -- any team! -- and got banged around in the process. Then, we finally learned how to play hardball. And hardball won. Cleveland lost out. So live with it. If there's any shame for Baltimore and Maryland, it should be that we got into the slime ball business of the NFL to begin with.

In memory of peace

A tree is a great memorial to a person, especially someone whose actions were deemed life-affirming. Yitzhak Rabin's efforts to build a more secure and peaceful Middle East certainly were. One tree in his memory could be planted in Israel -- and one on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay -- for an $18 donation to the Jewish National Fund and Tree-Mendous Maryland. The two organizations just formed a partnership themed, "Trees for the hills of Zion and the shores of the bay." Wally Orlinsky, executive director of Tree-Mendous Maryland, came up with the idea. He expects the death of Rabin to provoke even greater interest in the effort. Contact Tree-Mendous at 974-3776.

Divine direction

TJI reader Tom Lassiter, stuck in a huge, mind-numbing backup on the Beltway, noticed something spiritual about a truck in the left lane. "The driver's side window was down just enough for the driver to put his arm straight out into the air," Tom reports. "In his hand he was holding a large wooden crucifix. He held his arm in the same position for at least 25 minutes. I don't know if he was trying to spread the word or just looking for divine intervention to get out of the traffic."

Artists relief fund

Thomas Stuehler, owner of Truffles catering company, is donating gourmet food and drink and use of the grand ballroom at the Belvedere for tomorrow night's fund-raiser for artists burned out of Clipper Industrial Park. Tickets are $25; organizers are expecting at least 700 guests, making Stuehler's contribution all the more impressive. Twenty-six artists lost their studios in September's eight-alarm fire. All proceeds from the

Belvedere party go to the artists relief fund.

Trash fight looms

Sykesville may have to sacrifice its high-quality trash service to economic reality. Twice a week, crews pick up anything from oversized tree limbs to kitchen sinks from about 1,000 households and 100 businesses. "If you put your 2-year-old out, they would probably pick him up," says Matthew Candland, town manager.

But, expenses are climbing for the only town in Carroll County to provide the service. Trash collection accounts for 10 percent of Sykesville's annual budget. Officials are considering reducing collection to once a week or contracting the service through a private hauler. Residents oppose any changes. Could be a fight. Stay tuned.

Hog head alert

Greater Baltimore Medical Center's 30th anniversary gala is Saturday night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and it includes an auction. Here's what's hot -- a 1996 Harley Heritage Special ($15,000 retail). The wait for one of these babies is 18 months to two years, but the winning bidder gets to drive it away Nov. 14. (Note to Hog heads: You have to pay the $150 admission just to make a bid.)

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