Stallions fans get a loud last hurrah Winners: The Stallions may be doomed by the Cleveland Browns' prospective move to Baltimore, but their fans put that aside to watch them win the CFL title.

November 20, 1995|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore Stallions won the Canadian Football League's Grey Cup last night with a 37-20 victory over the Calgary Stampeders.

The Grey Cup, which signifies the championship of the CFL, will reside in the United States for the first time in the 106-year history of the league.

"The Grey Cup is home in Baltimore, in the U.S.," Keith Schoppert, a 30-year-old mechanic, said as he sat among Stallions fans at J. R. Tees Tavern in Essex.

Robert Morningstar, a 31-year-old metalworker also at the tavern, wondered aloud: "Think they'll let the cup through customs?"

They were among the more than 30 fans -- many of them members of Stallions Corral No. 8 -- gathered upstairs at the tavern on Myrth Avenue.

All put aside the angst surrounding Baltimore's football future to root for the Stallions, the city's only incumbent professional football team.

Two television sets for the game, plastic cups for the beer and a cold-cut platter for halftime -- for these fans, it was the next best thing to a trip to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, where the game was played before 55,000 fans.

"This gives us three championships in one city in three [professional football] leagues," said Bill Perzynski, 65, a retired Bethlehem Steel foreman.

He was referring to the National Football League's Baltimore Colts, who won league titles in 1958 and in 1959 in addition to the Super Bowl in 1971; the Baltimore Stars, who won the United States Football League championship in 1985, and now the Stallions.

After winning the game, Stallions players, coaches and owner Jim Speros celebrated on the freezing Canadian field; they were saluted from thousands of miles away by Doris Sadlow. She raised her mug of beer in the tavern and said: "Here's to Speros, he's given us great football the past two years."

It must have been a bittersweet victory party for some Stallions fans.

Because the city probably cannot support two football teams, the Stallions in all likelihood will be forced to disband or move out of Baltimore when the NFL's Cleveland Browns become the Baltimore Browns.

Mr. Speros' players don't hold out for fatter contracts. The owner never fired a coach during halftime. Until the NFL came rumbling into town, he had never threatened to move the team.

For two years, the Stallions won most of their games.

Last year they played in the Grey Cup championship but lost. This year, they were 17-3 going into the Grey Cup game.

They had a solid fan following.

But Jim Phillips, president of the Council of Stallions Corrals, said yesterday that any firm decisions on the fan club's future had been tabled.

"They [members] sort of put the Baltimore Browns on the shelf for the weekend," he said.

If the Stallions leave, the fan club will likely vote early next year to support the Browns, Mr. Phillips said.

And if both teams stay?

"I think it would be a clash," he said. "We have some who are anti-NFL. We have some who are split between the CFL and the NFL. We have some who are waiting for the NFL to get here."

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