In the National Football League, as in life, what goes around comes around. Vagabond Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, who has moved his team twice in the past 12 years against stiff resistance from the league, has choice words for one of his most passionate opponents -- Browns' owner Art Modell.
"He has been a factor for 10 to 15 years on this moving business, always speaking out that he would never do it and that it shouldn't be done," Davis says. "It's the uniqueness of man that when it gets down to you, when you need something, you forget everything else you said."
Davis also questions whether the league front office conspired to assist Modell in his Cleveland-to-Baltimore move, and he wonders if Modell's position on various league committees gave him access to inside information that allowed him to beat competing teams, such as the Cardinals and Buccaneers, to the Maryland Stadium Authority's offer. "He does not have clean hands," Davis says.
The Raiders' owner, who abstains from all relocation votes, says he doesn't believe the Browns meet the criteria for relocation that Modell has long promoted. "I think every team has a right to move if they so desire," Davis says. "However, someone who has benefited by these guidelines and has been a proponent and an architect of them, I don't think comes in with clean hands, especially if they don't meet [the criteria]."
Anybody out there need a grain of salt with this?
Just remember: Al Davis is the guy who has jerked around several cities with threatened and actual moves over the years. He once even accepted a $10 million "loan," with no payback required, from tiny Irwindale, Calif., on the mere suggestion he might move the Raiders there. He never did, and kept the cash.
One of Dr. J. David Nagel's medical colleagues calls snow shoveling a "cardiac hellhole." Ten days ago, that's where Nagel, 55, found himself -- with terrible pains in his upper body after shoveling the snow from Storm No. 3 (Jan. 12).
He was at home in Butler, at the deep end of a 250-foot driveway that, plowed after the blizzard, had filled again. Nagel's wife, Dianne, a nurse, was pretty sure her husband was having a heart attack -- she was right -- and insisted he get to a hospital pronto. But how? Their car was snowed-in. A neighbor's four-wheel drive truck couldn't make it out either.
So the doc decided to hike to Falls Road and flag down help. "When I got out to Falls Road, I remember thinking, 'I could die here,' " he says. "But I also remember telling myself that I wouldn't. I refused to die there. I flagged the first car that came along." And the driver happened to be -- are you sitting down? -- an emergency medical technician with a cellular phone in his Ford Taurus. The EMT drove Nagel to the Butler Volunteer Fire Company, which got him to St. Joe's. The doc was back home within a week, extremely grateful to a lot of people, especially a certain EMT named Morgan Lambert.
Shovels not a pet project
A woman poked her head into the Petsmart in Towson one day during Snow Week.
"Do you sell snow shovels?" she asked.
"Lady," the clerk snapped, "this is a pet supply store."
"I KNOW that!" she snapped back. "I'm desperate!"
We were tempted to recommend a dozen pooper-scoopers, but let it go.
Driving to distraction
A TJI reader gripes:
"A tow truck driver gave me a ride to my disabled car one morning. He was really sweet and funny, a young black man -- race is relevant to the story -- who lived a block away from me, as it turns out. He told me that the Roland Park area, where he has lived for four years, has not always been kind to him. He gets a lot of funny looks and hostile stares, comments along the lines of, 'If you lived here, you wouldn't drive so fast.' I didn't doubt a word of his story. However, as we pulled up to the stop sign at Keswick and Wyndhurst, he was so far over to the left side of the road that a woman trying to make a turn could barely get around him. She shot him a dirty look. 'See?' he said. 'It happens to me all the time around here.' "
Collection for computers
Don't forget the Renaissance Institute's big class project -- to collect cash register tapes from Giant, Safeway and Metro and redeem them for classroom computers for a Baltimore public school with the greatest need and the best student attendance. If everyone who bought milk, bread and eggs during snow panics saved their tapes and sent them to the following address, this project would be over by now:
Save the Tapes, Renaissance Institute, College of Notre Dame of Maryland, 4701 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21210-2476.
A somewhat happy ending
City police have recovered Barbara Bustard's van -- the one that had to be dug out of the snow before it could be stolen. The heavily bumper-stickered Voyager was found on The Alameda, trashed inside, and its sliding side door removed. Van is in the shop now. Barbara is happy, kinda, sorta.