Hae wi' Wallace bled. . .Baltimoreans know...

SCOTS WHA

March 31, 1996

SCOTS WHA hae wi' Wallace bled. . .

Baltimoreans know William Wallace as the heroic statue overlooking the reservoir in Druid Hill Park, and local moviegoers know him as the medieval Scottish warrior played by actor-director Mel Gibson in the film "Braveheart," which the Motion Picture Academy unaccountably honored last week with five Oscars, including the coveted award as the best picture of 1995.

Gory violence is sordid when set in the future, grimly realistic in the present and historically ennobling in the past. (Let this guide all uplifters.) The title role wears kilts, which is trendy in Hollywood, but as his sword slays everyone in sight, Pat Buchanan can't denounce him for a sissy.

The other Scots gore movie of 1995, "Rob Roy," cast a Northern Irish actor, Liam Neeson, in the bloody title role, while "Braveheart" used the Australian Mr. Gibson. Apparently the Scottish diet no longer produces the legs for the national dress, or Hollywood decided no one understands a true Scots accent. Oh for the days of (the Scot) Sean Connery in his prime.

WHEN CSX Transportation Inc. decided to drop "MARC to the Park," why did it keep MARC in the dark?

The Florida-based train operator should not have waited until days before Opening Day to inform the Maryland Rail Commuter Service that it wouldn't resume special trains between the Washington area and Oriole Park.

CSX says running passenger trains after games conflicted with slower freight lines that must use those tracks at night. Also, demand for the service was meager. Still, those conditions were known months ago.

MARC, having few immediate alternatives, will now run limited bus service after games to D.C.'s Union Station.

Mass transit and commuting share an inverse relationship: The harder it is to drive, the more appealing becomes public transportation. Commuting to Oriole Park was never as hard as folks feared when a downtown stadium was proposed.

Still, 15 percent of baseball fans ride light rail, buses and trains to games -- and the number has been growing. After construction of a football stadium begins this summer -- consuming much of the existing parking lot -- we suspect a well-run public transit option will prove even more inviting.

Pub Date: 3/31/96

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