Ravens can go far some men in blue go too far

October 11, 1998|By JOHN STEADMAN

NOTEworthy Day:

Let it be said loud and clear that the Ravens, a relatively young team in age and experience, don't truly realize how good they can be. There's an ideal balance of youth and veterans, and excellent coaching by Ted Marchibroda. They are in position to beat the Oilers today and the Steelers next Sunday. Improvement has been ongoing.

Major League Baseball was hoping to get control of its umpires a decade or so ago, but then commissioner Peter Ueberroth, long on the public relations aspect, caved into the pressure and submitted to the umpire union's demands. Ex-Orioles batting coach Rick Down believed in what may have been too much batting practice, but in fairness to him we'll never know, so it'll be interesting to see if incoming Terry Crowley backs away from the grinding physical routine of swing, swing, swing. Al "Moon" ,, Paul, who served Columbia University with much distinction as its athletic director, is now devoting time and energy toward helping his alma mater, Western Maryland College, and on Saturday will welcome a reunion of football players from 1946 through 1951 to a luncheon prior to homecoming against Dickinson. Chris Tittel, highly regarded assistant professional at Suburban Club and a St. Paul's and Towson University graduate, estimates that, since 1992, he has given 3,500 individual golf lessons.

The first coach we ever knew, Jerry Nathanson, at dear old Clifton Park Junior High, will be a posthumous inductee into the City College hall of fame Friday after devoting his life to understanding and motivating young men. Doak Walker, who died as a result of a skiing accident, was as fine a gentleman as he was a football player, and it's doubtful you'll ever find anyone to argue either point. Ray Leonard and comrades from Ring 101 will be with William Bandier, otherwise known in the boxing trade as Bill Bandy, when he celebrates his 100th birthday on Thursday at the Fort Howard Medical Center theater. The annual Tops in Sport banquet of the Maryland Professional Baseball Players Association may not be held this January unless help comes in from the bullpen to take over for the resigning Frank Sliwka and John Rommel. Both made more than 40 years of contributions.

There's a golfer at Woodholme CC, one Mike Snyder, who takes the club back farther than John Daly and, yes, on occasion, hits the ball to infinity: Witness the hole in one he made this summer on the 375-yard 10th hole. Lou Sleater observes that pitchers of his era would never have tolerated Ryan Klesko swinging from his heels without giving him something else to think about by putting him in his proper place -- on the ground -- which would have been typical of Early Wynn, Bob Gibson and so many others. Some of Baltimore's most entertaining television occurs on Friday evening when WJZ's John Buren and Hall of Fame tackle Art Donovan meet for their weekly shtick. Gus Dugas, once an Oriole during International League days, died at age 91. Mark Belanger used to drive a car with Massachusetts license plates that read Glove-7, which identified his trade as a skilled shortstop and the number he wore on his back.

Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning has a four-point lead in the polls over Scotty Beasler in the race for a Kentucky seat in the U.S. Senate. Ravens scouts Ron Marciniak and Vince Newsome were right on target when they told scouting director Phil Savage that Priest Holmes was a free agent worth signing five days after the 1997 draft. Bob Sommers and wife Helen are visiting Grasonsville from their home in Port St. Lucie, Fla.; he's the former Evening Sun and Washington Star sportswriter who went on to become a USGA executive, editor of Golf Journal and author of numerous books about the game. Occasionally, we think of Spiro Agnew and remember how, as Baltimore County executive, he insisted the county add high school football despite opposition from a strong soccer lobby.

Carroll County, according to Jim Elliot, is organizing an old-timers' baseball association. Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz sounding like Earl Weaver: "You want pitching first, defense and the three-run homer." It's much too late, but wouldn't it have been the thrill of any lifetime to see Babe Ruth loft a home run into the heavens, to witness Jack Johnson deliver a right cross, to watch Bobby Jones' methodical swing, even if it had a loop in it, and to study Nile Kinnick as he drop-kicked a field goal? Sam Banks, the man who put the horseshoe design on Baltimore Colts helmets in 1954, retired from Kaiser Aluminum, but maintains his golf interest working at Pine Ridge.

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