Stealing home

July 24, 2000

ANDY MORALES might be the Orioles third baseman of the future after all. The first time he tried to steal from Cuba to Florida, the Coast Guard picked him off. Second time lucky, he stole home.

The 25-year-old third baseman, who slugged a home run to cap the Cuban national team's blowout over the Orioles last year, made it to Florida and the bosom of his in-laws.

He should be allowed to stay and play. Those are the rules of the game, written by Congress itself.

Peter G. Angelos, principal owner of the O's, with an eye on future trades, is unwilling to hire Cuban talent for fear of offending Fidel Castro.

For this, the Justice Department is investigating at the urging of Sen. Jesse Helms. If the question is which dictator it is more necessary for a U.S. baseball mogul to propitiate, Mr. Helms wins hands down.

Cal Ripken is the Orioles' third baseman, forever or until he retires. Rumor is rife about that. Ryan Minor, designated heir, has a dreadful habit of getting disabled whenever Cal is. The wonderful Ivanon Coffie is up from Double-A Bowie, and we love him, but the kid needs seasoning at Triple-A.

So maybe the club picks up Mr. Morales to prove it is not discriminating against Cuban political refugees. Affirmative action with pop in his bat. It's just a thought. We would not want to tell Mr. Angelos how to run his business, would we?

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