Anniversary, tourney have the duckpins flying high

This Just In...

May 01, 2002|By DAN RODRICKS

ATTENTION MUST be paid: In the interest of preserving a local institution - and filling this column with stuff about Baltimore - I report the following: The National Duckpin Bowling Congress convenes its annual meeting at Snyder's in Linthicum day after tomorrow to induct five new members into its Hall of Fame, and they are all Marylanders - Lindsey Hammonds of Waldorf, Scott Wolgamuth of College Park, Joe Rineer of New Windsor, and Carol Yingling and Robert Wilson of Baltimore.

And that's only the half of it, hon.

Duckpins, invented in Baltimore just a couple of years before the big fire, is also celebrating its 100th anniversary - either one or two years late, depending on which historian you're talking to and what he's drinking at the time. Some say the ducks first hatched in the Queen City of the Patapsco Drainage Basin in 1900, some say 1901. Either way, says Marge Chaney, an officer of the congress, duckpin bowlers are taking a better-late-than-never attitude toward the centennial celebrations. So they're having a big party - to also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the congress - and a tournament that will run this weekend and the next five. About 1,000 duckpin bowlers will take part in all this.

Wait - there's more.

"Also joining us will be Rob Norton of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who is building a prototype of a new duckpin pinsetter," says Chaney. "It will be our first in 30 or 35 years."

If you want to see the ducks fly, opening ceremonies will be Saturday morning at 11 at the AMF Southwest Lanes in Linthicum, hard by the Beltway. Take the kids. We're talking about their heritage.

Some people spend all kinds of money to take their kids to the Maryland Renaissance Festival to see jousting - the state's official sport. I say take them to AMF Southwest to see duckpin bowling - the one that ought to be.

Custom-tailored suit

Sam Adams, the extra-extra-large and excellent defensive tackle who played for the Baltimore Ravens the past two seasons, has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit seeking payment of an extra-large bill for custom-tailored clothing - and we're not talking a few hundred bucks from the Tall & Big Men's Store.

David Rickey & Co., a high-end, wardrobe-creating concern in Costa Mesa, Calif. - the kind that comes to your office or home to measure your inseam - claims in a suit filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court that Adams owes $70,000 for threads purchased just before and since the Super Bowl in January 2001.

The suit says that, shortly after the Ravens' Super Bowl victory, Rickey had to return Adams' check for $30,000 because it was drawn on a closed account.

Baltimore attorney Andre Weitzman, who filed the suit for the clothing company, says he's been unable to serve papers on Adams, who has made millions in nine professional football seasons, at either of his homes near Baltimore and Seattle. (Adams could not be reached for comment yesterday, either.)

Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said that, though the team has been out of contact with the 6-foot-3, 330-pound Adams recently, the Ravens are attempting to re-sign him.

"Let him have his day in court and give him the benefit of the doubt," Byrne said, noting Adams' many charitable efforts in Baltimore. "He has been a good citizen."

A schtickster's requiem

We're going to have to leave the state of denial and discuss the elephant in the room - or, make that the elephant that just left the room, or the sportscaster who just left the WJZ "sports palace." I'm talking about John Buren.

Don't put off the discussion until your kids are older. Gather them near and explain that the wired 'JZ sports guy got the ax because of "market forces." To be competitive, Channel 13 apparently has moved to a hard-news style, dropping that chummy, we're-your-suckface-friends kinda style that had marked the station for a couple of decades.

And now there's no room for the lite and breezy, tropical shirt-wearing, flippant, sneering, twitchy John Buren, the man who did not take sports seriously and did not care if everybody knew it - or if Denise Koch rolled her eyes till they got stuck up inside her skull.

And he was huge. Let me repeat that: John Buren was huge in this town! He was loved. My God, was that man loved - by women and children. And hated! That man was hated in this town - by guys mostly, and mostly guys who took sports maybe too seriously and wanted it presented like important news!

Reporting? Buren didn't do reporting. He did schtick. He was a schtickster. But now that his station has dropped schtick, they've dropped him.

One thing about Buren, his live sportscasts certainly were never dull. He was unpredictable and more than a little goofy. There was always a chance he'd say something bizarre enough to make Denise blush or gasp, and that was part of the guy's appeal. It's why people go to car races.

The TV biz is a fickle one. That Buren lasted as long as he did - some 16 years - borders on the minor-miraculous.

I have a feeling we've not seen the last of the John B.

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