Orioles' Flanagan has opportunity to give it the really old college try

February 23, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - If youth really is wasted on the young, Orioles vice president Mike Flanagan has a chance to do something about it.

Flanagan was a solid basketball and baseball prospect at Manchester (N.H.) Memorial High School in the late 1960s and went on to play two years at point guard at the University of Massachusetts before making himself available for the baseball draft after his sophomore year.

That might seem like a long time ago, but Flanny still has two years of college eligibility left - a fact that was not lost, even after all this time, on a New Hampshire company that runs college scouting camps.

Strange but true. Flanagan recently received a letter identifying him as a top high school basketball prospect. The letter, addressed to "Mike Flanagan - Student," was forwarded to Flanny by a teacher at his old high school.

"Please consider the attached brochure as your invitation to showcase yourself to the colleges in New England," the letter reads. "You have been identified to us as a legitimate college basketball prospect from either a high school or college coach or from other media sources."

OK, I know what you must be thinking. Michael Flanagan isn't a terribly unusual name, so maybe there is someone else in the pipeline at Manchester Memorial with the same name and similar athletic credentials, except that there isn't.

So, if the general manager thing doesn't work out, at least Flanny has a fallback position.

"If you need a 53-year-old point guard," he said, "I'm your man."

It probably isn't that rare to find a GM (or vice president of baseball operations, if you want to get technical about it) who played college basketball, but two of them in the same front office? And both from New England?

Jim Beattie also was a two-sport guy in college, playing basketball and baseball at Dartmouth in the mid-1970s.

I can say from personal experience that they complement each other well on the basketball court, just as they do in the boardroom. Flanny is a gunner from the perimeter, and, well, let's just say Beattie does not need an elbow sharpener in the key.

Flanagan was caught in the crossfire during the Jose Canseco steroid revelations, but not because he had any connection with baseball's latest drug scandal.

He's the co-star of Canseco's signature highlight clip, giving up that mammoth home run at SkyDome that has been replayed countless times on ESPN and sports news programs the past few weeks.

So, the obvious question: When that 500-foot shot was landing in the upper deck, did Flanagan suspect Canseco was the product of mad science?

"No, I think the first time I suspected him was when I saw him with his twin brother, Ozzie," Flanagan said. "It looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in that movie Twins."

Legendary broadcaster Jerry Coleman has been named the winner of the 2005 Ford C. Frick Award and will be honored at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., this summer.

Lest there be any confusion, we're talking about Jerry Coleman the former New York Yankees infielder and longtime baseball play-by-play man. WBAL and 98 Rock sports guy Jerry Coleman was not on the ballot this year, a glaring oversight that will be corrected when hell freezes over.

Throw away that George Foreman grill. Deion Sanders has entered the sports celebrity appliance market with Deion Sanders' Hot Dog Express ($49.95 plus shipping), a handy little invention that cranks out hot dogs faster than your kids can say, "Ummmmm, great nitrites."

Bonus literary diet tip: When I get hungry for a hot dog, I just read a couple of chapters of The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair.

Mea culpa dept.: I took a lighthearted shot at popular movie critic Roger Ebert in Monday's column about the Sidney Ponson Diet, even though Ebert has lost 100 pounds the past couple of years.

"That's it?" I wrote. "If I run on the treadmill for 45 minutes a day, I won't look like Roger Ebert anymore?"

Turns out it's the other way around. He doesn't look like me anymore.

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