Beauty is only pigskin deep, but event lacked pageantry

April 03, 2005

WHEN I HEARD that nine Miss USA hopefuls were coming to M&T Bank Stadium for a Ravens instructional clinic and flag football game on Thursday, I had a tough decision to make.

My kid had a baseball game the same day in Philadelphia, and I've only seen him play a couple of times since he went off to college, so I carefully weighed my family obligations, the overwhelming urge to live vicariously through the accomplishments of my children and my desire to see a bunch of beautiful women running around in short shorts and tight T-shirts.

Someday, the kid will understand.

The Ravens brought out quarterback Kyle Boller and several teammates to run the girls through a series of training camp drills before choosing up sides for a little friendly competition, all for the NBC broadcast of the Miss USA pageant from the Hippodrome on April 11.

I particularly liked the handoff and dive drill in which each of the girls took the ball and threw herself onto a big pad, which - and I'm only pointing this out because the Miss USA pageant is owned by Donald Trump - was about the size of a king bed.

Boller provided the apocryphal moment of the flag football game when he threw into multiple coverage and was intercepted by Miss Idaho.

I wish I was making that up, but give the young lady a little credit. She jumped the route.

It all would have been great fun if Trump's pageant people had sent anybody along who knew how to run a no-lose photo-op event. The Miss USA organizers and their security chief spent much of the time bullying members of the Baltimore media and pretty much exhausting any local goodwill the event might have generated.

The camera crew from Channel 13 was ejected from the stadium after a pageant official overheard a cameraman mutter an unkind remark about another member of the pageant staff. The cameraman was told that he was being thrown out for having "a poor attitude," but the pageant official who ordered him out said that it was a question of "professionalism."

It certainly was an issue of professionalism. The event was poorly organized and the pageant's security guy was a little too eager to throw his weight around, but maybe there's a logical explanation for all this.

I left wondering if it was really just an episode of The Apprentice and some night I would be seeing key members of the pageant staff sitting across a big table from The Donald. We can only hope.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Major League Baseball officials finally hammered out the compensation agreement that indemnifies the O's against possible revenue losses caused by the arrival of a second team in the region.

Now, Angelos needs to embrace the potential rivalry between the Orioles and the Washington Nationals and push for the Nats to become his team's designated interleague rival, which would guarantee six games between the teams during the regular season.

Don't get all exorcised about the Matt Riley deal. The Orioles didn't have much choice but to give up on the guy, who once was considered the top pitching prospect in the organization, and there is little chance the trade will come back to haunt them.

I don't think Riley will win more than 15 games for the Rangers this year.

The Cleveland Indians put Juan Gonzalez on the disabled list, moving him closer to the day that he can tell his grandchildren that he spent time on the DL with every major league team.

Just got my copy of the University of Southern California spring football prospectus, which features Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart and Heisman finalist Reggie Bush on the cover.

Before you accuse me of being a front-runner, I want you to take into account one very important piece of information.

I am.

Final thought: In case you were wondering, the fact that Ray Frager was the Page 2 columnist on April Fools' Day was not a coincidence.

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