Heard the one about the 4.97 ERA?


April 16, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Orioles' pitching has been a joke. One that's not that funny. Now an Orioles pitcher is making jokes. Ones that aren't that funny. Take the Bruce Chen Joke of the Day, please.

"What do you do with a one-legged dog?" Chen asks Camden Yards fans via the JumboTron. "Take him for a drag."

"Why did the bicycle keep falling over? Because it was too tired."

"Usually it's kind of corny, probably not the funniest joke you've ever heard," says team spokesman Kevin Behan. But Chen's humor is always suitable for a family audience. Not so with clubhouse cut-up Kevin Millar's.

In games when Chen is on the mound, the jokes aren't played. ("It could be a distraction," Behan says.) And they're nixed if the game gets off to a bad start, he notes, recalling a recent matchup with the Red Sox, when Boston jumped off to a big lead and the team was "at one point, trailing about 11-nothing."

"In a situation like that," Behan says, "that's not when they play it."

No need to add to the groans in the stands.

The water-bottle lady of Annapolis

The water-bottle lady was having a lousy night in Annapolis. In the last frenzied hours of the legislative session, Dru Schmidt-Perkins watched a couple of pet bills die in the Maryland Senate - a bottle of water, as always, dangling from a strap around her neck, a letter from the Senate president at the ready, in case any state troopers challenged her right to take a swig.

Lobbyists talk a lot. They walk a lot. Any professional arm-twister works up a good thirst. But Schmidt-Perkins, 48, has more reason than most to keep water handy.

The executive director of 1000 Friends of Maryland, a smart-growth group, has battled mouth cancer for 25 years. Repeated surgeries on her tongue forced her to learn to talk again - and again, and again. Radiation destroyed her salivary glands, which is why she needs to lug water around with her, even when she's chasing down lawmakers in historic hallways where open containers aren't officially welcome.

That's why she got that special water-bottle dispensation from Mike Miller. And why, tired of misplacing bottles all over Annapolis, she sewed herself a holster that looks like "something from REI." She has a velveteen version, "festooned with jewelry," for dress-up, and tiny lights powered by a battery pack for fun. She also has a sense of humor. When she plans to meet up with people she doesn't know, she tells them, "I'm the one wearing the water bottle around my neck." Few suspect this healthy-looking woman - an avid rower and mother of three - has anything going on beyond a hydration fixation.

Schmidt-Perkins might not convince every lawmaker that open space needs to be protected and older areas revitalized. But she never fails to make this case: "Cancer's not a death sentence."

They probably regret the error

The New York Times sets the record straight: Gov. Robert Ehrlich is white.

It's always a killer when the out-of-town press gets a Maryland scoop, but The Sun's got to give credit where credit is due. Here's what ran in Friday's Times, as a correction: "An article yesterday about the campaign for governor in Pennsylvania included one state erroneously among those where African-American Republicans are running for governor. They are Pennsylvania and Ohio. In Maryland, the Republican incumbent, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., is white."

Connect the dots ...

Actress Julia Montgomery Brown trumpets tonight's Sopranos appearance in a news release. What's her role? The Roland Park Country School and Hopkins grad says the show won't let her talk. Well, OK. We don't want Tony fitting her for a pair of cement shoes. ... Fifty-one beauty queens dined the other night on Obrycki's crab - or, at one table, salad. City Councilman Nick D'Adamo sat with one group of Miss USA contestants, but changed tables when he realized he was with the vegetarians, owner Rob Cernak says. ... What's with the Schaefer-Duncan axis? It's possible that the six people who voted for Comptroller William Donald Schaefer in a recent straw poll also supported Doug Duncan for governor. But clearly, all of the Duncanites didn't return the favor. The Montgomery County exec got 52 votes. ... Another musician seeking office: Scott Hymes of Crownsville, who sings and plays keyboard with Radio City, wants to be a state senator in District 33. The executive director of the Severn Riverkeeper Program is running as a Democrat, even though his weekend band played at both of George W. Bush's inaugurals. ... Tom Hucker of Silver Spring wants to make the "financially stupid" transition from lobbyist to politician. Will he really lose money if he wins the seat Del. Peter Franchot is leaving? The executive director of Progressive Maryland concedes that when you lobby for that kind of group, "you work for peanuts." ... Kimmie Meissner lands on a trading card in Sports Illustrated for Kids. Can the Wheaties box be far behind?

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