Ed Hale couldn't have been happier last night, as he ate a cup of microwaved soup.
"I'm the only true local group left in the game and I think Baltimore, today, is probably in the best position it has ever been in to get an NFL franchise," said Hale, when asked his reaction to zTC the news that businessman Robert Tisch has withdrawn as a possible NFL franchise owner here. "I think my group has to move to the front and I'm very happy. Very happy."
Tisch called Gov. William Donald Schaefer yesterday to tell him he has bought 50 percent of the New York Giants and no longer was interested in a Baltimore franchise.
"I've known for some time that Tisch was trying to buy into other franchises," Hale said. "He wasn't interested in Baltimore. He was interested in owning a franchise. That doesn't make Tisch a bad guy. It is simply how it is and I've been telling the governor that for some time."
Hale, 41, owns and operates two successful transportation companies and the Blast soccer team.
His reasons for believing Baltimore is in a strong NFL position? St. Louis is on hold, with funding for a new stadium tied up in its legislature; Memphis businessman Fred Smith (Federal Express) has backed out; and Oakland is having budgetary problems.
"I would say that moves Baltimore squarely and securely to the front," Hale said.
As for his group, it still is not alone in this franchise race. The known contenders besides Hale are: the Bart Star group, the Nathan Landow group, and, possibly a group headed by Al Lerner.
Hale said last night he will meet as soon as possible with his NFL franchise investment group -- John Paterakis, owner of H&S; Bakery, one other Baltimore businessman and one businessman from outside the city.
Hale, who hopes to set up a meeting with Schaefer and his staff next week, said if he is lucky enough to get the NFL franchise, it would not affect his ownership of the Blast.
"I will keep the soccer team, regardless of what happens," he said.
The only change in regard to soccer is that if Baltimore wins a franchise, Hale hopes to see an indoor facility contained within the football stadium. If that happens, he will shelve his plans for a 22,000-seat arena in Timonium.