On trade block, ex-Met Darling could roll into town to join Angels for stretch run


Ron Darling, the former Met, could be pitching here against the Orioles sometime in the next three nights.

Darling, the ex-Yalie, was traded the other day to Montreal, as we all know, but the Expos already are considering offers for him.

The most likely to grab Darling would be one of the clubs in the tight AL West race who are looking for an additional pitcher for the stretch run. The California Angels, who come to Memorial Stadium tomorrow night, fit that description.

* Wouldn't you think ARA Martin's, the concessionaire at Orioles games, would be better prepared than it was yesterday at the frozen yogurt stand at section 41?

I took a bunch of 7-year-olds to the stadium to see the Orioles' 6-4 loss to Seattle. They decided they wanted frozen yogurt in the top of the fifth inning -- the turning point of the game, naturally, when the Mariners exploded for five runs.

But the frozen yogurt line snaked around and around. It appeared like a 30-minute wait, much too long for anyone who wanted to see the game. With 32,901 spectators in the park on the hottest Sunday of the year, didn't the concessionaire realize it would sell a ton of the stuff and that more help would be needed?

* Mike Lupica and Bill Conlin dropped a notch with me yesterday. They said on the "Sports Reporters" show on ESPN that Toronto's Joe Carter should be the American League's Most Valuable Player.

Carter over Cal Ripken Jr.? No way, guys. The Orioles shortstop and American League's leading hitter is much more valuable. Carter's offensive numbers may be similar to Ripken's but what about the other half of the game, defense? Cal's every inning of every game work at shortstop places him well above Carter. No contest.

Leonard Koppett, the old New York Timesman, now writing from California, made more sense than Lupica or Conlin. Said he: "How can you say who should be the MVP when they still have almost half the season left?"

* The Baltimore Colts band, bless 'em, will hardly be fatigued by double duty this Saturday at Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies and a parade before 200,000 in Canton, Ohio. On July 4 the Colts band marched in four parades here and, needless to say, stole the show in each.

By the way, Colts band musical director Craig Harvey is a show in himself. John Ziemann, the band's president, calls Harvey "the Vince Lombardi of music" because of the direction, creativity and discipline he has brought to the organization.

* The Blast should make peace with Tim Wittman and bring him back -- for a lot of reasons. The best is that the team is desperate for defenders. I know Timmy Wittman. He's not a bad guy.

* The marketing types with the Washington Bullets have come up with a good one to help ticket sales in Baltimore.

To those who buy the Baltimore "Four-Pack" for the games that will be played here at the Arena against Charlotte Dec. 28, Philadelphia Jan. 18, Atlanta Feb. 17 and Milwaukee March 7, the Bullets are offering a free ticket to an Orioles-Boston game for the O's next-to-last series at Memorial Stadium.

So great is the demand for tickets for the Orioles' final game on 33rd Street on Oct. 6 that a lot of people will settle for an earlier final look at the ballyard.

* Bill Veeck's entering the Hall of Fame yesterday brings back many memories of the late baseball innovator, none so vivid as my very first contact with him.

Veeck had just moved to Peach Blossom Creek near Easton on the Eastern Shore. I had never met him, so I phoned him one morning, introduced myself, and said, "I'd like to come down and talk to you and write a column about you sometime when there's a little free time in your schedule."

Veeck answered in a flash: "I couldn't possibly find time for something like that until noon today. Get in your car and start driving. You'll be here by 12 o'clock."

I was, and we talked about baseball and about life all afternoon and evening. At midnight Veeck talked me into spending the night in his and Mary Frances' little guest house. The last thing he said as I retired was, "If you leave in the morning before we're up, take the toothbrush with you. Who wants a used toothbrush?" That's the way Bill lived. No wonder he is so missed.

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