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No thanks to Orioles, final tickets still for sale


Remember the weeping and gnashing of teeth surrounding the public sale of tickets to the last baseball game at Memorial Stadium (sniff-sniff)? Not only was that whole situation handled in inexcusable fashion, now we see notices in the for-sale section and elsewhere in the newspapers advertising available tickets.

"Where would you like to sit?" a guy answering one call number asked. "I got anything you want," said another broker, ticking off locations among the lower boxes along the third base line, no less. Something's rotten in Waverly, gang.

One of the little gimmicks a club uses to make a substantial ticket-price hike slightly more acceptable for its too emotionally involved fans is to simply change the name of the seat designation. For example, a seat classified as lower reserved at Memorial Stadium this season priced at $7.50 will go for $13 in PWNN (Park With No Name) as a lower box.

* The price the St. Louis Blues were ordered to pay as compensation for signing Brendan Shanahan -- million-dollar TC defenseman Scott Stevens -- would appear to preclude true free agency coming to the NHL much before the year 2053.

* How ironic that among the score of terrific athletic performances turned in over the long Labor Day weekend, the most noteworthy, Dan O'Brien's effort at the track and field World Championships in Tokyo, went all but unnoticed. No problem. Decathletes, truly the best athletes on the planet, like offensive linemen in football, have long since learned to live in anonymity.

Of course, the fact that the decathlon is 10 events spread over two days, the finishing 1,500 meters usually being run at 2:30 a.m., probably doesn't help. Anyway, O'Brien set an American record and could have obliterated Daley Thompson's world mark with just an average showing in the run. He's returning the United States to the top of the decathlon heap, so publicity doesn't figure to be a problem between now and next year's Olympics.

* Those guys in the once-vaunted Black & Blue Division (NFC Central) must think their game is soccer considering their efforts in NFL openers. The free-wheeling five of Tampa Bay, Chicago, Minnesota, Green Bay and Detroit combined for an awesome two TDs last Sunday and were outscored by the Redskins in one half.

* When Gigi Fernandez was competing in the Virginia Slims of Washington tennis tournament a couple of weeks ago, she was bemoaning the fact that her No. 1-rated doubles partnership with Jana Novotna had come to an end without explanation. Uh, Gigi, look at who's coaching Novotna these days: Hana Mandlikova, alias Hana Mandlikoo-koo. There's your answer.

* Still no word on whether George Steinbrenner is going to get the $1 million he's seeking from a publisher for his autobiography. Question is, after years of permanent residence on the back page of the New York tabloids, what's left to tell?

* After looking like an old, out-of-shape guy in his initial comeback bout, Larry Holmes was ordered to take medical tests before being granted permission to continue. The ex-heavyweight champ got the OK, starched some stiff and, voila, he shows up in the WBC's top 10 released this week.

* A tip for the traveler: If you're a tennis player headed for Copenhagen, better visit K-Mart first. A can of balls in the Denmark city goes for $13.84.

* A city councilman in Cincinnati wants Riverfront Stadium renamed to honor the late great football coach Paul Brown. Trouble is, Brown made history in Cleveland and the cities are fierce cross-state rivals. Remember Bengals coach Sam Wyche getting on the public address system and attempting to calm the unruly home crowd by reminding it, "You do not live in Cleveland."

* The tennis crowd will assume you know your stuff if you casually drop into the conversation the fact that the last time two unseeded players met in the U.S. Open final was 25 years ago when Fred Stolle beat John Newcombe, 4-6, 12-10, 6-3, 6-4.

They seeded only eight players in those bygone days at Forest Hills and, strangely, Stolle was left out despite winning the French and being the runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open the year before. Five of eight quarterfinals and three of four semifinalists were Aussies. Ah, the good old days when it was a gentleman's game.

* Let the celebration begin! Tomorrow is the 85th anniversary of the first legal forward pass, Brandbury Robinson hooking up with Jack Schneider for St. Louis University in a game against mighty Carroll College. You only thought it all started with Gus Dorais-to-Pat O'Brien.

* After getting zapped, 65-2, in its first two matches at the Pan Am Games, it wouldn't surprise if the Jamaican water polo team showed up at the Winter Olympics next February as the country's infamous bobsled team.

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