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A trip to the doomed ballpark brings out some critical observations


At the ballpark:

Baseball's the national pastime, my eye; eating and drinking is. Watched a guy make four trips out to the concession stands (or other) plus conduct high finance with three vendors circulating the stands. The ticket price was only an incidental expense for this dude.

The night Henry Aaron larruped home run No. 715 in Atlanta, at least 10 percent of the sold-out crowd was on the concourses stoking up.

* One fleeting glance at the Yankees makes you wonder how that cast got right up around .500 at the All-Star break. They're worse than the Orioles.

* OK, that's enough of Arthur Rhodes. What, does the upper pTC deck have to fall on John Oates? Someone, maybe Al Jackson, should take the lefty aside and explain to him that he doesn't have to start every batter off 2-and-0.

On the plus side, a solid year in Triple A appears to be all the kid needs. Oh, Al, take Ben McDonald with you.

* And who's the outfield coach around here? If Joe Orsulak played any deeper out there -- his shadow usually falls on the warning track -- he'd need a TV monitor to know what's going on in the infield.

* Whatever happened to those quick, meaningless September games of yesteryear? Used to be that out-of-it teams and the umpires would assess the situation and it would be a slam-bam thank you, ma'am two hours. Nowadays, players are so used to " those endless sagas of pitching changes, stepping out of the batter's box and TV delays they're incapable of getting games down under three hours.

* The last few years, there have been so many guys named Martinez on major-league rosters, I decided to look up the meaning of the word in my Spanish-English dictionary. Roughly translated, it means ballplayer.

* Three cheers for some of the concession prices: A hot dog for $2.50 and a green bottle of beer at $3.75 makes cutting down on fat and calorie intake relatively easy.

* The scoreboard pointed out that Mike Humphreys of the Yankees lives in DeSoto, Texas, which prompted a guy to speculate that since the rookie is only making the big-league minimum of $100,000, perhaps he lives in his car.

* After watching him "perform" in that rap-like ad for some insurance company on the tube, I'd say Moose Milligan is in dire need of a raise for next season. And speaking of endorsements, when is the advertising community going to toss popular Cal Ripken Jr. some work?

* If Park With No Name is going to have no-smoking and family sections, etc., how about sections for hard drinking, swearing, card-playing, nudes, bingo and people who eat loads of garlic?

Another innovation would be a metal detector, so fans will be apprehended attempting to leave the premises with any loose change in their pockets.

* Believe it or not, Memorial Stadium is about twice as good as it was 20 years ago and a lot of the downtown types are looking to tear it down. Good thing these geniuses didn't have the say with regard to the Colosseum in Rome or the Parthenon in Athens.

* Is that really the same Mark Williamson who pitched so well here the last three seasons, or is Doug Sisk made up like him back to haunt us?

* The O's have been giving Tim Hulett some play at third base and, to borrow a line from Chuck Hinton, the other night he turned the hot corner cool.

* After all these years it's still a hit-or-miss proposition understanding what is being said over the public address system. Or maybe it's just Rex (woof-woof-woof) Barney.

* You can argue the strategy of having Bill Ripken carry out a first-pitch suicide squeeze with a 3-2 lead and one out in the fourth inning until the Birds have another 20-game winner, but it all becomes academic when the play works.

* What a snap it is getting away from the stadium after a game . . . such a blessing these days.

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