And as they cross the finish line . . .


TC Here's my prediction for tomorrow's Preakness:

Agincourt will have the lead on the rail after the first quarter-mile, with Casual Lies and Conte Di Savoya in hot pursuit. Casual Lies will get the lead by the half-mile pole. Lil E. Tee, the Kentucky Derby winner, will rally along the rail and challenge. Agincourt and Conte Di Savoya will drop back. Pine Bluff will blast past Lil E. Tee and Casual Lies and into the front in the final turn, then pull away from the field for a stunning three-length triumph. Casual Lies will easily outrun the others for second. Dance Floor will shock everyone with a late rally on the outside to steal third. Pine Bluff's winning time will be 1 minute 55 seconds. The order of finish will be 4-8-14, and it'll be a miracle if it happens that way. I'll be at The Hollow if it happens that way.


Current Events Quiz:

1. "Stuck in a uselessly low orbit for two years" was a term used to describe:

A. The communications satellite captured and repaired this week by Endeavor's crew.

B. Actor Bruce Willis.

C. William Donald Schaefer.

2. The statement, "I love William Donald Schaefer," was made this week by:

A. Tobacco industry lobbyist Bruce Bereano.

B. Hammer.

C. William Donald Schaefer.

3. "I don't like it at all. Let's do it over" was a statement made by:

A. D. Wayne Lukas, trainer of Dance Floor, after his horse drew the No. 14 post position for the Preakness.

B. Michael Jackson, commenting on his latest round of chin surgery.

C. William Donald Schaefer, after a tie-knotting seminar with West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton.


Things I'd like to see:

John Madden, with Tele-strater in hand, doing the play-by-play next time a space shuttle crew snares a satellite. . . . Bruce Springsteen and Tracey Chapman producing an album together. . . A Ben McDonald hand puppet. . . . An old, brass-plated, gas-fired peanut-roaster near the flag court in Oriole Park. . . . A short engagement of "The Wind And The Lion" at the Senator.


Letters, we get letters. . . .

Ole pal Chris Thomas, former sports anchor at WBAL-TV, caught the first game at Oriole Park (the exhibition with the Mets) during a visit to Baltimore last month. "What a great place," Chris writes from WFLA-TV in Tampa. "And to think of the times that Willie Don called me at the 'BAL office to tell me to shut up about building a new stadium. Said we didn't need one. Told me to give Bob Irsay a chance. Politicians. You gotta love 'em."

Another letter, from some anonymous someone, concerned my ill-fated proposal for a live organist at Oriole Park. "Dear Rodricks," Anon. wrote. "I have a better idea. How about you playing the violin at the games. Don't worry if your music sounds like a cat fight. The fans won't know the different (sic). Lack the courage? No problem. Just take a good slug on a whiskey bottle and you will soon be sawing merrily away." For it? Against it? Who can tell? The guy writes in code.


The congregation at Saints Stephen and James' Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hanover and Hamburg streets, is placing baseball-related evangelical messages on its outdoor sign to welcome Oriole fans who pass by on the way to Camden Yards. The Holy Week message was, "Easter Doubleheader: The Alleluia vs. The Eclipse." Here's my suggestion (with apologies to ole Ecclesiastes): "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; the AL East goes to the team with the lowest ERA."


You got a better way to celebrate the Preakness, sucka?

Just when you've had your fill of Preakness Festival activities, here comes the Wrestling Independent Network (WIN, get it?) with something for the day after the big race. WIN -- "More than a name, an attitude" -- will stage a wrestle-fest in front of the Grand Theater on Conkling Street in Highlandtown. It's part of the Preakness Fun Festival, according to a press release. In a tag team match, Baltimore's Cream Team -- Rip "Rest In Piece" Sawyer and Diamond Dave Casanova -- will face off against Morgus The Maniac and Lucifer, Knight of the Road. It's Agent Orange against A.C. Golden in heavyweight action, and Ramblin' Rich meets Nick "The Shark" Tarantino in a light-heavy match. So maybe it's not as quaint as the Preakness Frog Hop. And it may or may not be sanctioned by the Preakness Festival Committee. But it sounds like one of those classic Baltimore events you don't want to miss. Maybe next year, they'll have jockey wrestling.

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