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Why did mayor let U2 skip town in deference to exhibition football?


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How come U2 can do blockbuster dates at RFK Stadium, the Meadowlands and the Vet in Philadelphia and Baltimore wouldn't even allow the rock group to practice in lonesome Memorial Stadium for a big fee?

The city's argument that the practices and construction of a stage for U2's world tour would mess up the field for the ho-hum Saints-Dolphins exhibition Aug. 27 doesn't fly in the face of those other stadiums playing host to NFL teams with the regular season right around the bend.

As it worked out, the group readied at Hershey Park, created great interest throughout the region and scored big points with a $15-per-ticket concert for charity, something it was planning on doing here. Good move, Kurt.

* In their never-ending quest to get tickets into the hands of the true fans, the Orioles are offering two tickets to next season's All-Star Game at Big Jake's Place to the first 100 people to sign up for the Camden Club (with its stiff initiation fee).

* In its pay-per-view experiment with college football beginning Sept. 5, ABC will announce the upcoming regional games to get PPV treatment during Monday Night Football. Which is a pretty sneaky way to get more fans to tune in to Al Michaels, Dan Dierdorf and Frank Gifford.

* If nothing else, the World Boxing Council is certainly a forgiving organization. Come its annual convention in Cancun, Mexico, in November, the WBC will honor Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, No. 1-ranked middleweight 30 years ago. Carter, ring historians will recall, pulled 22 years in jail as the result of a triple murder charge in 1966.

* Obviously, the word hasn't spread to the Adirondack region that economic times ain't the best. During the first half of its current meeting, "The Spa," Saratoga Racecourse, has averaged more than 25,000 fans daily betting about $126 apiece.

* Shortly after Jimmy Connors turns 40 years old (Sept. 2) and after he disposes of Martina Navratilova in a pay-per-view showdown in Las Vegas, he'll get to work full time promoting a seniors tour due to start next year. Jimbo has lined up some names -- Bjorn Borg, Guillermo Vilas and old buddies Ilie Nastase and Vitas Gerulaitis -- but the question remains, will anybody pay to watch guys who have slowed down noticeably?

The argument that they do in golf doesn't make it since the men on the PGA Seniors Tour still shoot terrific rounds over slightly shortened courses from the regular tour. Borg, incidentally, hasn't won a match on the ATP Tour. He's ranked No. 917 and it's getting embarrassing.

* Tom Rothe has had it with the fight game -- again. After his fighter Ron Essett lost his third super-middleweight title shot recently, Rothe said, "What's the use?" Essett, after flubbing opportunities against the WBC, WBA and WBO champs, is hoping another organization springs into existence so he can get a fourth try.

* This John Daly business is getting ugly. The fallen PGA Championship hero of last year sometimes gives only half an effort while out onthe golf course because of what he perceives to be grossly unfair treatment by the media. Thing is, if Long John wants people to stop treating his life like a soap opera, he should stop living it thusly.

On the plus side, Daly improved his last-place finish in the British Open to a fourth from the bottom standing in the PGA.

* Seriously now, how much of a chance does Tashkent, Uzbekistan, have of beating out Berlin, Milan, Beijing, Sydney, Istanbul (not Constantinople), Manchester and Brasilia for the Olympic Games 2000?

* In her book "Beyond Center Court," Tracy Austin says, "There was a clique that included Rosie Casals, Chris and Martina, and I definitely was not a part of it. I was too young, and perhaps too good. I knew when I played one of them, the others would be rooting against me." What about your friends, Tracy, who did they root for when you were involved in a match?

* The Eagles have a fine football team abuilding up there in Philly-town, what with a terrific defense and Randall Cunningham coming back. But for them to suggest the season won't be a success unless they're playing in Pasadena at the end of January is not only infantile, it's stupid.

* By inexcusable oversight, I somehow let slip the fact that Sunday was the anniversary of the first no-hitter thrown at the pitching distance of 60 feet, six inches. Yep, Bill Hawke of Baltimore did it against Washington in 1893.

* One more word about the lengthy road trip of the Houston Astros (caused by the Astrodome playing host to the Republican National Convention) and I will not be responsible for my actions . . . Same goes for the never-ending saga of Tom Gugliotta and his fast-fading basketball career.

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