With ballparks banning smoking, could beer be next on the hit list?
No way, representatives of Major League Baseball said at a midafternoon news conference yesterday at the All-Star FanFest at the Convention Center.
"Beer is a legalized beverage," said Peter Widdrington, the league's administrator. "It's an accepted beverage that's been in existence for 4,000 years. It's a question of handling it in a responsible manner."
U.S. Transportation Secretary Federico F. Pena said banning beer from stadiums would accomplish little. People would find ways to smuggle it in or drink in parking lots, he said.
"If you don't focus on responsibility, what people will do is amazing," Pena said. "I think we want to focus on restraint."
Pena presented baseball officials with an award for their efforts to curb drunken driving.
Widdrington said ballparks are experiencing fewer problems with drunken behavior as a result of changes made the past five years.
Those efforts have included educating fans, selling smaller servings, restricting the number of beers a customer can purchase and closing concessions earlier. A Hampton, Va., attorney will not cherish all his memories of the 64th All-Star Game.
As George L. Smith Jr. was calling his law firm yesterday from the lobby of the Days Inn in the 100 block of Hopkins Place, someone made off with his shopping bag of FanFest souvenirs that included autographed baseballs of such former stars as Orlando Cepeda, Harmon Killebrew and Bobby Doerr.
Smith, who is here with his two teen-age sons and one of his clients, said he had spent several hours in line obtaining the autographs and having them authenticated.
His loss, including a camera containing pictures of many of the players here for the All-Star Game, was estimated at close to $1,000, he said.
Police said they have no suspects.
A Baltimore City police officer suffered a broken nose after being struck by a stray baseball during warm-ups for last night's game.
Officer Robert P. Brown of the Western District was treated and released from University of Maryland Hospital. Brown was in Section 18, along the first-base line, when the ball hit him in the nose, said Sgt. Carl Gutberlet of the Police Command Post at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Gutberlet said two players were taking practice throws near the first-base dugout when a ball struck Brown, who was in the second row.
Is it over yet?
Rush lead singer Geddy Lee sang a very slooooow version of "O, Canada," the Canadian national anthem. Was this revenge for the upside-down Canadian flag during last year's World Series?
Though "The Star-Spangled Banner" was recited and not sung, the crowd was equal to the challenge. When James Earl Jones got to the "O" in "O, say can you see?" fans shouted out the "O" that has become a Baltimore trademark.
The All-Star also crowd proved extremely light on its lungs. A thunderous ovation for Oriole Cal Ripken quickly changed to boos when New York Yankees third baseman Wade Boggs was introduced.
Orioles announcer Chuck Thompson performed beautifully during his introductions of the All-Stars -- except for one slip. He pronounced Detroit Tigers first baseman Cecil Fielder's first name as "see-sil" instead of Fielder's pronunciation, "seh-sil."
In the third inning, the Philadelphia Phillies' John Kruk had to duck a wild fastball from the Seattle Mariners' Randy Johnson that sailed several feet over Kruk's head. On Johnson's next pitch, Kruk's front foot was nearly in the dugout by the time the ball reached the plate. Kruk then struck out on a weak swing.