Decision disappoints Weinglass BALTIMORE GETS THE STALL


ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass had dazzled the national media with one-liners during an afternoon news conference yesterday.

But moments after the NFL had postponed a decision on Baltimore's expansion fate for another month, his one-liners weren't the funny kind.

"I'm very disappointed," said Weinglass, the clothing magnate who heads one of Baltimore's two ownership groups.

Hours earlier, he had zinged St. Louis with a reference to its passion for baseball. "When I think of St. Louis, I think of Ozzie Smith," he said.

By the end of the night, he was reduced to terse replies about the St. Louis effort.

Asked if he thought the extra time gave St. Louis an advantage, he said, "Certainly."

Does the delay help Baltimore?

"I don't think so."

Weinglass said he was surprised the owners did not try to break the impasse over the second expansion team when the league meetings continue today.

"When they told us, it came up -- 'Why can't we wait till tomorrow or the next day?' " he said. "Just knowing the owners, they couldn't reach an agreement.

"I'm not as optimistic as I was."

Baltimore officials reacted differently to the news that their dogged pursuit of an NFL expansion team would run another month.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke leaned on a sports cliche. "It's not over till it's over," he said. "I know there will be a little bit of a letdown for people back home, but we'll remain optimistic.

"You can read it a lot of different ways. We made such a powerful presentation, I thought it would carry the day."

Florida businessman Malcolm Glazer, Baltimore's second ownership candidate, tried to put a positive spin on the latest delay.

"My immediate reaction? I would be happier if I knew tonight," he said. "If we have to wait 30 days, that's not the worst thing, either.

"I'm not that disappointed because Baltimore's still in it."

Glazer and Weinglass agreed on one point. Little more can be done to persuade the owners to pick Baltimore.

"We gave it our best shot," Glazer said.

Said Glazer's son Joel: "Through the whole course of this, we have been constant and steady. And we will remain constant to the end."

Asked whether there was anything else he could do between now and Nov. 30, Weinglass said: "No. We had a great package as a city and we had a great ownership package."

Weinglass said he will "hang in there" in the interim. "What's another five weeks?" he said with a shrug.

When Weinglass spotted Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman in the hotel lobby shortly after the late-night announcement, he said, "I was so sound financially. . . . Maybe you guys don't like me."

"I like you, Boogie," Braman said.

Meanwhile, Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, declined to comment as he was leaving the hotel to catch a charter flight back to Baltimore.

"I can't [talk], I've got a plane to catch in two minutes," he said as he walked through the revolving doors.

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