Baltimore's major-leaguers . . .
Bob Irsay's midnight flee from Baltimore may now be the second biggest embarrassment to our city's sports history. When Paul Tagliabue and the 28 NFL owners put off choosing Baltimore as the second expansion city in favor of giving St. Louis more time to get its act together, he sent a message to the world that Baltimore is not a major-league city, and as long as a potentially better option exists, we never will be.
Their delay in choosing a second city in a prompt and efficient setting is a black mark for the NFL in Baltimore, and they may never be fully welcomed here, even if we are chosen in November. How long will we continue to support a league that has shown us time and time again that they are interested in money only, and not the civic pride that goes along with a professional football team.
I feel sorry for Herb Belgrad and the entire Maryland contingent that has worked so hard to help us realize what seems to be an unfulfilled dream. But as long as we have people like them on our side, we will always be a major-league city.
. . . have a right to be proud
I want to thank everyone, all of the residents of Baltimore, for the work and preparation that went into trying to get Baltimore chosen as an expansion city. You have given it your all in trying to persuade the commissioner and the NFL owners to give Baltimore a football team. I truly believe that with all of the work that has been put forth during the past five years, Baltimore will get a team -- if not an expansion franchise then an existing team. The proposal that was drafted and presented was second to none.
I want to thank everyone involved (Maryland Stadium Authority, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Gov. William Donald Schaefer, the two ownership groups and the people of Baltimore). You really have instilled a positive attitude among the residents of our city.
A fan of NFL Not For Long
After the decisions (and non-decisions) of the owners with regard to expansion, it has become clear to me, as it has to many observers, that the expansion process has been a sham from the beginning. The selection of the debt-laden Charlotte ownership group (spearheaded by the head of Denny's, known as one of the last bastions of racial discrimination) as a unanimous choice shows that the involvement of other cities in the process was no more than a means of sweetening the pot for the current owners who had already made up their minds.
Furthermore, the decision to delay the selection of the second franchise is an obvious effort to give St. Louis a chance to get its act together. This is a further indication that the league had its collective mind made up to choose St. Louis before the process even started.
Had the league stuck by the criteria and the deadlines it originally laid out and had the league entered the expansion process in good faith, with an open mind, Baltimore would have been a clear favorite for expansion. As you know, Baltimore has two very stable ownership groups; public funding waiting for a new stadium (You have seen our baseball stadium and its attendance, haven't you?); obvious fan backing based on support for the Colts in the pre-Irsay years (he's not doing so well in Indianapolis, either) and on the sale of club seats and sky boxes; and a good television market. Instead, the league had its hidden criteria, geography and television markets.
Baltimore, Jacksonville and Memphis have clearly been used to the benefit of the current owners. I have been a fan of NFL football for as long as I can remember. I was born in Buffalo and was a fan of the great Bills teams in the '60s. My family moved to Baltimore in the late '60s, where I became an ardent Colts fan, even after Mr. Irsay took over the team.
When the Colts left town (while the other owners stood by pathetically and did nothing), I swallowed hard and became a strong Redskins fan. I can honestly say that after the arrogance with which the expansion process has been conducted, I am no longer a fan of the NFL. I will spend my winters concentrating on hockey, college football, basketball and looking forward to the baseball season. My only interest in the NFL will be in the outcome of the lawsuit that Baltimore, and perhaps Jacksonville and Memphis, will bring against the National Fraud League.
Stuart K. Adamson
Beware of carpetbagger play
Football in Baltimore is more than just a game. It is a heritage full of tradition and great civic pride. For now we must stay our course for an expansion franchise. If our efforts are unsuccessful and we look to existing franchises, we must guard against opportunistic ownership groups using Baltimore to coerce their existing markets into a free-for-all competition.
The Irsays and Bidwills have proven that new cities provide no substantial change in the quality of their products or their commitment to the community. To avoid being used for leverage or as an instant jackpot, Baltimore should require any existing franchise to change its name in exchange for a lease here. This will dissolve any linkage to another town and allow a new era with a heritage of its own to develop.
We have something positive and unique to offer at Camden Yards that no other city can match. Let's not give away our great civic pride and support to any would-be franchise-hopping carpetbagger.
With such a bilateral agreement, I feel we can forge a greater sense of community and likewise prevent a situation where we are just renting a franchise. Besides, who wants to be known as the Oakland/Los Angeles/Baltimore Raiders?
Thomas S. Wedge
Go for the Cal and Eddie show
I'd like to join the growing bandwagon of fans who want to bring Eddie Murray back to Baltimore. Murray should be called Mr. Consistency. Last year he had a .285 average, 27 home runs and 100 RBIs in 610 at-bats. He should get at least a two-year deal. Then, in 1995, Cal Ripken would break Lou Gehrig's record and Murray would get his 3,000th hit and 500th home run, which would put him in the company of Aaron and Mays.
Hardly an Olympian effort
Did you know that 1,543 Marylanders participated in a two-day event that received less space in The Sun than did fill-in accounts of inconsequential acts of people in other states or countries, such as a German baroness selling her possessions. Who really cared?
The Maryland Senior Olympics took place Oct. 8-9. The lack of any detailed report on your sports pages was a disgrace. When a friend called your paper attempting to obtain results, she was told that the data had not been sent to the paper. I thought that reporters obtained data and reported, but I guess I'm old-fashioned expecting them to do their jobs. More than 1,500 senior athletes and their families think The Sun fell on its face. I might note that The Sun will have another opportunity next year. I bet you could do better.
By the way, The Sun was not alone. The radio and TV stations are just as bad, but whoever thought that they knew news?
William Swift Boykin
A thrill for Schilling
Thanks to Ken Rosenthal for his recent column on former Oriole and 1993 National League Championship Series MVP Curt Schilling.
I, too, have a memory or two about Schilling. During the 1990 lockout, I spotted him in the Children's Hospital parking lot, sporting an earring, a rattail haircut, biker shorts and a leather jacket. I knew he was a little off-beat, but had lots of ability. I also had the feeling the conservative front-office types would run out of patience with him.
That Curt married a woman from Baltimore and has expressed a desire to pitch at Camden Yards has stayed with me. I was hoping he'd get his wish at the 1993 All-Star Game, but, alas, he wasn't chosen.
Maybe the Orioles could make his dream come true by choosing the Phillies as the team they play at Camden Yards before Opening Day 1994. It would give us fans who rooted for Curt and the Phillies a chance to salute them.
If the Orioles' brass has learned anything from the Curt Schilling experience, it is not to give up on a talented young pitcher who's still a little rough around the edges. He could turn out to be a diamond, waiting for his chance to shine.
Hetty C. Haden
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