When it comes to Memorial Stadium operations, Baltimore's CFL team apparently is staffed with quick learners.
The major complaint at the June 28 exhibition game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was that cars were backed up outside parking lots because there weren't enough attendants to collect money.
In response, for last night's regular-season opener against the Calgary Stampeders, the team more than doubled the attendants, from 32 to 70, and ran a shuttle from the Montebello lot, $1 each way.
Result? Only minor complaints. Fans unfamiliar with the custom of bumper-to-bumper parking in the days of the Colts were annoyed by that.
At one point, on the stadium's East lot, cars were backed up on 33rd Street, bringing a policemen scurrying in to reprimand the attendants directing drivers to their spots.
"Hey, can you move them faster?" he said.
Move them faster the attendants did, and within a few minutes 33rd Street was unclogged.
Rudolph Johnson, supervisor of the Venable lot on 33rd Street, said he had no serious problems last night or June 29, for that matter. He, too, had a few bumper-to-bumper complaints.
"In June we had three aisles and four sellers, when you really only need one per aisle," Johnson said. "This time we had seven, but didn't really need them all. Two people per aisle doesn't do any good."
Still, traffic on 33rd Street was slow before the game. Dozens of late-arriving cars were creeping toward auxiliary lots early in the first quarter before the street cleared.
Paul Blaber, the team's director of ticket operations, arrived at the stadium at 7 a.m. yesterday. By 9:30 there were about 60 people outside the six windows that weren't scheduled to open until 10. By 1 p.m., 1,000 tickets had been sold, adding to the 36,000 that had been sold as of Friday night. Another 1,000 were sold yesterday at other ticket outlets, for a total of 38,000 when the gates opened before game time.
"No problems, other than people asking for the best seats and jTC being surprised they were already sold," Blaber said.
Not all gates opened at the scheduled 5:30 time. E3 and W2 opened a half-hour late, creating lines of 40 or 50 fans who did not seem disgruntled.
Unlike June 29, when three were kept closed, this time all the gates were open. And starting at 6:45, all 30 tickets windows were open.