CFL unveils schedule Speros' ticket hopes rise


The long wait is over. And the owner of Baltimore's Canadian Football League franchise hopes the same goes for the lag in season-ticket renewals.

The league finally released its 1995 schedule yesterday, ending a lengthy delay brought on by the uncertain status of the Las Vegas Posse, which disbanded after failed attempts to relocate.

The schedule was supposed to be unveiled in time for Monday's news conference at Memorial Stadium, when the Baltimore Football Club introduced new place-kicker Carlos Huerta. But owner Jim Speros found out it would take another day, and more patience.

"We're about a month behind," he said, "but I'm very happy that we got one."

Speros said that 40 percent of last year's season-ticket holders have not renewed, but that yesterday's announcement should generate more activity.

The team will play two exhibition games before opening the regular season June 30 at British Columbia, which defeated Baltimore in last year's Grey Cup, 26-23, on a field goal with no time left.

Among the home games will be an Oct. 21 date with B.C. and a July 22 game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 14-12 losers to Baltimore in the Eastern Division final. The last time they were here, in Week 17, Baltimore won, 57-10.

Most appealing to Speros is that seven of the last 10 games are at home.

"We wanted fall football here," Speros said. "We wanted most of the home games in September and October, and we were very fortunate. Coach [Don] Matthews likes this because you'd rather be peaking in the second half of the season, and I wanted to assure him we could be in front of our crowd."

Baltimore will have a four-game road trip that will begin July 29 in Birmingham and continue through Edmonton (Aug. 2), Calgary (Aug. 6) and San Antonio (Aug. 12).

"Everybody wanted Baltimore. Television -- CBC, TSN, ESPN -- and the Canadian teams, everybody wanted Baltimore to come to their venue," Speros said. "We're making some long trips because we feel it's important to promote the league."

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