Coach Don Matthews gave the team the day off yesterday, which allowed the Baltimore Football Club its first breather since camp opened on May 27. It also allowed a handful of players to nurse some nagging injuries.
Quarterback Tracy Ham sat out Tuesday's afternoon practice with "general soreness."
Nose tackle Jearld Baylis (knee), defensive end Travis Jones (thigh), rush end Grant Carter (hip), wide receiver Jason Davis (hamstring) and fullback Peter Tuipulotu (hamstring) also sat out.
Tuipulotu aggravated his hamstring two days after he injured his ankle. Each of those days he wore a bandanna belonging to offensive lineman Keith Ballard, one of Tuipulotu's close friends. Ballard had off-season knee surgery, failed his physical, has not practiced and could be placed on the suspended list. He is strengthening the knee by working out at Towson State.
"I've never had trouble with my hamstring before. I figured it's got to be the bandanna," Tuipulotu said. "I felt like burning that bandanna. I just walked up to Ballard and told him to keep it. I think he's going to get rid of it."
Baltimore owner Jim Speros, reacting to the news that the Toronto Argonauts will be put up for sale, expects the team will find a buyer and stay in Toronto.
Interbrew, a Belgian brewer, has announced a $2.9 billion friendly takeover of beer and entertainment giant John Labatt Ltd. Interbrew said it plans to sell Labatt's non-beer operations, including the Argonauts, the Toronto Blue Jays and sports television network TSN, which purchased the Argonauts 16 months ago. TSN is a subsidiary of Labatt's.
"I've been reassured that Toronto will play all of their games and complete this season," Speros said. "Larry Smith [Canadian Football League commissioner] told me there is no threat of the team not having ownership. He thinks this is business as usual, ** and that local ownership is the goal. TSN has been talking to Toronto businessmen about buying the team. They don't want a corporate giant to run the team."
Smith did not return calls yesterday.
The new owner of the Argonauts would be the team's fifth since 1979. Since they won the Grey Cup in 1991 -- when Bruce McNall, Wayne Gretzky and the late John Candy purchased them -- the Argonauts have seen their average attendance shrink from 37,000 to 18,000. Last year's season-ticket base was only 7,300, and is up by only about 200 so far this year.
TSN paid $6.5 million for the team a year ago.
The National Football League is exploring the idea of expanding to Toronto, possibly as early as 1998.
Ringing in new year
The 1995 team will be introduced and players from last year's Eastern Division title team will receive their championship rings at the Greater Baltimore Committee/Baltimore Football Club kick-off luncheon June 15 at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor. Tickets are $35 for GBC members and $50 for non-members. For ticket information, call Sharon Cooper at (410) 727-2820.
Tickets to individual games are on sale. Call (410) 554-1040, 481-SEAT or purchase tickets at Memorial Stadium. . . . The team will practice on Memorial Stadium's new turf for the first time at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, as part of its Family Day. The event begins at 11 a.m., when children 16 and under can compete in field-goal kicking and passing contests and the 40-yard --. Players will be available for autographs.