Horses with no name no more


From a forbidden name to no name to a new name.

Baltimore's Canadian Football League franchise will complete an unusual evolution today, when owner Jim Speros christens the team.

What will the team be called? The top three choices, in order, appear to be Stallions, Mustangs and Steeds, each of which would be consistent with the team's horse-head logo.

Earlier this week, Stallions -- the second choice in a Sun readers poll last winter -- appeared to be the front-runner, even though the NFL owns the trademark rights to it. But in recent days, Speros reportedly has been advised against using the name, in order to avoid another fight with the NFL.

Last year, Speros said he spent roughly $570,000 in an unsuccessful legal battle with the NFL over the team's use of Colts.

"It's a matter of whether we want to put ourselves in a position to deal with another injunction," said E. J. Narcise, the vice president of business operations. "I don't think Jim or the league wants that."

That could push Mustangs to the forefront. Steeds is considered to be an outside shot.

Today's announcement will complete a reversal by Speros, who decided in December to call the team the Baltimore Football Club. Before Baltimore's first exhibition game three weeks ago, Speros hinted that he might give the team a nickname after the 1995 season. Then, a week later, during the team's second preseason game in Miami, Speros announced that he would come up with a nickname the day before their home opener.

Today, the suspense ends.

"We knew it was going to be an 11th-hour decision, and we're still getting feedback from attorneys," Narcise said yesterday. "Jim said he is just going to sleep on it tonight and move on it in the morning. He's got a tough call."

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