Lots of celebrities and well-tanned schmoozers got to attend Wednesday night's game and see Cal Ripken break Lou Gehrig's record. The skyboxes and lower box seats were full of the usual VIPs, players' wives and well-connected insta-fans. But among the glitterati was one Glenn Sheeler -- "a very simple man," says his wife, Barbara -- who got a choice seat in the lower boxes because Orioles owner Peter Angelos made it so.
Last April, Sheeler went to an emergency room with a terrible headache. It turned out to be a brain tumor -- a malignant and aggressive one. He spent a couple of months in Johns Hopkins and, during that time, underwent surgery by the fine hands of Dr. Rafael Tamargo. Now, Sheeler spends most of his days confined to bed at home in Sykesville.
Wednesday was his 45th birthday. His son, Chris, wanted to take him to the historic game. "He wanted to have a special memory with his father," says Barbara Sheeler. So Chris asked his roommate at College Park, Cory Ruppersberger, to ask his father, the Baltimore County executive, to make some calls. Dad Dutch did the deed. Angelos came through. Sheeler sat in a wheelchair behind home plate with his son at his side, Joan Jett and other VIPs not far off. Chris even captured a foul ball and gave it to his father. "He's been acting like a 10-year-old all day," Barbara Sheeler said yesterday at her husband's bedside. "Cal had said he wished everyone could feel what he felt during the last two days. Thanks to Mr. Angelos, I think Glenn had some of that feeling."
City police report 17 scalping arrests Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Camden Yards. I hear two of the scalpers had connections to a certain Oriole, too. Details to follow. Watch this space. . . . Take my word for it: The awesome Branford Marsalis-Bruce Hornsby take on the national anthem Wednesday night is going to be the hottest bootleg in Baltimore. . . . A quibble with the post-game ceremony: Cal just isn't a Waterford crystal kind of guy. That gift, stacked on top of all the others, added a layer of ostentatiousness we -- and probably humble Cal -- could have done without. . . . Brady Anderson should have written Peter Angelos' speech. . . . Earl Weaver looks more and more like Mel Torme all the time. . . . If you're nuts about numbers (and the paranormal), check this out: Take the numbers that correspond to the letters in Cal's first name -- C (the 3rd letter of the alphabet), A (1) and L (12). Jumbled a certain way, they make 2,131, his consecutive-game record. Then, if you take 12 and subtract 3, then subtract 1, you get 8, Cal's number. And, looked at sideways, 8 is the mathematical symbol for "infinity." Which means his playing days -- and the media coverage of it -- will never end. You heard it here first.
Blues, tattoos, stews
My official food taster, Joey Amalfitano, reports:
"Last Saturday, Maxine and I motored up 95 to Perryville, in Cecil County, and went to the Rendezvous Inn. We went up with Kitsy, my old boyhood chum, and his lady, Patti. Kitsy drives a Jaguar, and it was a pleasant trip. It's an interesting joint, the Rendezvous. They had a smokin' blues band called Wayne Dean. Their sound was great, and one of the musicians had tattoos all up both arms. Our barmaid had on a suggestive T-shirt about the proper way to eat crayfish. They had a great oyster stew there. The place was packed. . . . Then, on Monday, we went to the new Saigon Restaurant on Belair Road just up from Erdman Avenue. It was spooky -- that eatery in my old neighborhood and me having been in Vietnam and all. The Saigon is in a property that used to be the Mayfield Music Store, where my buddy Doug bought the first 45 of what is now one of the finest record collections in Maryland. Anyway, the spring rolls were magnificent, the Thai soup superb, and the Pho -- the traditional Vietnamese soup meal -- got my four stars. The place was spotless, friendly and a small Buddhist altar gave the restaurant a true sense of authenticity. And on every table there was a bottle of hot sauce -- Tuong Ot. At last I've found a thermal concoction that rivals my previous favorite hot sauce, Inner Beauty, from Costa Rica."
Hot sauce, hot times
Speaking of hot sauce, don't forget: Sept. 17 is the Feast of the Chili Goddess in West Baltimore. It's a day of obligation for hot sauce fanatics. Twelve bucks gets you into the 5th Annual Hot Sauce Festival, access to the Tex-Mex buffet at Mencken's Cultured Pearl and the serenades of Mambo Combo. Proceeds go to Viva House, the Catholic Worker project. If you make a good salsa or hot sauce, you might want to compete for one of the prizes. Tickets are on sale at the Pearl, Flamingo Flats, the Full Moon, Cafe Tattoo and Joe's Record Paradise.
Kurt Schmoke might sound like he's hot for Vera Hall to be the next City Council president, but keep an eye on this; we might see a little more distance between the two by Election Day. The theme of this primary could turn out to be: Every man for himself! . . . Interesting that Rep. Kweisi Mfume endorsed Lawrence Bell for council president and Jack Lapides for comptroller -- but a man of his wisdom and influence ought to say who the next mayor should be. . . . Yes, indeed. One hundred years from now, these words will still echo in Baltimore's collective memory: "Carl Stokes, where is your homework!?"