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Wandering herd Grey Cup champions: But governor's call on helping CFL Stallions is purely business.


WHATEVER THE OUTCOME of today's meeting between Gov. Parris Glendening and Jim Speros, owner of the Baltimore Stallions, the new champions of the Canadian Football League, this much can be said for Mr. Speros: He provided a well-timed emotional outlet for Baltimore after it was humiliated in the National Football League expansion pageant.

He promised a winner and delivered, with the first U.S. team to win Canada's fabled Grey Cup.

And, he created a product with true working-class appeal, like the Colts teams of yesteryear on which he tried to capitalize. That's a refreshing contrast to the shift in major league sports toward a well-to-do, white-collar, suburban audience. You can't take any of their achievements away from the CFL Stallions.

What the governor gives them is another story. Mr. Glendening offered Browns owner Art Modell a new stadium because he and others in state leadership have long agreed that an NFL franchise will more than recoup the investment both as a boost to the state's hospitality industry and as an added enticement for prospective businesses to relocate here.

As for the gypsy-like CFL, after two years this is what we know: In Baltimore, it has a hard-core following, but attendance dropped appreciably this year. Mr. Speros had to beg folks to buy tickets for a playoff game. Its merchandising and spinoff potential is meager.

We congratulate the players, coaches and management on a proud accomplishment in bringing home the Grey Cup from frigid Regina, Saskatchewan. The CFL Stallions represented Baltimore well, but given the business realities of professional sports these days, it may be time to seek greener pastures.

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