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Angelos says sky-high attendance doesn't mean big profits for O's

NOTEworthy Day:

Despite drawing 3,646,950 paid fans, the Orioles won't do much better than break even financially, according to team owner Peter Angelos. But he's ready to keep on spending. A player payroll of $50 million and a front-office force of 111, not to mention the scouting staff and minor-league managers and coaches, make it difficult to turn a heavy profit.

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Once before, an Orioles employee spat upon another human being when Earl Weaver, in a confrontation with sportswriter Chan Keith, splattered the front of his clothes, but the reporter never turned it into an issue. Anytime he has two strikes, Roberto Alomar, for obvious reasons, ought to be swinging.

Hopefully, the Ravens will continue to monitor the stadium sidelines and remove non-working personnel who somehow have access on game days and obscure the vision of front-row spectators. It was eight years ago when a highly respected scout, Al Kubski, then covering Southern California for the Kansas City Royals before joining the Atlanta Braves, insisted Brady Anderson had the power potential to be a leading home run hitter and not just a Punch-and-Judy leadoff man.

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Baltimore ought to be more imaginative than to call the end-zone seats at the north end of the stadium the "Birdcage" -- a contrived takeoff on the Dawg Pound in Cleveland. George Kimball of the Boston Herald says black and purple are natural colors for Vinny Testaverde to wear, considering the poundings he took in Cleveland and, before that, Tampa Bay.

A scout following the Orioles during the regular season wrote that Cal Ripken is a "step and a half slower," but his range in the playoffs contradicts such an assessment. If Angelos and Nick Mangione work some type of innovative partnership at WCBM, which has been talked about but not to any depth, it would immediately alter the radio dynamics of Baltimore and scatter the ratings. More batters are swinging from Port Arthur on 3 and 0 than ever before.

Paul Zwaska, the Orioles' groundskeeper, has cultivated the ivy beyond the center-field wall at Camden Yards to be within mere feet of the top of the barrier. A commendable quality that comes across in every Jon Miller broadcast is the listener knows he's not a shill for the hometown team, a characteristic that earns enormous credibility.

Now it's being said the $500,000 baseball Eddie Murray hit for home run No. 500 will be his call as to where it's put on display. C.R. Hook, the PA voice of the Delmarva Shorebirds, says attendance from Ocean City vacationers will increase even more now that the team is an Orioles affiliate.

The Orioles' designated hitters provided 45 home runs to the team total of 257, so when this fact is taken into consideration they didn't actually surpass the 1961 Yankees' mark of 240 since they were playing under rules where the pitcher became a batter. Some players on the PGA Tour complain too much attention is being given Tiger Woods, but that's professional jealousy spilling out of the locker room; the young man, a mere 20, is destined to dominate.

In a note, Sen. Paul Simon, pushing Kenny Washington for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, adds, "My first job as a reporter was covering sports for the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard. Sportswriters occasionally do go astray and end up in the U.S. Senate." Stump Mitchell has pumped life into Morgan State University football after more than a decade of down time.

How can two good men, the type of Harry Dalton in baseball and Jim Miller in football, be on the sidelines when the games are so in need of talented executives? In a PR coup, the Ravens have nine different reporters working their games on radio-TV, including pre and post, which tends to draw them into their camp and diminishes the voice of criticism, but the announcer they wanted the most they didn't get -- Gerry Sandusky, who wasn't available because of his WBAL-TV contract.

Those rubberized outfield warning tracks, such as found at Camden Yards, induce ground-rule doubles and detract from the game. Allowing reporters to eat free in major-league parks is declining because of the size of media, plus TV technicians, yet the Orioles continue the hospitality.

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Former University of Baltimore athletes gather to honor their erstwhile coach and athletic director, Don Newbery, with a testimonial at Liberatore's on Nov. 15. Jack McCormick, one of Patterson High's finest athletes, once signed by the Orioles, died at age 69. Eugene "Reds" Hubbe and Bill Gattus, remembered for carrying a huge sign around the Stadium at Colts games, were honored by Gene Cozy with a party at Millers Island and the crowd shouted "Gimme a 'C'" for old times' sake.

When it comes to an endorsement tie-in, the arrangement between the LPGA's Dottie Pepper and Dr Pepper is one of those natural agreements that brings elation to Madison Avenue. Now it can be told: One reason Roger Clemens had trouble pitching at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium is the mound was "doctored" to deliberately hamper his stride. Having to deal with George Steinbrenner is enough reason to vote Joe Torre Manager of the Year.

Players leaping into the stands after scoring touchdowns is literally a grandstand play, even if it does happen in the end zone, and should be outlawed by the NFL before a fan gets hurt in the scramble. The New York Mets found out that Alex Ochoa, traded for Bobby Bonilla last season, can't run, lacks the power they thought he had, and has defensive lapses, but can hit for average and throw -- a different description from what the Orioles were making him out to be.

Baltimorean Ron Swoboda, successful as a TV announcer in New Orleans, remembers Casey Stengel telling the Mets, "We're showing some progress, we took them into extra innings -- before losing again." And Lou Sleater, in a similar vein, recalls Zack Taylor reminding the St. Louis Browns, "Let's try to look good losing."

It's a good thing Maryland didn't play Navy this year. Baseball's Hall of Fame veterans' committee ought to consider Mickey Vernon, Nelson Fox and Gil Hodges, in that order. Why does the Ravens' logo, poorly conceived, resemble a set of antlers?

Baltimore County golf courses may undergo a revision with some pros moving to other locations. Upton Bell, the former Colts personnel director who brought professionalism to the New England Patriots as its general manager, is now a morning talk-show host in Worcester, Mass., and still sings his favorite song, "If I Had A Hammer," when there's a pause in the action.

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Ravens owner Art Modell would like to trim exhibitions from four to two, which makes sense, but why not do away with them in toto? And, after watching the CFL for two years, the NFL would do well to adopt some of its rules (but not all), which would add to spectator enjoyment and help the pace of the game but, of course, that would be admitting another league had something good. You're getting to be a "young old-timer" if you remember when Baltimore's pre-NBA team was called the Clippers, not to be confused with the hockey team of the same name.

Pub Date: 10/06/96


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