Tip of the hat to Testaverde, Navy's crew, Shula's steaks

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NOTEworthy Day:

Putting the knock on Vinny Testaverde seems to befit the mood of the day, but not from this department. He's a highly professional quarterback, who, if he has a weakness, it emanates from trying to do too much -- forcing passes, eluding the rush and attempting to make impossible plays after the protection has crumbled. If the Ravens give up on him, you can believe he'll go someplace else and be the second coming of Earl Morrall.

It's shocking to hear it'll take from $16 million to $20 million -- about three times what it took to build the facility -- for the demolition of Memorial Stadium, but some small amount of the cost might be recovered by selling the seats as souvenirs to all the sentimentalists among us. Home Team Sports is making subtle suggestions that John Lowenstein should be recalled as the Orioles' color announcer; he never should have gone on waivers in the first place. Ozzie Newsome, vice president of player personnel for the Ravens, is again a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist. It's out of his league, but Peter Angelos, who, up to now, doesn't have a vote, is so impressed with Cardinal William Keeler that he's told friends that the Baltimore prelate has the ecumenical and human capabilities to become the first American pope. Scott Mutryn, whose great-uncle, Chet, was a Baltimore Colts halfback, will be a senior quarterback at Boston College next season. Pat O'Brennan, sales executive at Flight Three recording studio, says the Orioles' Cal Ripken is as cooperative in doing radio-TV commercials as Brooks Robinson was, and there could be no higher compliment than that.

Has there ever been a more inspiring demonstration of sportsmanship than when the Navy crew, costing itself a contending position, stopped during a race in the Charles River Regatta earlier this fall to rescue a rival rower, Jeff Maples of the University of Wisconsin, who had fallen into the water? Three Baltimoreans -- Gene Corrigan, Jean Fugett and Tom Scott -- are members of the board of directors of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

Ken Boyer and Orlando Cepeda have been around for so long they'll move to the veterans' eligibility category for consideration by the Baseball Hall of Fame, but our selection would go to Mickey Vernon and then Larry Doby. The rosary Roberto Alomar wears around his neck was given to him by his mother. Announcer Jerry Coleman added to his extensive list of "Colemanisms" this past season when he told listeners, "There's nothing worse than calling a home run that's caught." For Athlete of the Year -- the Mexican Indian Cirildo Chacarito, age 52, who ran 100 miles wearing sandals, made from the sidewalls of old tires, in 19 1/2 hours.

Baltimore's Tina Barrett finished a commendable 21st on this season's LPGA money list, increasing her nine-year career earnings to $1,311,375. Former Evening Sun sports editor Bill Tanton is back kicking extra points after undergoing heart bypass surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Austin McCleary mentions what is too often forgotten -- the International League once carried a Double-A classification, along with the American Association and Pacific Coast League, until 1946 when they upgraded to Triple-A in a move to influence public perception. If you're wondering what he uses for a middle name, it's Integrity, so now you know, by his own admission, that it's Art Integrity Modell. Talk about a dynasty: Norwood Car Center, with player-coach George Kelch calling the shots, and making some, too, is going for its eighth straight Pasadena Senior Volleyball championship. Paul Baker's self-published book, "Moments In Time," covers Baltimore sports heroes from Vince Dundee to Muggsy Bogues, with personalized essay space for Al Kaline, Grant Hill and 37 other subjects.

It's not within our territory, but it's impressive to note that Don Shula's restaurant in Miami Lakes, Fla., has been ranked as the third-best steak house in the nation and, after visiting it to sample the fare, we're not surprised. Willie Wilson, a Scottish pro, once colorfully described the late Joyce Wethered, one of the leading women golfers of all time, by saying, "Why, mon, she could hit a ball 240 yards on the fly while standing barefoot on a cake of ice." Hall of Fame Colt Art Donovan turned down an offer to make a paid TV commercial encouraging fans to buy Ravens permanent seat licenses, explaining he wouldn't advocate any such practice that took advantage of the fans. Frank Foster, Al Ruppel, Jim Hampson and Tom Matte have formed a company called Tom Matte's All-Star Events, which supplies "name" athletes for golf, tennis, cruises, casino trips, marketing seminars and other such endeavors. Our Heisman Trophy votes went to Peyton Manning, Ryan Leaf and Randy Moss. Thrill-a-minute quarterback Doug Flutie, who was voted MVP of the Canadian Football League an unprecedented sixth time, grew up in Baltimore and in Manchester with Jim Palmer as his boyhood hero and still says 22 is his favorite jersey number, even if he's not always able to wear it as a pro quarterback.

Shoulder injuries received in a skiing mishap a year ago deprived former Gilman tackle Alex Mueller of any more football at Notre Dame, but his former high school teammate, center David Payne, continues to impress with the varsity. "General" Gil Griggs, who marshaled forces and pounded the drums in helping get Baltimore two new stadiums, is living in Bridgeport, W.Va., where he operates a collectible auctioneering house. Professional football players of yesteryear were often told by their coaches, when playing badly, that they resembled "dog meat," but there's no recollection of any player trying to punch out the coach for such a degrading insult. Washington State has the worst-looking uniforms in football, a dubious distinction the Ravens gave up when they upgraded for the current season. Jose Uscategui, once a slashing end at City College and, before that, yo-yo champion of Baltimore, calls his residence in Bogota the "Villa Baltimora" The Ravens, according to PR director Kevin Byrne, will open their Camden Yards stadium the weekend of Aug. 7 with an exhibition against the Chicago Bears.

Why do some of the present-day football players, along with their showboat dance routines, also signal a first down or point to where the penalty is to be imposed before the referee gives the official signal? When Bill Gavin, former Calvert Hall athlete, worked at the Baltimore Civic Center, which was renamed the Arena, he never missed a show or a game in 3,128 events, which makes him kind of a Cal Ripken among ushers. A return to wooden rackets in tennis and wooden clubs in golf would make both sports better to play and to watch, but it won't happen; by the way, professional baseball, if it adopted metal bats, would become a farce, and pitchers would be putting their lives on the line every time they made a pitch. Mel Kiper, the see-all, know-all BTC college football scout, almost gave up his personnel rating service to join the Baltimore Colts under general manager Ernie Accorsi in 1984, but before the move was finalized the franchise vanished into the night. You're getting to be a "young old-timer" if you remember Western Maryland College's Bill Shepherd leading the country in scoring before he went off to join the then NFL's Boston Braves.

Pub Date: 12/07/97

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