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Stadium still tireless classic

January 10, 2001

Stadium still tireless classic



Memo to all the good anti-stadium folks who said Hagerstown Suns owner Winston Blenckstone was just bluffing about selling the Class A baseball team:

Right as usual.

Just add it to the list, I guess. "The Suns are controlled by foreigners, the players earn millions of dollars, minor league baseball teams make small businessmen rich, Blenckstone is only threatening to sell the team to force the community to build a new stadium."

You would think after being proved wrong time after time that it would be a discouragement to them, but it is not. They only take it for encouragement and praise. In fact, the wronger they are, the louder they get.

Memo to new Suns owner Andy Rayburn: Don't take it personally. It's just sort of the way we are. If you join the new-stadium push we will have you irrefutably linked with the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Rand Corporation within the week.

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(Of course, if you actually ARE a member of the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Rand Corporation, please accept my heartfelt apologies.)

But really, we don't mean nothin'. It's just that baseball is not exactly our No. 1 sport. Our No. 1 sport is dissing anything that varies more than an eighth of an inch from the way things were done back in the '50s. It's sort of endearing, when you think about it. And all it takes is about two minutes of watching Sisqo's "Thong Song" video on MTV to realize that it does not behoove us to criticize the '50s about anything.

You will also no doubt hear something about our proud frugal temperate Germanic history of tradition. Some say that's sort of our quaint way of saying we're cheap, but it is not the truth. OK, you may be suspicious of this on your first trip here on game day when you peek into the stands and see an absence of paying fans.

Or on fireworks night, you will no doubt notice that many people won't pay to see the game, but will place lawn chairs out in the parking lot to see the fireworks display. This is not because we are tightwads, it is because of our proud frugal temperate Germanic history of tradition.

Speaking of code words, I noticed Mr. Rayburn called the old Municipal Stadium "classic."

Now would that be classic as in desirable, campy, retro-classic, or classic as in 1964 Frito-Lay delivery truck that's about to throw a rod classic?

It's like when the owner says he's behind the manager 110 percent. Half the time that's a sign the manager better be putting his house on the market.

It worries me just a little that the new owner is from Cleveland. On the upside, Cleveland already has a baseball team, but on the downside, maybe he's plotting revenge for Baltimore stealing the Browns. Maybe this is an Ohio conspiracy to filch all Maryland professional sports teams, starting at the bottom.

But of course, I welcome Andy Rayburn, as I think we all do - seeing as how he is not a Canadian or a trial lawyer. We have our prejudices, but they are firm and well-defined prejudices and as a general rule are nontransferable. So an all-American family man from the nation's heartland is likely to get a warm welcome and a fair shake.

Will he want a new stadium? Mr. Rayburn says he hasn't thought about it that much, which is like buying a car then saying you haven't thought about whether you want it to come with tires.

I'm sure he's thought about it plenty. Maybe a new stadium is irrelevant because he ultimately wants to move the team. Maybe he has a plan to build a new stadium here. Maybe he means it when he calls Municipal Stadium "classic" and wants to perpetuate the dying tradition of neighborhood ball.

Personally, I hope he wants the latter. Which, given my track record on wishes, probably means he wants anything but.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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