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Local baseball loses a legend

August 19, 2002|by MARK KELLER

Making up for lost time ...

-- With the passing of Reno Powell on Friday, Hagerstown became even less a baseball town than it could previously claim.

Though I didn't know Powell personally, I've encountered plenty of folks in baseball circles who did and I never heard anything but kind words about Powell.

Perhaps it's no coincidence that the same weekend he died, the two baseball organizations on which Powell made the biggest impact - the Hagerstown PONY League and the Hagerstown Braves - were playing in their biggest tournaments of the year.

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The PONY League stars were preparing for their opening game in the World Series, while the Braves played in the Maryland State Tournament on Saturday.

With so much wrong in baseball now, Powell was what was right with baseball in Hagerstown.

-- I don't want to downplay what Lisa Leslie accomplished in a WNBA game a couple weeks back. OK ... yes, I do want to downplay it.

She dunked a basketball, then celebrated as if she had won the lottery. (For now, we'll dismiss the fact that she was cherry-picking worse than Mario Lemieux ever did).

Leslie was the first woman to dunk in a professional game, which begs the question ... why hasn't Margo Dydek dunked? She's like 7-foot-2!

And this wasn't a Doctor J masterpiece by any stretch. Actually, it was a stretch. Leslie's arm was fully extended and just got the ball over the rim.

Still the most disturbing aspect of the "Leslie Lay-in" were the comments from Leslie after the fact.

"In boys," Leslie said, "it's ingrained in their heads that to dunk is just the highlight of basketball, whereas for girls. our shooting technique, making baskets and free throws is taught more. It's such a sexist approach to the sport sometime. Men aren't encouraging their little girls to work on their hops. They're encouraging them to work on their jump shots and the fundamentals of the game."

Maybe it's just me, but I'll take a player who works on their fundamentals - such as free throws and jump shots - any day over a player who might dunk for me once every five years.

-- Two more reasons I don't want to see a baseball strike.

First, my fantasy team is on a roll and I'd like to get into the playoffs.

Second, a full season might save my hair. The Orioles have nine games against Tampa Bay, Toronto and Texas before the strike date ... certainly not the three teams most likely to keep the O's under .500.

But after the strike date, there's six games with Anaheim, six with the Yankees and seven with the Red Sox.

Come on guys. What can I do to help you make a deal?

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