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O's foreign policy has familiar sound to it

October 08, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

When you get a little bit older you start to think about odd things.

But it's not entirely revolving around the size of a bald spot, the tightness of a belt or how everyone around you seems awful young nowadays.

No, it's more a case of how events have a habit of repeating themselves.

I'm not talking about Antietam Re-enactments. The events don't even have to be historic.

For example, two weeks ago the Baltimore Orioles announced they have made Ottawa their new Triple-A affiliate.

In this case, the Orioles are no different than many teams in baseball. Like NASCAR, the sport has its "silly season" of franchises shuffling around looking for a better place to have their minor league teams play.

The big story about the Orioles' move, though, came the week before when Minnesota signed a two-year agreement to move their Triple-A orginization to Rochester. That ended Baltimore's 42-year stint in the New York town - long considered a tradition because of the longevity.

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That made it big news on the baseball front. But, in this case, this move was not only slightly historic, it also brought parity - and parody - on some levels.

I was thinking about the day-after story that might have been reported on one of The Herald-Mail's little known, off-the-beaten-track wire services.

Of course, we didn't have room to run this in the paper, but I think it could have gone something like this:

Town dismayed over new franchise's arrival

By JACQUE STROP

Regional International Press

(Story also available in French ... translated for U.S. use)

OTTAWA (RIP) - Joce Smyth believed there was a purity about his baseball.

But his perspective of the le grand old game changed dramatically on Monday when it was announced the Baltimore Orioles will be replacing le Montreal Expos as le affiliation for the Ottawa Lynx, le Triple-A affiliate in the International League.

"Oh no," said Smyth. "I can't believe this. How can they do this to us.

"I don't know if I can renew my season tickets for next season. Why do I want to go to le park and watch all these le foreigners play in our sacred country?"

Smyth was one of many le Lynx fans who couldn't believe that the Montreal franchise took le Mayflower moving van and left town in the middle of the night. In its place, an American team is moving in.

"They le stink," said former fan Andre Champagne. "Le Oriole farm teams haven't been competitive for years. At least le Expos are good in the minors. They don't get bad until they get sent to le Majors.

"What to le Americans know about baseball anyhow. Sure, they invented le game, but they have a habit of messing it up with le strikes. This can't be good for baseball, Ottawa and the French-Canadians in general. I mean, look what they have done already with our dip sandwiches, fries and cuffs already."

Le biggest concern is about the players themselves.

"I don't want to spend moi time or moi francs watching these guys," Cinnamon Bonet said. "All the francs we spend at le stadium are just sent to America. Everyone knows their money is worth more than ours anyhow."

"At least when le Lynx were affiliated with the le Expos, we could follow le players after they left here and went to Montreal," said Pierre Rosa. "These le Orioles go back to American and we will never see them play again."

Some of the Orioles players who have played in the International League expressed some concerns about Jetform Park, calling it "a pain - at least for visiting players. The stadium in Rochester was nicer and newer."

That didn't sit well with Lynx fans.

"The next thing you know le team will want a new stadium," said Ottawa County Commissioner Rene Onemtee. "They think just because they have that fancy Le Camden Yards, they need something like that here. We will not fund anything like that ... the Lynx don't fill le stadium they have already."

Le resentment just seems to be building.

"I guess it could be worse," said Yvonne Odes. "We could have gotten le Devil Rays. But hey, if le Orioles don't like it here, they can always go back to le Hagerstown."

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 2310 or by e-mail at bobp@herald-mail.com

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