Suns owners may bring L.A. to Hagerstown

December 10, 2002|by TIM ROWLAND

Here's something for the cloud-seeder types to chew on over the winter: A flashy Los Angeles entertainment syndicate just up and "out of the blue" purchases the Hagerstown Suns.

Maybe somebody else understands this, but I sure don't. And if I know the Hagers-town conspiracy community, they will be able to take this baseball and run with it.

Let's see:

  • A major casino player just in the past couple of weeks comes to Maryland and meets with state lawmakers to discuss slot machines.

  • Then the Mandalay Sports Entertainment conglomerate buys the Suns.

  • Mandalay is an L.A. company with a lot of film, book and sports interests, including a minor league ball team in Las Vegas.

  • Vegas has casinos.

  • In fact, there is a Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Sin City.

  • Mandalay Sports, however, says it has no connection to Mandalay casino.

  • But I'll overlook that, since it would ruin what is otherwise a perfectly good conspiracy theory.

Besides, I really, really, really would like to see a grand, all-new "Hagerstown Resort, Casino and Token Sporting Activity" complex located downtown.


Wouldn't that make them forget the hospital in a heartbeat.

"Huh, what's that Jim? You're leaving? Oh - OK, yeah, yeah, sorry to see you go and all, now BRING ON THE SHOW GIRLS!!"

No, sorry, this just doesn't compute.

L.A. is the flashiest of the flashy, the swankiest of the swank, the hippest of the hip, the augmentedest of the augmented - and now you're telling me they have a burr in their thong to be in Hagerstown? Our Hagerstown? I mean, have they seen this place?

Outside of some letters beginning with H, Hagerstown is about as far from Hollywood as - well, as Hagerstown is from Hollywood.

I can't wait to see how the two cultures mix. It certainly will create an interesting bar scene, no question about that. Some Ninja-clad Sprocket with a black beret and tiny yellow specs will sidle up to a local girl in between sets and use some pick-up line like:

"Undoubtedly man, I thought the video installation and performance by Crevice worked swimmingly, don't you? And the mixing of the images meshed SO nicely with the minimal techno, the way they rhythmically, like, manipulated the projections in time with the music."

Hagerstown chick will look at him and say: "Vince Gill did what now?"

I'm not knocking the Mandalay-Suns deal, not at all. It's kind of flattering, really. I mean, it wasn't as if the Suns had a Century 21 sign outside of Municipal Stadium.

Mandalay called Suns owner Andy Rayburn unsolicited and asked to buy the team. Maybe it's this alien feeling of actually being wanted by someone that leaves me so befuddled.

And if Mandalay keeps the Suns here, I can't see how it will be anything but good. In my time, the Suns have always been owned by individuals for whom owning a baseball team was sort of a hobby or a dream-come-true fantasy.

Nice guys, but not with the deep pockets or high-level promotional resources that a true entertainment conglomerate brings to the table. Do we even dare hope that Mandalay might do something totally nuts - like build its own stadium itself without relying on all of our public-office-holding officials to pass a ... uh-oh.

You don't suppose that's it, do you? That word has gotten out? Gotten out about the, uh, entertainment value of our state and local politicians?

Before you guys at Mandalay start getting any bright ideas, I want you to know that they're mine, and I claim exclusive rights. If I see the Annapolis delegation propped up on stage at a Suns game as some sort of seventh-inning comedy lounge act, I am going to consider it a personal infringement of my livelihood.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or you may e-mail him at

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