Waiting for a sausage is a mental beating

July 15, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

Whew! I didn't think I was going to get this column in this week.

And before you run a personal updated version of those USA Network golf ads in your head (An alternate Tuesday without a Parasiliti column. Poor newspaper. Lucky you.), please cut some slack.

I could blame rain-induced, dog days of summer writer's block, but that would be too easy.

Truth be known, I just got out of the concession line I was standing in at the July 3 Suns game at Municipal Stadium. The hot dog was OK, but could someone tell me what was the score of the game?

It was a different angle for me. I don't usually think about eating when I'm covering the games, because following the Habitrails of humanity in quest of snacks and Thirsty Thursday liquid refreshment isn't part of the excitement of the game.


It does give one a lot of time to think and listen to the surroundings, though.

So, here is some of the thought processes of an idle mind.

  • Randall Simon received a three-game suspension for hitting a sausage mascot with a bat. Sammy Sosa got a seven-game suspension for hitting a ball with a corked bat. So, what would Simon's penalty have been if he hit a sausage with a corked bat?

  • Now that the Atlantic Coast Conference has expanded, the waiting game is on to see the new-and-improved Big East. The league's solutions for fighting back? Whining in court, jettisoning other longtime members and disbanding really makes a convincing statement of strength.

  • ACC needs another team to become a 12-team league and automatically get that all-important league championship football game. How about asking West Virginia into the mix? They already play two of the teams annually - Maryland and Virginia Tech - to spark rivalries and their team has a huge and loyal following to away games. Oh yeah, they have a basketball team, too.

  • This subject was one I planned to sidestep as long as possible this year.

That's mostly because the wounds I received from banging my head against the wall last year have just healed.

Standing in line from the second through fifth innings, it was one of the unfortunately rare arguments for a new or renovated stadium for the Suns.

That statement opens the door for every opponent to pull out their dissenting opinion.

Not only was it impossible to get through lines in a timely fashion, there wasn't any space for normal foot traffic to use. There was more congestion behind the Municipal Stadium grandstand than a blue light special for Martha Stewart beef jerky at Kmart.

Instead of enjoying the experience, many line-bound fans started talking amongst themselves, mentioning how they don't come to many games and this was the reason why. Talking about how they would like to see the game, but couldn't ... they couldn't even hear what was going on.

Some wondered aloud why something isn't done to fix the problem.

The game was a big deal for the Suns and the city ... and both have to share in the success and failure of each fan's experience.

The Suns staff did practically everything it could to make things run smoothly - and it would probably admit that it could have done a better job. In many cases, you can only do as well as the surrounding circumstances.

When the facility is antiquated, so is the service anyone can provide. Well-worn concession stands, bottom-toughening seats and an Etch-a-sketch scoreboard only provide a disservice to the people who frequent games. The Suns may not fill the stadium for every game, but name any entertainment facility in this area that can claim 100 percent occupancy.

Taking a slap at the Suns here is like taking a backhand to the city. If people leave a game, a festival, a carnival unhappy, they are unlikely to return.

That translates into missing dollars in the local economy. It's called tourism.

There is a Maryland radio campaign airing claiming that more than $8 billion comes into the state through tourism. The spokesman claims that influx of money creates jobs and stimulates the local economy.

The spokesman isn't the governor or any high-ranking official. It's someone more important and popular to Marylanders.

It's Cal Ripken Jr. So in this area, that should make the claims all the more believable.

I wonder if he was standing in line somewhere to come up with that revelation.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer at The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-531, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at

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