Landes, Suns go long way to serve community

April 18, 2004|by MARK KELLER

You have to give credit to Kurt Landes and the Hagerstown Suns. They're doing whatever they can to drum up interest in the team.

The Suns had their first three home games of the season rained out this week, including their first of 13 fireworks nights.

Landes kept a positive attitude - and showed a sense of humor about the situation - by renaming the team the Rain Drops for a day.


Following Saturday's 13-inning loss to Charleston (W.Va.), Landes and Suns radio announcers Jason Gordon and Jay Burnham made the short trip up Eastern Blvd. to National Little League to broadcast the season opener.

Landes has shown the past couple years he's willing to try just about anything if it will get people to come to the ballpark (remember the aborted Osama bin Laden bobblehead night?).

If it were me, I'd be getting a little tired of beating my head against the cinder block wall around old Municipal Stadium, but Landes is far from giving up or giving in to the perception that the Suns are not wanted in Hagerstown.

Not much has been mentioned publicly about a stadium in Hagerstown lately, although Frederick recently asked for $9 million in public money for renovations on Harry Grove Stadium - a park that was built 55 years after Municipal Stadium.

By the way, public money means tax money - your tax money to pay for a stadium in Frederick. And you said you wouldn't pay for a stadium.

That's not to say that the Suns aren't still seeking a new stadium. Anybody that lives in an old house long enough wants a new one eventually.

But what Landes is trying to do is to show the townspeople that he and the Suns want to be here and that they view themselves as part of the community - even if many in the community don't see it that way.

Sooner or later, something's got to give. And Landes looks like he's in it for the long haul, Hagerstown.

I'll end this week's column with my prediction on the NBA playoffs.

I won't be watching.

Sorry, I just cannot get into the NBA. Too many guys who make more in a day than I make in a year.

Of course, that's how it is with nearly any major pro athlete these days, no matter what league you're talking about.

Heck, Freddy Adu is only 14 years old and he's pulling down 500 grand a year.

Here's a question: Did Adu have to fill out a work permit before he could play?

Actually, one of the reasons I can't watch the NBA is because the playoffs last forever. And as much as I enjoy the NHL playoffs, I've begun to sour on that league's postseason, too.

No league should play a six-month regular season, then take another two months to decide a champion.

Some of the NBA's first-round matchups could last as long as 2 1/2 weeks. No thanks, I don't have that kind of patience.

Let's make the NBA and NHL playoffs the same as the NFL playoffs. One loss and you're out. We could have these things over by the end of April.

Then I'd like my pick to win the NBA championship: Memphis.

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