Suns shed light on a quarter-century of life

April 05, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

When it comes down to it, time has no seconds.

In sports, time is of the essence. It tells us when we are scheduled to play. Some games are governed by a running clock. It's the chronological stamp for when scoring happens.

And when time runs its course, the final outcome is decided.

In life, time is money and borrowed. It stands still, runs out and is on your side. It is the enjoyment of our lives, heals all wounds and is the mender of broken hearts.

But most of all, as much as time changes, it always has a habit of staying the same.

This week will mark the 25th year of Hagerstown Suns baseball - the silver anniversary of a time when the idea of a professional team was met with excitement. Former players and coaches reminisce about the electric atmosphere that saturated the town.


Meanwhile, the political and business captains were skeptical of the need to have a franchise in this area. Back in 1981, there were battles over the new team using 50-year-old Municipal Stadium, what the rent for using the facility would be and the need for any upgrades and improvements.

It was all happening in a time when the world was changing every minute.

Back in 1981, people were nervous because inflation was running at 10.2 percent and unemployment was at 7.1 percent while the average income was $19,074.

Back then, it was expensive to own a home ... it cost about $83,000. Stamps were 15 cents, but quickly jumped to 18 and 21 cents in the course of six months.

Gas prices climbed to $1.38 a gallon, while milk cost $2.22 for the same amount and you needed 90 cents for eggs to feed the family.

In 1981, Dan Rather took over for the retiring Walter Cronkite. Pope John Paul II was wounded in an assassination attempt, as was President Reagan. Sandra Day O'Connor was nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court.

It was a time when AIDS was identified and Nutrasweet was introduced. We tapped our toes with "Jessie's Girl" and "Bette Davis Eyes." We made stars out of "Stripes" and sailed "On Golden Pond."

The Philadelphia Eagles had just lost in the Super Bowl, while North Carolina was playing for the NCAA Tournament title, only to lose to another "I" team, Indiana.

Baseball was starting another season which would end with the New York Yankees losing the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers and rookie of the year Fernando Valenzuela.

Now, 25 years later, some of the names have stayed the same, as have the problems, only with more inflated numbers. Meanwhile, our entertainments and pastimes have become classics.

In the same time period, the Hagerstown Suns went through a number of changes while remaining virtually the same.

The team has had five owners, four affiliations, been in three leagues and two classifications (Single-A and Double-A), all while keeping one objective at one old place to play.

The games have gone on while political and business captains continued to discuss the need for a franchise in this area, while battles over the use of 75-year-old Municipal Stadium, its rent and the need for any upgrades and improvements remain on the table.

And in that time, the Suns have brought more than 3 million fans through the turnstiles, provided inexpensive entertainment and proven they want to be part of the Washington County family.

It's time to build the county's future around one of its cornerstones.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it."

Even in this day, it holds true. Only time will tell if 25 years of loyalty will stand the test of time for the Suns.

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

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