Soapbox, a derby full of good, clean views

June 14, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI


Big guy on the box.

Avid readers of this paper probably read the letter to the editor calling out yours truly for standing on a soapbox when it comes to certain issues.

The writer is probably correct. There are a few subjects I tend to get passionate about. Everyone does (i.e. his rebuttal) and opposite opinions are allowed and encouraged.

When standing on a soapbox, you have to expect dissenting views.

And while standing up there, there are three things to remember.

1. There is an entirely different view.

2. There is no harm done when conveying your opinions.

3. In most cases, soapbox standing is supposed to be thought-provoking and good, clean fun.

So, rub-a-dub-fore


Look out, here comes some more (with soapy subtitles).


After leading the South Atlantic League North Division almost exclusively for the first 10 weeks of the season, the Hagerstown Suns sit on the verge of being swept out of the title chase.

The Suns looked fantastic early - going 11-3 in the first two weeks against West Virginia and Lakewood, the bottom two teams in the division - but have started to show flaws late in the half.

Hagerstown has lost a number of games despite leading in the late innings and have suffered some defensive lapses in the middle infield. Both problems cost the Suns their healthy division lead. The offense also never grasped the concept of hitting left-handed pitching.

The Suns went as far as Dante Brinkley, Mike Carp and Grant Psomas carried them. When the trio was controlled by the opposition, the Suns struggled.

Still, the Mets organization put on a great show for the first half of the season, creating some interest in the team. And with a few band-aids, look for the Suns to put on a better - and more consistent - showing in the second half.


That's a noise which has been missing at Camden Yards lately.

The Baltimore Orioles have whipped up new excitement in the area, even though they never addressed their most glaring need in the off-season - a lack of pitching.

The Orioles have been slowed lately by injuries. It will be interesting to see how the pitching holds up in the second half of the season because of the number of young, untested arms being extended by the summer's heat and pennant-race pressure.

One question though: If the O's are so exciting and in first place, how come you see so many empty seats in the background during televised games?


Just a personal hooray and thank you to Rod Steiner as he steps down as Williamsport's baseball coach.

Steiner inherited a successful program and took it to another level. He worked to find ways to run Williamsport's field into a complex. He made the program important and accessible, just by offering free homemade programs with rosters and stats to fans.

In the middle of it all, Steiner remained calm, cool and collected through thick and thin. He was the picture of organization in the trying and unusual times of the 2004 season during the Nick Adenhart watch. He kept the media and scouts posted on Adenhart's progress and pitching dates in a circus of activity that hasn't been seen in this area for quite a long time.

But most of all, Steiner did it with class ... and that will be missed the most.

Tide or Coast

In this case, it's Tied, not Tide for Hagerstown.

It was reported over the weekend that Maryland's favorite son, Cal Ripken Jr., is backing a $24 million baseball complex to be built in Myrtle Beach.

It will be called the Ripken Experience, featuring six junior baseball fields, three regulation baseball fields and training fields with batting cages, pitching mounds and practice infields to be opened in 2006.

Back in 1992, Myrtle Beach said it didn't need baseball because it had all the tourist attractions it needed because of its famous beach property. It decided not to build a new stadium, which allowed Winston Blenckstone and the SAL to come to Hagerstown in a time when baseball was about to leave.

Since then, Myrtle Beach has built a new stadium to house a Carolina League team and now, even though it is not related, it will offer the Ripken Complex.

Such a complex - the Ripken school and stadium - would have been or could be a boon to Hagerstown, expecially if they are built in conjuction with each other.

The Ripken Experience would give a great training facility and drawing card for the area and youth baseball - an activity this area prides itself on - while the stadium issue would be solved.

One of the phobias about a new stadium is the chance the team might leave. You got to wonder, if they haven't left after playing for 25 years in Municipal Stadium, just maybe they have a reason to stay here. In the long run, this might be a facility that will make money if used in the right circumstances.

Yes, it would take money and financing. It would also take creativity and forward thinking. There are different ways to raise the needed money without taxing the current citizens.

So there it is. There's one more thing soapbox standers must remember.

You can't get in a lather when there is a shower of differing sentiment. It will all come out in the wash.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. 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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