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Parasiliti: Stadium talk is epic remake of old drama

February 12, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI
  • Bob Parasiliti
Bob Parasiliti

Sometimes the world is nothing more than a hamster running on a wheel.

No matter how long it turns, it seems to come back around to the same place.

In fashion, old becoming new again is called retro. In music, it’s called a cover.

In movies, it’s a remake. How many flicks have been nothing more than loose interpretations of Cinderella already?

That’s Hagerstown in a nutshell. It is a constant retro-fitting, cover or remake of the same old problems made new — lack of jobs, lack of industry, decaying downtown and, yes, the Hagerstown Suns/stadium issue.

It is like a continuous looping of that cinematic masterpiece, Groundhog Day. That’s the film in which Bill Murray wakes up and repeats the same day over and over again and tries to figure out why.

In Hagerstown, it’s more like Ground Ball Day.

For the better part of 25 years, the city and the Suns have been locked in this docudrama/comedy concerning Municipal Stadium. It is an issue that is there day after day because neither side will make an ultimate decision.

Neither wants to be the villain in this feature.

So, here we are, it’s 2012 and the hamster wheel is bringing around another version of Ground Ball Day.

Local government officials and Suns ownership are once again playing that game of “Chicken,” looking to author their own version of a happy ending.

Ironically, this Saturday will mark 20 years since Hagerstown made a strong decision about the stadium and its relationship with the Suns.

 On Feb. 18, 1992, Hagerstown Mayor Steven T. Sager announced that a decision had been made to allow the Double A version of the Suns to leave town.

After a two-hour meeting with Suns officials, the final conclusion was that it was too expensive for the city to refurbish the stadium to the required levels needed to keep that team.

The decision was to let the Suns move and pursue a team on the Single A level, which would require less expensive improvements to the stadium.

It is all sounding rather familiar.

Today, the faces in the cast of characters for this version of Ground Ball Day have changed, but the roles remain the same.

* The Hagerstown Suns star in a real-life portrayal of the Hagerstown Suns.

* Robert E. Bruchey II takes the role of Sager, the Hagerstown mayor who wants what’s best for the city and would like to find that compromise to make everyone happy, but has his hands tied.

* Bruce Quinn stars as Peter Kirk, the out-of-town majority owner who spearheads the move to get an improved stadium situation or the OK to move the team.

* Winchester, Va., is playing the part of Bowie, Md., the Suns’ final destination should they leave.

* The Single A South Atlantic League is cast as the Double A Eastern League, playing the part of the girl everyone is fighting over.

* In an uncredited role, a mystery replacement team — likely a step down in classification in quality — plays the part of the South Atlantic League, providing Hagerstown an alternative for keeping baseball in town.

* A number of unidentified extras play bit parts as Hagerstown fans.

* And oh yes, Municipal Stadium is in the supporting actor role, playing itself, only older.

This whole saga has been playing out longer than Daniel Radcliffe has been alive and making Harry Potter sequels.

In Groundhog Day, Murray experienced a continuous run of Groundhog Days  until he finally figures out how to fix his problems and get the girl. Only then did his calendar advance and he lived happily ever after.

With any kind of luck, maybe Hagerstown could follow suit. After 25 years of this almost daily grind, maybe — just maybe — it can make a definitive decision about the Suns and the stadium issue — one way or another.

Then, and only then, will we ever get to see February 3.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at bobo@herald-mail.com

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