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A Repechage for Baltimore? Starry-Eyed Colt Fans Gone

From Mike Littwin in the Baltimore Sun: “It was five years ago next Tuesday that Baltimore changed forever. On March 28, 1984, the moving trucks moved in by cover of night and stole away with a football team and a city’s soul.

“The Colts have come and gone; Baltimore lost the never-quite-Baltimore Cardinals before it ever had them, and the city remains in a limbo of expansion dreams that may never come true.

“So, now when Baltimore hears that they’re talking about bringing an exhibition game to soon-to-be-antiquated Memorial Stadium this summer, the fans are not sure how to take the news.

“Is this the NFL putting Baltimore on trial, when it seems as if it should be the other way around? Or is this game simply an opportunity, however brief, to see pro football in person again while, at the same time, taking a small step or two toward a new life in the NFL?

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“My guess is that Baltimore will embrace the contest, should it be played. In a sporting sense, Baltimore is a grown-up town, with no stars remaining in anybody’s eyes.”

Trivia time: Frank White, the Kansas City Royals’ second baseman, played in 150 games last season, did not make a fielding error and made only four throwing errors. But who won the Gold Glove?

Yes, it is English: The sport is irrelevant, the author unimportant, but could anything be more descriptive?

“Towards the end, as Wales with a grizzly, grinning cruelty continued to apply the sadistic, psychological thumbscrews on another wretched and inevitable England cock-up at Cardiff, you wondered if the Lions’ selectors up in the stand were themselves squirming in embarrassment and tearing up their team sheets for the summer’s tour of Australia.”

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For the unenlightened, that was the opening paragraph written by Frank Keating in the Manchester Guardian after England’s 12-9 loss to Wales in a rugby international at Cardiff last Saturday.

Makes Grantland Rice seem kind of pale, doesn’t it?

Is the TV Guide cover next?Before he was hospitalized with a possible kidney stone, the Charlotte Hornets’ Kelly Tripucka explained his success this season.

“There is no secret why I’m having a good year,” he said. “I’m simply getting more playing time. I’m like an old TV show that played for five years, went off the air and is now back for reruns.”

He’s not heavy, he’s my rower: Even before it is rowed, Saturday’s Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race in England has set a record of sorts.

No, not because the 135th clash between the universities will feature two female coxswains for the first time. This is something much, uh, lighter than that.

In the Cambridge boat will be Tony Backhouse, 19-year-old law student who will be the heaviest crew member in race history.

At 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds, Backhouse could scare the swans right off the Thames, to say nothing of Oxford.

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Maybe they can airbrush him out: The Chicago Cubs, trying to present an image of power, have a poster out called “The Wrigley Bomb Squad.” Seven players are pictured, including first baseman Mark Grace.

One problem: In 250 at-bats at Wrigley Field last year, Grace did not hit a home run.

There’s no comparison, Dick: After the Boston Celtics had run roughshod over the Indiana Pacers last week, Pacer Coach Dick Versace was left grasping for straws.

“We made some bad decisions, too many lack-of-concentration things,” he said. “You can’t beat anyone playing like that, not even the University of Illinois.”

Especially not the University of Illinois. The Fighting Illini are 29-4 and in the NCAA’s final 16. The Pacers, meanwhile, are propping up the NBA’s Central Division at 19-46.

Trivia answer: Although White led the American League with a .994 fielding percentage, he lost a close Gold Glove vote to the Seattle Mariners’ Harold Reynolds, who made 18 errors.

Quotebook: President Juan Antonio Samaranch of the International Olympic Committee on banned Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson: “I am sorry for the boy because I said many times the people that are really guilty are the people surrounding the athlete.”


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