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When It Comes to Critiques, This Writer Is in the Ballpark

Donald Kaul of the Des Moines Register writes that Baltimore’s new baseball facility, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, has gotten more publicity than Yankee Stadium and Dyersville’s “Field of Dreams” rolled into one.

“It is, to hear various columnists, announcers and architectural critics tell it, baseball’s equivalent of Cher--something at once old and new, beautiful and funky, frivolous and down to earth,” Kaul writes.

He added that old ballparks tend to be over-romanticized.

“I grew up going to Briggs (now Tiger) Stadium in Detroit. It, too, is a nice place to watch a ballgame when you can see it. There are 52,000 seats in Briggs Stadium and 51,000 of them are behind posts. I know; I’ve sat in all of them.”

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Add Oriole Park: San Francisco Examiner columnist Art Spander has joined the chorus in approving of Baltimore’s new stadium.

“It’s wrought-iron sculpturing out of the Industrial Revolution and asymmetry out of Fenway Park and Ebbets Field. It’s angles and eccentricities and capacity crowds game after game. It’s a carnival with foul poles, a circus with fly balls.”

Peanuts and hot dogs, too.

Trivia time: Who was the first UCLA player to play for the Lakers?

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Field of Fools?: “My family is tired of me. But I feel like the guy in ‘Field of Dreams,’ who’s got this dream and it’s crazy but he’s going for it.

“My grandmother just shakes her head. It’s like, ‘What is this guy doing. He doesn’t have a job, yet he’s out there throwing this thing.’ ”

Baseball? No, it’s determined hammer thrower Ken Flax in a Track & Field News interview.

Ouch: A nickname from ESPN’s Chris Berman: Giant catcher Kirt (What’s That) Manwaring.

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And, a cloud of dust: Walt Garrison, a former Dallas Cowboy running back, reminiscing about a former teammate, quarterback Don Meredith:

“Don used to say, ‘If you need three yards, give the ball to Walt and he’ll get you the three yards. If you need 12 yards, give the ball to Walt and he’ll get you three yards.”

Touchy subject: Columnist Roy McHugh, writing in Executive Report, a business magazine: “A newspaper in Oregon no longer prints the nicknames of the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Redskins because Native Americans are offended by them.

“It occurs to a social critic I know that this raises questions about the San Diego Chargers (offensive to shopaholics with credit cards), the San Diego Padres (offensive to Catholics), the Portland Trail Blazers (disrespectful to the memory of Lewis and Clark), the Philadelphia 76ers (demeaning to the signers of the Declaration of Independence) and the Utah Jazz (a posthumous affront to Louis Armstrong).”

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King’s legacy: Betsy King established golf records in winning the recent Mazda LPGA championship. No player in any major championship, male, or female, ever has recorded four rounds of 68, or better, according to the LPGA.

Trivia answer: Walt Hazzard, who played three seasons for the Lakers starting in 1964-65.

Quotebook: Michael Jordan, asked if he is in danger of running out of room to store all his awards: “Never. I’ve always got room, even it means my wife has to move, or the kids have to go.”


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