The King, The Crowd, The Deadline…

May 28, 2008 | Drew Forrester

Act I –

Let the debate begin.

The King is coming, but we have a lot of days and a lot of discussion before he’s finally crowned.

Over the next two-plus months, we’re going to look long and hard into Baltimore’s sports past and, along with you, determine which athlete in the last 50 years is Baltimore’s “sports King”.

Now, I’ll admit to having an advantage because I’ve been thinking about this since I loosely talked about the concept back in early April.  I’ve thought a lot about the candidates, the careers and the winner.

I’ll admit, when I first started talking about this, I had someone else winning the competition.  But, that’s only because I didn’t do enough research.  Once I looked back and truly evaluated the career accomplishments of XXXXXXX, it was very clear to me that he is Baltimore’s “sports King”. 

I know a lot of you have already made up your mind on who should win.  I will urge you to wait until we reveal the 28 players who are “in the field” (Thursday) and then the 4 write-in candidates (next week…after YOUR votes are counted).  Plus, you’ll need to see the brackets when they’re published next Tuesday night at The Angle Inn.  Once you’ve seen everyone who’s competing and you’ve done your research on the contenders, then you can make your choice. 

I took the better part of five days to decide who MY winner was once it was clear to me that this truly was a competition that a half-dozen (or more) guys COULD win.

A couple of notes, from my vantage point. 

This is ONLY an on-field evaluation.  That means great off-field contributors like Elrod Hendricks, Joe Washington and those of that ilk aren’t really serious contenders.  On-field is all that matters in this search for The King of Baltimore Sports.

To that end, you have to dismiss any off-field character issues.  Did a guy turn you down for an autograph one night after a game?  You shouldn’t hold that against him in this voting process.  Did a player run afoul of the law during his tenure in Baltimore?  If you’re voting the right way, that shouldn’t interfere with your opinion.  Did he leave Baltimore and finish his career elsewhere?  That shouldn’t matter either.

We’re trying to determine who was the best pro athlete in Baltimore pro sports history. 

Maybe he’s still playing?  Maybe he’s been out of the game for 30 years? 

It’s up to you. 

And everyone else who participates.

I’ll be talking more about it on Wednesday morning, of course.  Thursday morning, we’ll unveil the 28 players who are “in the field” and we’ll have all day Thursday and Friday to dissect those names and take your positive and negative feedback.

If you hear the 28 names on Thursday and you think we left someone out, there’s good news for you.  He can still get in, via the write-in process, which starts next Monday, June 2nd.

Act II –

Where is everyone tonight?

My spies at the ballpark are telling me there are about 18,000 live humans in the stadium (and to expect an announced crowd of around 24,550).

What the hell’s going on?

Back in April and early May when family and friends were gathering at OPACY, all I kept hearing about was “bad opponents”, “lousy weather” and “jury’s still out on the team” as reasons for the dismal crowds.

Let’s do this together:

Weather…not an issue tonight.  Might actually be the BEST day/night of the season so far.  Couldn’t be more pleasant than it is this evening.

Weather excuse won’t work.

Opponent…not an issue tonight.  It’s the Yankees.  Side note:  Boy, do they stink.  Yeah, they might win tonight, but that’s only because Burres is worse than Ian Kennedy.  Make no mistake about it, though, this isn’t your Dad’s Yankees.  I have more reliable pitchers in my kitchen cabinet than New York has…and once things get handed over to their bullpen, it’s a coin flip.  As I write this, Melvin Mora has just homered off of Paul Orndorff or Greg The Hammer Valentine or some cat who can’t throw a strike for New York.  It’s now 8-6 and I’d almost take the O’s right now if I could lay a bet down on the game.  The Yankees are not very good.  I’m all broken up about it, too!  lol

Still, though, they ARE the Yankees and they ARE a draw.  But not tonight…not in Baltimore.  Not on $8 ticket night.

O’s on the field…not an issue.  They’re a surprising 25-25, seem to stay in every game even on nights like tonight when Dave Trembley falls asleep in the 5th inning and forgets to take out the pitcher when he’s getting pounded and, for the most part, they’re exciting to watch.

So, why isn’t anyone out there tonight to watch it?

Side note #2 – The O’s have hit three HR’s in the 5th inning, the game is tied 8-8, and, the YES Network announcers are saying Dave Righetti is coming in to pitch for New York.  Man, they really stink.

Act III –

The clock is ticking on the uniform deadline decision.

This Saturday, May 31, it’s “put up or shut up” for another year.

Will the O’s do the right thing and restore the word BALTIMORE to the team’s away jerseys for the ’09 campaign?

I’m guessing NO, naturally, but a deadline is a deadline, which means they could shock the world and actually make the right decision this time around.

Have you ever seen pigs fly?

I think you know the punch line.