WE CAN JUST HEAR one of those post-elec tion seat-of-the-pants analyses this fall, pointing to an exceptionally large voter turnout in Baltimore as "evidence of a strong referendum on Reaganomics." But as is so often the case on election day around the country, the big drawing card may well turn out to be not the Main Contest, but instead a controversial local question that is on the ballot. And there is one that is currently engaging the attention of church, state, media and our neighbors to the north--with more to it than meets the outside eye: namely, whether the Sunday games of the Baltimore Colts--are you ready--can begin at 1 p.m. instead of 2 p.m.
Now, that may seem trivial to some in the Land of the Redskin, where a football Sunday is one day- long municipal timeout, no matter what the hour of the kickoff. But as fans in any professional football region know, the most important player in the National Football League is television--spelled m-o- n-e-y--and the networks like their East Coast games to start at 1 p.m. That can't happen in Baltimore because the city has a blue law prohibiting Sunday baseball or football at Memorial Stadium before 2 p.m.
The administration of Mayor Schaefer has introduced a bill to change the time to 1 p.m. But because it involves the city charter, voter approval is necessary --and therein lies the controversy. The city clears those unwide streets around the stadium of all parked cars two hours before game time, which would be prime church time, just when worshipers seek to park their cars. Still other residents apparently are objecting to any morning disruptions of traffic by those heading to the stadium early for tickets.
According to the political grapevine, there is talk of compromise, of perhaps letting church-parkers and game-goers mix it up on the same streets. Still, however the mayor, council, voters, fans and Colts resolve this matter, blue laws--no matter what the color of a collar in any town--tend to become as outmoded as leather football helmets. In the meantime, we will be watching the polls for any more significant trends.