In Baltimore this afternoon, the Orioles and the Johns Hopkins Iacrosse team will play blocks apart. Hopkins officials are suggesting half-seriously that switching the sites of the two games - Bluejays to Memorial Stadium and Orioles to Homewood Field - would better serve Baltimore sport fans.
Obviously, it will not happen. But the lacrosse game - Cornell going for the college record of 34 straight victories - has the Hopkins campus buzzing. Hopkins has added 4,000 temporary stands to its 6,000-seat stadium.
A Hopkins official said the school will sell 12,000 tickets, including standing room, for the 2 p.m. match-up between the two undefeated teams, ranked one-two nationally.
"We could sell 30,000 seats if we had them," said Lee Horowitz, the assistant athletic director.
On the other end of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, at College Park, Maryland hosts Virginia and can clinch the Atlantic Coast Conference championship with a victory. A three-way tie between the Terrapines, Virginia and N.C. State looms if the Cavaliers hand Maryland its first loss of the season.
With the national championship now decided by a postseason tournament, regular-season play only serves to determine home-field advantage for the eight-team tournament's quarterfinals and semifinals. The site for the national championship game is predetermined; this year, it is set for May 27 at Rutgers.
So, Cornell will play this game for pride - its seniors have never lost at college game - and brigging rights over a national record. It also is the Big Red's only regular-season game with any of the other three perennial powers - Hopkins, Maryland and Navy.
And, for Hopkins, which ended the only other 33-game winning streak (Navy's, 1967), it is just another game, according to Bluejay Coach Henry Ciccarone.
"We still have to play Maryland and Navy," he said, "and, at this point, I'm not sure they aren't playing better lacrosse than Cornell. I'm just impressed by the way Maryland and Navy are running through people. Maryland is averaging 20 goals a game and Navy is 9-0 and crushing everybody.
"Even though Cornell is ranked No. 1, I'm not sure they're the best. That will all come out in the wash at the end of the season."
Cornell Coach Richie Moran will not argue that his team is not playing to its potential. The Big Red has been inconsistent, a factor he attributes to his unlimited substitutions in the early season. He does not foresee a problem Saturday, as he plans to have the regulars play most of the game.
The Terps do not expect that Cornell's top defense, rated in many quarters as the team's No. 1 asset, will revert to the form that allowed Dartmouth, a nonpower, to score 12 goals in one recent game.
"The team that gets the strongest goaltending, controls the ball best and clears well should win," Moran said.
Ciccarone agreed, and added that the edge in "unsettled plays," which are the equivalent of fast-break layups in basketball, will make a substantial difference.
Cornell should be favored by a goal or two. To which Ciccarone says:
"There's no decided edge. Both defenses match up well. They're considered to be stronger defensively, but I feel we're with them. Their goalkeeper is good, but I don't know if he's been tested yet. The midfields stack up similarly. The attacks are similar: each has one very good attackman and the other two stack up evenly.
"If there's any edge, Cornell has a 33-game winning streak, and they're coming in with a great deal of confidence."