If there is anything better on the Fourth of July than spectacular fireworks, tangy barbecue and cold beer, It's a good baseball game.
About 150 fans showed up yesterday at the University of Maryland to cheer on Cissel-Saxon and College Park in a scheduled American Legion doubleheader that never got past the fifth inning of the first game.
Home plate umpire Bob Schultz called the game after waiting 25 minutes for rain to subside. College Park took the 4 1/2-inning decision, 4-2.
"It's a shame to have to call a game on the Fourth of July," Schultz said. "But I don't want to see a pitcher lose control of a wet, slippery baseball and possibly hit a batter and hurt him."
Schultz and Blaine "jackson, second base umpire said they would probably go home and relax the rest of the day. Jackson said he didn't mind being scheduled to work a doubleheader on a holiday.
"Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, those are the best two days to do ball games," Jackson said. "Baseball is part of July Fourth. That's when you get big crowds, good games and a lot of excitement," he added.
"You can't get gas to go to the beach," Schultz said. "You may as well ump a game instead of watching one on television."
However, not all the players shared the umpires' exuberance about playing on a holiday. "I'd rather be visiting a few girls, to tell the truth," said College Park outfiekder Rod Mason. "There's a lot of things we could be doing today."
A Mason teammate, shortstop Mark Emory said before the game, "I'd rather be having a few beers right now. I don't mind one game too much, but we just found out about the make-up game [from a previous rainout] last night."
Cissel-Saxon center fielder Mark Yochum said the older Fourth of July festivities could wait until after the game. "You can eat and drink all the time," he commented. "Let me play baseball right now."
So despite the light sprinkle that started with the game, yochum drove in a fourth-inning run with a sacrifice fly to left field for Cissel-Saxon.
College Park scored all of its runs in the third inning. Three bases on balls, a double and a two-run single by Emory turned the trick.
Cissel-Saxon scored again in the fifth but the rally was short-lived when catcher Jimmy Sinopoli was out on a close play at first. Sinopoli contended the College Park first baseman had pulled his foot off the bag too soon, but the decision stood.
Sinopoli's mother, Betty, supported her son's position. At the unpires walked through the stands during the rain delay, Mrs. Sinopoli told Schultz and Jackson, "I don't care what you said, Jimmy is still safe."
Mrs. Sinopoli said she is a veteran baseball fan and considers the national pastime a part of Independence Day. She leaves for San Juan, Puerto Rico, this week to watch another son, Pete, pitch for the U.S. baseball team in the Pan American Games. CAPTION: Picture, Fourth of July and baseball represent America and, despite the rain, American Legion teams opened the second half of their season yesterday. Hillcrest pitcher Tony Smith was beaten by Damascus, 10-3. By Joel Richardson The Washington Post