No, no, "several conversations and two breakfasts" worth of no -- head-to-head with the governor of Maryland -- Oriole owner Edward Bennett Williams will not sign a 15-year lease to field his baseball team in a refurbished Baltimore Memorial Stadium.
Not with the $22 million in improvements Gov. Harry Hughes will seek destined to benefit only the football Colts.
Williams, maybe-lame-duck Redskin president since taking over the American League champion Orioles, and Hughes "are in pretty good accord on this," a governor's spokesperson told The Washington Post yesterday.
So EBW holds the line on his famous open-ended commitment: The Birds stay in Baltimore as long as the people support them. . .
And while the Redskins hold the line (so far) on what have been top-of-the-line NFL ticket prices, the Colts kick up after the NFL's worst home attendance in 1979 by announcing a rise in prices for 1980. Inflation dictates, say the favored tenants who attracted 60 percent of Memorial Stadium football capacity last season, a new range of $8, $11, $12 and (mezzanine) $17 -- a $2 hike per seat ($20 for season tickets that include two exhibitions) . . .
Loosening-up time is about a month away, and Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn has assured 1980 Cactus League luncheon guests in Scottsville, Ariz., that despite hints of strike over lack of a new labor contract, "I don't think there's any disposition on anybody's part to interrupt spring training."
A lot baseball guys such as Jim Sundberg, the Texas Ranger catcher, worry about such bargaining nuts-and-bolts as basic wage scales, freedom of movement, etc. A la Al Hrabosky with Atlanta, Sundberg and Ranger owner Brad Corbett have all but settled n a $5 million contract, over 16 years, in which Sundy plays through 1986, then joins the club's broadcasts crew . . .
So there's big money in Texas and, then again, there isn't -- not for the Women's (Pro) Basketball League, which now could be folding, house of cards style. The Houston Angels, champs in WBL's first year (1978-79), are so broke they fell $8,800 (four games' worth) arrears in Hofheinz Pavilion rent, so had to postpone Saturday's upcoming game against the Dallas Diamonds. A few hours later, the Angels had to change "postponed" to "canceled" -- the Diamonds announced in Dallas that, $300,000 in the red, they are ceasing operations. At that, they lasted 18 games, almost twice as many as the Washington and Philadelphia franchises.
Bob Hayes' turn for parole from narcotics conviction approaches; in a week or so, Texas Gov. Bill Clements will decide on state board recommendations . . .
Still in Lone Star country: George Foreman -- that is, the Rev. Mr. Foreman, the born-again Christian with a big evangelistic punch since tossing in the boxing towel -- has been arrested for trespassing; that is, refusing to move a religious revival from a school parking lot in Tomball, Tex. The former champ, out on $28.50 bond, said he will plead innocent at Feb. 6 hearing because "it's not a crime to serve God." But if worse comes to worst, says the Rev. Mr. Foreman, well, "Jesus went to jail, too" . . .
The Philadelphia 76ers have eyes for Pete Maravich when the rusty (?) Pistol becomes an NBA free agent upon expiration of his 48-hour waiver period today. The Jazzman, league scoring leader as recently as 1976-77, would "have to change his style, but might be able to make a concrete contribution," Sixer Coach Billy Cunningham said.
One more revelation at U. of New Mexico, where the school president heads up an in-house investigation, and we quote the prexy, William Davis, as to what he has passed along to the U.S. attorney: "Evidence which suggests that at least one athlete and perhaps others received food stamps fraudulently through an arrangement which the athlete states was made by an employe of the athletic department." Food stamps. Strictly from hunger?