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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Raving Mad Over Ravens' Stereotypes

September 02, 1998|MARK HEISLER

Responding to complaints, the Baltimore Ravens cut Dolores, the beehive-haired woman who appeared on the scoreboard of their new stadium, telling fans how to act in a stereotypical "Bawlmer" accent.

"No smokin' in the stands or baffrooms," said Dolores. "No throwin' nuttin' in the seats. . . . That ain't gonna happen," she said, smashing a pile of crabs with a mallet for emphasis.

When the segment was shown at an exhibition game, a chorus of boos went up.

"We're not going to run something that the fans are going to boo," said John Modell, entertainment director. "If they don't like it, then we're not going to run it. We had to run an announcement early on about fan behavior and we wanted to make a little light of it. . . . "

How was he to know what would offend Bawlmerans? Modell, like his father, Art, is from Cleveland.

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Trivia question: What does Raider Coach Jon Gruden have in common with former Raider coaches Mike White, Art Shell, Mike Shanahan, Tom Flores and John Madden?

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Mr. Salesman: The Sacramento Kings' Chris Webber has been dropped as an endorser by Fila, maker of athletic apparel, the Washington Post reported.

Webber was recently detained for marijuana possession in Puerto Rico. U.S. Customs officials said he paid a $500 fine and signed a statement acknowledging possessing the drug.

Webber's agent, Fallasha Erwin, says Webber's companion, a woman identified by customs as Shane Johnson, claimed possession of the marijuana and paid the fine.

Webber is running out of sneaker companies, having first signed with Nike. He has also been traded by the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards.

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Title defense: The Mark McGwire traveling circus arrived in moribund Miami this week, where the local baseball team could use a little excitement.

The Marlins were hoping for their most exciting night since last fall's Game 7 World Series victory. Alas, only 1,800 tickets were sold at the gate and only 36,584 watched McGwire go 0 for 3.

Before the game, the Cardinal dugout was surrounded by fans screaming for McGwire, while two lonely fans in teal stood by the Marlin dugout. McGwire signed autographs but walked away when fans tossed baseballs at him when he wasn't looking.

Nevertheless, some years one must take one's highlights wherever one finds them.

"This is probably, other than the ring ceremony, the biggest day of the season for our organization," Marlin Manager Jim Leyland said. "We haven't had a lot to cheer about."

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Ka-ching! With all the competition for sports programming, how hard it is it to cash in?

The Big 12 Conference, looking for a full-time commissioner, just signed a 10-year extension with Fox Sports Net to televise its football games, worth an additional $129 million.

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Ka-ching II: The University of North Texas, which three years ago struggled to find players to field a Division I-A team, has big plans for this season.

North Texas will make about $1.28 million from road games at Oklahoma, Arizona State, Texas A&M and Kansas, all of which the Eagles figure to lose in thumping fashion. But that kind of money figures to lead the nation.

"At least we know we're going to win something this year," said Allen Ward, the school's associate athletic director. "It's not the Heisman, but we'll take it."

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Trivia answer: It was the first NFL head coaching job for each.

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And finally: The Chicago Tribune's Bernie Lincicome, on Bobby Hull's denial of pro-Nazi, racist quotes attributed to him in a Moscow newspaper: "Through his attorney, Hull is outraged that a 'feckless and irresponsible reporter' would spread 'falsehoods' about him. It is harder to believe that Hull ever said 'feckless' or 'falsehoods,' than what he was said to have said."

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