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August 23, 2011

Stadium Stuttering

Roy Meachum

WHAG-TV’s Tim Wesolek first brought attention to the stuttering going on over the Harry Grove Stadium. In the latest episode of the confusing situation, Alderman Carol Krimm’s motion to declassify the meeting’s minutes received unanimous support from the board. Still the confusion lingers on.


Why – for heaven’s sake – are the names of the five-member selection committee still kept under wraps? The murkiness continues. I didn’t know the Frederick Keys’ lease was coming due. In Frederick News-Post reporter Blair Ames Friday article he mentioned Peter Kirk; I thought he was still involved with the team as he was in the beginning when former Mayor Ron Young brought professional baseball to town.


The disinterest in “America’s national pastime,” I try lamely to explain in terms of the New Orleans Pelicans’ lack of success. I watched the first Richard Nixon-John F. Kennedy televised presidential debate in a motel somewhere about the line between home and third bases, in my hometown. As I put it later, I slept on the property where so many Pelicans slept before. Moving to Washington – “First in war, first in peace and last in the American League” – was hardly an improvement. Over the years the Keys have done little to rekindle my enthusiasm.


That is to say, I care about Frederick’s franchise in the minor league, but not a lot. I’ve been to games. But my most memorable Harry Grove Stadium moment arrived when the United States Army Band called me back to narrate a patriotic piece; my old outfit and I were connected by Bette Delaplaine, the Frederick News-Post special events director. My continuing contact is when I drive my old car through that part of town – which might make me “usual” in the age when there are so many entertainment diversions.


As I said, if Tim hadn’t said something at July’s Barbara Fritchie breakfast for, I might have missed the stuttering entirely. He warned me a possible conflict of interest, knowing that the city’s board president pro tem is a friend. Alderman Karen Young, I introduced her to her husband, former mayor and now state Sen. Ron Young.


Tim’s immediate concern was the possibility of the appearance of conflict of interest; he didn’t level an accusation, being a reasonable, very intelligent and caring human being. I passed his concern along to Karen’s other half; I didn’t hear back, as I expected. Then comes Blair Ames’ front page story. I know everything Alderman Young said is completely correct and truthful. But I’m also reminded of the ancient saying that everyone connected with politics must be above even suspicion of conflict of interest.


The matter that sticks very much in my craw: The agreement to release none of the names of “the five-member selection committee charged with judging proposals from the Frederick Keys and Frederick Atlantic LLC.” The indirect competitor against his former franchise is the aforementioned Peter Kirk. Reporter Ames attributes to Alderman Krimm the hope for “transparency;” his story contradicts the hope, and his quotes attributed to Alderman Young dims all my prospects of simply understanding where my sole interest is my taxpayer’s money.


Mayoral assistant Josh Russin said all the identities would be revealed once the process is over. Meanwhile, the interested and the curious are told to “buzz off.”


The most fascinating dimension of the continuing rhubarb comes from an understanding that Mayor Randy McClement didn’t have to put voters through the wringer. I’m confused further when I read in Blair Ames’ article that the mayor endorses the further secrecy.




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