Baseball is as American as apple pie, assuming the pie is stuffed with ster-oids, amphetamines, and gold-digging groupies in addition to apples. But how American can baseball be at LaGrave Field, where the Stars and Stripes being tossed on the ground like dirty dishwater just ain’t no big deal?

Several women who work downtown had a few minutes to kill after lunch recently and drove by to take a gander at the Fort Worth Cats’ field. Lo and behold they were shocked to see two workers placing an American flag on the ground to fold it. The women hustled over to set them straight on flag protocol, but the men, both Hispanic, didn’t speak English. The women went to complain at the Cats’ office where, they reported, a staffer shrugged her shoulders as if to say, “Big whoop,” and walked off. Infuriated, the women called city hall and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram but weren’t satisfied by the lukewarm responses. Next, they called the Mighty Mouse of watchdog superheroes, yours truly.

“Here we come to save the day!” Static sang out in its best operatic bellow, snatching up a phone faster than a speeding bullet to call the Cats for an explanation.

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“I can look into it,” Sean Prendergast said. Then, silence. OK … nothing to add to that? “I can find out what happened and see that it doesn’t happen again,” he said with conviction. And his title? Intern.

Surrounded by interns as it is in the Weekly’s spacious (ha) new quarters these days, Static could only answer – All right! Prendergast is on the case! Problem solved!

HBO’s Hot (and Dirty) Air

When HBO invited North Texas reporters recently to a preview of a segment of Bryant Gumbel’s Real Sports program on the effects of pollution-induced asthma on young athletes, the Weekly sent one of those very interns to take a peek. After all, they don’t call North Texas “Brown Sky Country” for nothin’ these days. Why, we even have a local congressman aptly nicknamed “Smokey Joe” (as in Barton) because of his inordinant love and protection of smoke-belching cement plants and other industrial forms of life. And HBO has an office in Dallas – all they have to do on most mornings is walk out their door, breathe deeply, cough – and get the picture.

However, the segment talked only about young athletes who are keeling over in pollution-induced asthma attacks in Ohio and Maryland. Doesn’t HBO know that we in Tarrant and Dallas counties have as many teeny wheezers stumbling around the soccer fields and Little League parks as any Midwest or Northeast burg? Oh well, maybe we’ll make the sequel – Texas is planning to allow 15 more coal plants to discharge an additional 28,000 tons of noxious pollution per year in this part of the state. Our ticket to the big time!