Far removed from his former life as a Cleveland Browns center, Mike Baab is still a force to reckon with at the Ohio Scottish Games. At last year's outing, he came in second in the open amateur division, throwing a 16-pound sheaf 23 feet, heaving a 22-pound hammer nearly 88 feet, and nailing the caber competition with a straight-line toss. "I've finally learned to stop training like a football player and work like a track guy," Baab explains. "And my scores are still improving." So far this year, in his native Texas, he's won the masters divisions of the last three games he's entered. "I love fighting with the youngsters," says the 44-year-old. "[But] beatin' 'em is better." The best part, however, is wearing the requisite Scottish garb for the old-fashioned Highlander competition. "So, put on a kilt and have a brew to wash down some haggis," he advises. The games are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Lorain County Fairgrounds, 23000 Fairgrounds Road in Wellington. Admission is $13, $2 for kids; call 440-835-9794. -- Cris Glaser
Andy Avram knows all about long, slithery things. And the Lake Metroparks' interpretive naturalist is going to share some of that knowledge at Sunday's Snakes and Such program, where folks will get up close and personal with several scaly, legless reptiles. Like Squeeze, an Ohio black rat snake, which will greet visitors with a big ol' hug. The species is the largest around here and is "completely harmless, as far as venom is concerned," says Avram reassuringly. And while some snakes "get to be decent-sized," he says, "they're real docile pets. Big and friendly." In addition to an assortment of snakes, a bearded dragon lizard, a painted turtle, and a variety of frogs will be there too. It all happens from noon to 4 p.m. at Lake Metroparks' Penitentiary Glen Reservation, 8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road in Kirtland. Admission is free; call 440-256-1404. -- Lucy McKernan
Cleveland Metroparks kicks off its Tour de Necklace summer biking series Saturday with a jaunt through Portage County. "We don't ride hard," says naturalist Foster Brown, who leads the 35-mile trek. "We ride at a leisurely pace and have a good time." In addition to a lunchtime stop, Brown will occasionally halt cyclists to point out some of the local foliage and critters found along the path. "It really is a beautiful ride," he says. Cycling starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Garrettsville Public Library, 8213 High Street in Garrettsville. Admission is free, but registration is required; call 440-248-2326. -- Diane Sofranec
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