With the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals set to open a 3 game series tonight at Nationals Park, it made sense that the Baltimore Sun (an official media partner of the Baltimore Orioles) would dedicate a large chunk of today’s sports coverage to the relationship between the O’s, Nats and MASN; and how this series impacts all of the parties involved.
In a story written by Jeff Barker today, Orioles owner Peter Angelos stated that the early season excitement surrounding the Washington Nationals is “a very good thing” for the Orioles, due to their relationship via MASN. But then he went on to say something that was particularly strange…
“I’m sure the Washington team will continue to improve, and I made the side comment that I’m hoping the Orioles will get their act together”
Let me set some background here before I fully address Angelos’ comment.
I have stated that I intend to make it down to DC this weekend to see the “Battle of the Beltways” series at some point, as I enjoy the high school football-esque nature of the rivalry. I attended the Sunday game at Nats Park a season ago, and really enjoyed sitting in a stadium with 20,000 fans of one team and 20,000 fans of another team.
With the Nationals improving and the Orioles struggling, some Birds fans in the District of Columbia and Maryland suburbs have appeared at least willing to give the Nationals a try. The excitement surrounding the Nationals is hard to ignore. Despite their recent slide that has left them at .500 entering the weekend series, they have arguably exceeded expectations early on with a balanced lineup and fairly solid pitching; and have sparked their fanbase with the call-up of Drew Storen and impending debut of phenom Stephen Strasburg.
It’s quite possibly more uncomfortable for me to admit than it is for any other Orioles fan in the world due to my well-known dislike for all things Washington-related (thank God the Redskins are still an embarrassment), but the Nationals are quickly becoming exactly what we had hoped the Orioles would.
Yet still, Stan Kasten told Drew Forrester today on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST that building interest “still comes down to us getting our job done.” This is the same Stan Kasten who during an appearance on 106.7 WJFK in Virginia just weeks ago addressed the lack of attendance early on this season by saying “when we do our job, they’ll (the fans) come out.”
Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail made some comments recently himself. Not in a radio appearance or in a forum where he could directly answer questions regarding the incredible struggles of his ballclub, but instead in a strange video posted by MLB.com that ended with a cryptic “keep the faith” message.
Of course, the video WAS posted before roughly 2,000 fans attended back to back games at Camden Yards this week against the Kansas City Royals, so maybe MacPhail really DIDN’T know that the “faith” was non-existent here in Charm City.
This is where we get back to Angelos. With the Orioles sitting at 13-29 and once again mired in a funk that has seen them drop 5 of their last 6 games, frustration is mounting in Baltimore. Even some who have sworn by Andy MacPhail’s “plan” have begun to admit that things aren’t going the way they should be. Instead of looking like a team that can compete in 2011, the Orioles again appear to be a team that has significantly more questions than answers.
With a long season still ahead of us and a crucial offseason looming, it would be nice to hear something reassuring from the organization. It would be nice to hear something along the lines of “we know this has failed, but we are determined to make the Orioles a winner. We are determined to make this organization one that the city can once more be proud of.”
It would be nice to NOT hear something along the lines of “I’m hoping the Orioles will get their act together.”
Peter Angelos is personally RESPONSIBLE for the Orioles “getting their act together.”
Andy MacPhail is as well, Dave Trembley is as well, Brian Matusz is as well, Adam Jones is as well, but Peter Angelos is the highest authority in the organization that needs to “get their act together.” Whether or not he’s at OPACY on a daily basis, he’s NOT an outsider. He can’t sit back and blame others.
He HAS to be accountable for the fact that the organization DOES desperately need to “get their act together.” He has to answer the tough questions, and he has to have those around him answer those similarly tough questions.
Stan Kasten’s team enters the weekend with a level of excitement and an even greater level of anticipation amongst a fanbase that appears to be slowly growing both inside the District and in the battleground areas in the state where the two franchises fight for support. Yet Stan Kasten has taken accountability for the organization’s struggles and hopes to continue to fix problems and win over fans.
I’m reminded of my time at 1060 KDUS in Phoenix, and my relationship with Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall. When the organization made a decision, Derrick Hall made himself available to us at all times, as he did with the D-Backs’ flagship station (620 KTAR) and the other sports station in town (910 KGME). When I killed the team for giving Eric Byrnes a 3 year, $30 million deal; Hall had no problem coming on our show and discussing the topic.
When the decision ultimately failed and Byrnes was designated for assignment earlier this year, Hall again made himself available to those who questioned the move, and was accountable for the failed decision. Heck, he even made himself available to me via Facebook when I wanted to remind him that I thought it was a mistake from Day 1.
Sometimes organizations make mistakes. The Orioles have made 13 years worth of mistakes. Organizations who hold themselves accountable for their mistakes tend to be able to make better decisions in the future.
Andy MacPhail wants the hundreds of us that still care to “keep the faith” and Peter Angelos hopes the team he owns will “get their act together.”
I just want them to tell me they’re going to fix it, and then do it. In the meantime, it would be nice for them to be understanding of why we DON’T have faith as a fanbase, and to work with us to bridge the gap.
A simple “it’s our fault and it’s unacceptable” would be really nice. Any form of accountability would do, frankly. Saying there’s no “suicide pact” with struggling hitters is nice, but accepting responsibility for the struggling hitters would be much more responsible.
I’ll say it again. It sucks to be an Orioles fan right now.