Mark my words — this weekend will…

August 13, 2007 | Drew Forrester

…stick with the O’s for a while.

And it will stick with them for a variety of reasons.

First, of course, they beat the Red Sox twice.  Well, I guess it would be fair to say they didn’t really beat the RED SOX twice…rather, Eric Gagne lost a couple of games for Boston.  Hey, they signed the guy…what’s the old saying?  “Caveat Emptor” — let the buyer beware.  I think Baby Ethan might throw harder than Gagne does now.  Wow…they thought he was going to get them over the top come playoff time?  “Holy-undependable, Batman”…how quickly Gagne has become a liability.

Anyway, those two wins – regardless of how they were achieved – were good for the O’s.  A 6-3 mark against the Yanks so far this season and a couple of triumphs over the best team in baseball are proof that “on any given day”, the Birds can compete.

But this weekend will stick with the Orioles for other reasons as well.

The post-game bitch sessions from Brian Roberts and Dave Trembley after Friday’s game showed that the engineers of the ON-FIELD product are taking notice of the OFF-FIELD efforts.  And they’re not happy about it.  Roberts and Trembley conveniently tried to blame the fans, of course, but in their heart of hearts, they both know who’s to blame.  And it’s NOT Baltimore baseball fans.

This weekend also represented a missed opportunity for the club to capitalize on the positive home-town P.R. that could have been generated with the announcement of a Matt Wieters signing.  Remember how the Yankees announced Clemens’ return this past May?

They waited until they had a home game…and then waited until the 7th inning…and then they allowed Roger to address the crowd.  The place went wild…fans appreciated the way the announcement was made…and everyone lived happily ever after.

The O’s should have ended this Wieters negotiation by Friday, had the kid in here on Saturday and did a two-day “Wieters Dog and Pony Show” before sending him out 1-70 west to Frederick for the next four weeks.

They didn’t sign him, of course.  Now, IF they were talking to the media (and telling the truth), you’d hear words like “slotting” and “embargos” and “protocol” from the O’s brass.  They’d want to convince you that they have to follow a certain set of strict rules in signing Wieters and announcing it.  Actually, the league generally approves EVERY announcement a team wants to make with regard to their draft pick…they just want to make sure the contract falls within the parameters of the standard player agreement so that no one player (particularly a rookie) gets to shape his agreement in a manner that might upset the standardization of the rookie contract.  Every agent wants HIS player to be the special-case guy…the player who gets the guaranteed September call-up…or the whopping signing bonus…etc.

They didn’t sign Wieters yet for only one reason:  Money.  Their inability to announce Wieters this weekend had nothing at all to do with slotting or protocol.  They didn’t announce his signing because they don’t yet have a deal and the deadline is August 15.

How sad is that?  Here’s a club with a payroll of $85 million this year and a TV network that generates about $96 million in revenue and another $50 million in ticket sales and they’re going to haggle over a million bucks with a kid who could help them turn their franchise around if he’s all he’s cracked up to be.  Boy, talking about getting your employment off to a good start, huh?  The kid wants to come to work and his employer would rather have him sit out in the lobby while they continue to review his resume.  Silly, if you ask me.

Lastly, I was galvanized by the Roberts-Trembley tissue-fest on Friday night.  And by the Orioles play over the weekend against an obviously superior Boston team.

I’m sure the team doesn’t care if I’m “re-energized”, but I am.  There are times when I find some of their blunders so puzzling that I laugh, then say, “why do I even care about that team anymore?”.  But, just when I’m thinking it might be time to give-up and NEVER again talk about their civic duty to the fans of Baltimore, or their responsibility to the fiscal growth of downtown Baltimore, or re-storing BALTIMORE to the road jerseys…something happens and I get red-bulled-up and say, “This is still a fight worth fighting…”

All I want is for the club to treat the fans the right way.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  Just show the fans of BALTIMORE that you appreciate them…it’s been a long time since that kind of respect was on display from the ballclub.

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