(Still) Better than the Monday paper (on a Tuesday): Apologizing to the Orioles…

February 08, 2011 | Drew Forrester

want to try and win games in 2011.  I have said for the better part of a month now that the Orioles are a .500 or better team this season.  I’ve always been able to separate the on-field stuff from their off-field stumbles.  The only problem?  The team hasn’t been any good for the last 13 years, so it’s all sort of run together.  But this season…the Orioles are going to be decent on the field.

And, just like I promised folks in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, I will applaud them – like I have this off-season – when I get the feeling they’re really trying to compete.

“When they try to win again, I’ll applaud their efforts,” I’ve said time and tmie again.

Well, they’re trying.  Their off-season has addressed some of their most glaring needs.  Would I have preferred Adam Dunn to Derrek Lee and Adrian Beltre to Mark Reynolds?  Sure.  But those two – Dunn and Beltre – were players at the $50 per-hand table.  The Orioles rarely get out of the seat at the quarter slot machine, let alone nervously stumble over to play with the big boys.  So losing out on Dunn and Beltre was expected, but I was pleased that Lee and Reynolds came into the picture.  And with the Guerrero signing this week, at a mark-up over the $4 million or so they wanted to pay him, I think it’s fair to say the Orioles are finally trying.

So I’ve applauded them over the last month, like I said I would.

Bryce wants me to apologize to the Orioles.

I say you have a better chance of seeing Albert Pujols in orange and black next season.

There’s no need for me to apologize.  The Orioles did everything to themselves.  They’ve chased their fan base away in droves, a good slice of that due to the fact that the club wasn’t winning enough games to keep everyone interested and some of which was due to the fact that the club fought with the fans during those years.

I never signed one bad baseball player in Baltimore or raised one ticket price.  I didn’t discourage folks from coming to the ballpark by charging more money on the day of the game.  I didn’t tell my star players “you can’t talk to the media unless we approve of what you’re saying.”

The Orioles did all of that.

Bryce from Park Heights and some others seem to conveniently forget that stuff.

I never forgot it.

I know the truth.  The truth is this: Had most of the media in our city been as appalled as I’ve been over the last 5 years or so, maybe it wouldn’t have taken so long for things to get back on the upswing.  With little or no media or fan pressure, the Orioles went about their business at their own pace, which included several years of payroll reduction, increased profits and stubborn public relations policies that widened the gap between the team and the community that has supported them so richly since 1954.

I think the Orioles are going to be better in 2011.

I’m not sure if that will translate to more people in the seats.  That remains to be seen.

But I know one thing I’m sure of:  I don’t owe them an apology.  They owe ME one.

And you, too.