To everyone who contributed to ’96-’97 Orioles celebration: Thanks and No Thanks

July 23, 2011 | Peter Dilutis

We can even go beyond the past 14 seasons. At WNST’s B2B event Wednesday night at Crush, I had a lengthy baseball discussion with one of the few passionate O’s fans that are left in Baltimore. Rick Donovan of Enoch Office Equipment traded his stories that go back a few years with me, and I returned the favor with a younger perspective and some insights into the current team.

About halfway through the conversation, when we were finished talking about Cal Ripken, Rick leaned over and asked me something to the effect of “But you know who my favorite player of all time is, right?”

Without hesitation I said “Brooksie.” Rick smiled and nodded.

I never saw Brooks Robinson play. I just met him for the first time in April. But I don’t have to be in my 40’s or 50’s to know which Oriole warmed the hearts of O’s fans across the region. Brooks is seemingly everyone’s idol. People look at Brooks as what a baseball player today should be like. Humble. Hard-working. No ego. Plays for the fans. Believes in the fans. Respects the fans. Respects the game. I could write a blog with 50,000 adjectives from 50,000 different people describing Brooks Robinson, and they would unquestionably all be positive.

So why am I going down memory lane regarding Brooks Robinson?

Well, ask yourself, where has Brooks been? Where has Brooks Robinson been over the past 14 seasons? Where has he been since Angelos has owned the team?

We all know that Brooks and Peter Angelos haven’t seen eye to eye on whatever it is they had to see eye to eye on. It doesn’t seem very complicated to me. One of the best O’s of all time…a Hall of Famer…and he is barely seen around Camden Yards?

Don’t get me wrong, Brooks is older now and has been fighting some health issues of his own. This isn’t about 2011. This is about Brooks’ lack of relationship with the Orioles over the past decade.

From a Baltimore Sun column written in 2005 by John Eisenberg.

But another reason he doesn’t want any part of some ceremony is his relationship with the Orioles. It’s distant.

“I just kind of do what I do, and they do what they do,” he said. “I come to maybe four or five games a year. I know the players. I know the manager. I follow them. I pull for them. I feel bad when they lose. But that’s about it.”

And more…

But as far as a permanent relationship, Robinson said he has met with owner Peter Angelos several times in the past five or six years about a community-related role, but “we never worked anything out.” In fact, Robinson said, he never heard back from Angelos.

“I had talked to him, and I didn’t get any info back. That was that,” Robinson said. “I don’t want to put [Angelos] in a bad light. I just never got a response. I think they’re looking for someone who can be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I understand that. But I don’t have that kind of time, and I don’t have to do it.”