At the end of my interview with Brian Billick last night at Looney’s Pub in Bel Air, I was approached by a very stern, yet angry man who wanted to discuss FREE THE BIRDS with me.
He was ADAMANT that we should’ve walked out on the franchise one more time this season.
I wholeheartedly AGREED with him. We SHOULD have done a FREE THE BIRDS event at some point in the last two weeks! There’s NO doubt in my mind! But as I told him, it takes more than two angry people to create a stir and motivate people to understand the significance of baseball to this community and to downtown Baltimore.
My original date for FTB2 — selected when the schedule came out last winter — was Wednesday, Aug. 22. By now, you know that the Orioles surrendered 30 runs that night in the first game of a doubleheader. It was also the first game they played after Bill Hagy’s death. It was also the first game of Dave Trembley’s "permanent" (insert joke here) stay as manager of the Orioles.
When I put out the last "APB" for FTB2 (and I suppose you can thank Matt Wieters for buckling just before midnight on Aug. 15th, because if he didn’t sign there would have certainly been a rally), I was leaning toward doing the event last Tuesday (a cheap ticket night) vs. Tampa Bay. As you now know, the Orioles surrendered an 11-run inning that night en route to a 15-8 loss.
So apparently, this man at Looney’s last night — who was very polite yet very agitated — didn’t understand my position. So, today, I’d just like to clarify where I stand on the Orioles circa Sept. 2007.
I STILL THINK THIS ORGANIZATION AND OWNERSHIP GROUP IS A COMPLETE JOKE!
Matter of fact , I KNOW they are! Just look at the standings and look at the morale of the entire roster, if not the entire organization.
And despite the recent run of "bad luck" — must be Angelos’ black cat running along The Warehouse again — NOTHING about my thoughts or beliefs has EVER changed at ANY POINT.
I knew the Matt Wieters’ signing was a joke, simply a kid from the south who "blinked" and took the money, almost certainly against the advice of his agent, Scott Boras. I sincerely believe he’ll live to regret signing that deal, even if it made him wealthy in the short term and OBVIOUSLY, ANY of us would’ve taken the $6 million and lived with the decision.
BUT…nothing short of new ownership and a complete organizational overhaul — from marketing to community relations to player development to branding — will fix this bleeding pig of a franchise.
It’s just dreadful, night after night, to be from Baltimore and to be a baseball fan.
So, now football arrives and we had a completely purple bar last night in Bel Air and the head coach answered questions, signed autographs and sold "optimism" and "hope" — something the Orioles haven’t truly had in a decade.
And this offseason will provide no miracles for the Orioles, short of Angelos relinquishing his choke hold on the franchise and the hearts and souls of anyone who ever loved Brooks Robinson or Cal Ripken.
The free agent pool is nearly barren. (Let’s be honest, the best players wouldn’t come here anyway). Even the good guys on the team like Brian Roberts clearly don’t want to play baseball here anymore. Erik Bedard is obviously buying time until he can escape and go somewhere like New York or Boston, where he can win.
I’m always amused at how Angelos can sell "hope" to fools when there ISN’T any hope here. (Like the notion that Andy McPhail can actually "fix" this disaster!)
And how the fools and whores in the media who take his money can "sell" the concept of "hope" for him, only to backpeddle weeks later when the team is scuffling to stay out of last place (they’ve lost four in a row to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays THIS WEEK!!!!!)
So, you’re damned right, sir — we SHOULD have done a FREE THE BIRDS event last week — or the week before!
But I will not be a party to a walkout of a "handful" of people at OPACY and be laughed at by the "journalists" in the local media who don’t really give a damn about the city, or the community or the downtown business district, which is severely struggling with the demise of the Orioles and the lack of fan support on game nights.
I was ready to walk, yell, scream, run — whatever — to create some noise that we’re not going away.
But the truth? It’s gone and it’s probably gone forever. I now believe that!
I’ve given up for now because YOU have given up.
Free The Birds is DEAD!
I saw this once before, back in my childhood, and the Mayflower vans were the next step.
On to Cincinnati.