FREE THE BIRDS IS SET FOR MONDAY NIGHT!!!

September 18, 2007 | Nestor Aparicio

We’re doing FREE THE BIRDS 2 on Monday night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Which begs the question: Why?

Not to be coy, but WHY NOT?

Honestly, are they not worthy of protesting?

Do you think anything has gotten better in the last 12 months?

We’re gonna send out a text, send out emails to the more than 2,000 people who signed up on www.freethebirds.net, send out our newsletter to about 10,000 people and talk about it a little bit on the radio this week and hope that the internet and email folks spread the word a little bit.

This little website had 23,350 unique visitors last Tuesday and has been averaging about 15,000 people per day. This website had 1,177,950 hits last Tuesday. This website has had 103,431 unique visitors in the last seven days totaling 4,925,431 hits.

I think the word will get out…

Let’s be honest: we’ve got about five days to get the word out, which, honestly is probably all it will take. Everyone who WANTS to walk in, walk out, scream like hell, sport a FTB T-shirt, wear bags on their heads, etc., will know about Free The Birds 2 and the hastily arranged congregation on Monday downtown.

How many people will come?

Who cares!

Maybe a hundred? Maybe a thousand? Maybe, if people get inspired and the weather is right, enough to outdraw the few that will actually be going “sans” rally to see the game.

Honestly, I feel like I owe it to the all of the people who signed up on the website –those people who ARE as pissed as I am and want to express themselves!

If not now, when?

I will not be judging Free The Birds 2 on an “attendance” scoreboard. Nor will its success be based on how many people show up on Monday. And I don’t have any “theme” for this thing. There’s no “walkout” or “walk in” or specific rally cry.

I think this might end up being a night to just get all of the people who are pissed together in one place at one time at a ballgame just to see how many of us there are who still DO care!

Based on what I’m seeing and hearing, it might not be too many…but I assure you we’ll have a good time. We did last year!

Quite frankly, the interest in the Orioles is so low already that my expectations for Monday are quite tempered. I can’t blame you if you are one of those who say: “I don’t care any more!”

Well, that’s EXACTLY why I’m doing this again. Because you SHOULD care! I’m not going to expound – the last time I did that it turned into 19 chapters. Go back and read any or none of it. My feelings are quite expressive, extensive and eternal. 

And while I know it’s as easy to be “numb” now with the Orioles ineptitude/lunacy as it is to be drunk with the annual purple fall fever, I think it’s about time that there’s a re-awakening as to just how screwed we’ve all been by this Angelos regime of orange terror.

There’s a whole web site (www.freethebirds.net) and a book that accompany the reasons why the Orioles are important to Baltimore in so many ways and how the Angelos family has betrayed that civic trust.

On Thursday, it will have been 52 weeks since the Sept. 21, 2006 “Free The Birds” rally.

And what have we seen in the way of “improvements” in the Orioles organization over the past 12 months?

Here’s my “short” list:

•    The colossal embarrassment of Sam Perlozzo’s exit…

•    The two-month “non-existent” movement of new “poobah” Andy McPhail…(OK, we’ll “credit” him with Matt Wieters, but who’s fooling whom? They got lucky, really!)

•    The de-balling of Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette, who had “the organization heading in the right direction” just days before their departure…

•    The were swept at home by the Washington Nationals…

•    They’ve surrendered more memorable late-inning home runs than I can remember (A Rod, Big Papi, Wily Mo Pena) and had more bullpen arsonist implosions than in any year this side of 1988…

•    They’ve been no hit by a rookie…

•    They’ve given up 30 runs in a game…

•    They’ve given up an 11-run inning and another 18-run game…

•    They’ve had two nine-game losing streaks…

•    They’ve had a lunatic pitcher throw at an opposing team’s skull, only to further attempt to incite a riot…

•    The embarrassment of signing a new manager whose record is so bad since the signing, that I won’t even print it here. Oh, and there was that major league tantrum last week! (Poor Dave Trembley…I pity the bastards who have to work in this organization…I really do!)…

•    More lingering stench from the steroid fallout (see Jay Gibbons, etc.)…

•    “Real” crowds (meaning people actually in the stadium, not the fictional numbers they announce) are, again, at an all-time low for modern baseball in Baltimore…

•    The accompanying businesses in the downtown business district are once-again experiencing major financial losses due to the Orioles’ ineptitude…

•    More degrading lip-service public relations and “faux” marketing…

•    Another summer of Red Sox and Yankees fans taking over downtown Baltimore and disgracing our city’s sports fans (see any of the videos on wnsTV as Exhibit A through F!)

•    The team’s two star players – Brian Roberts and Miguel Tejada – have all but asked to be given a one-way ticket out of this hell hole…

•    The disgrace of having me fund his family’s Wayne’s World television network through my cable bill, which allegedly will “fund the betterment of the team on the field” sometime around 2021, or whenever they discover that high definition television actually exists…

•    Muting the free speech of legitimate media members by banning them from covering a team they’ve covered for more than 20 years (and you wonder if ANYTHING you’re reading from “inside” the press box can be trusted when Peter Angelos “handpicks” who gets to cover the baseball team? And then “backdoors” them money via MASN or CBS Radio to preach the company line as “journalism”)…

•    Oh, and I didn’t mention their record! They are in a sweepstakes with six equally dreadful teams for the worst record in Major League Baseball??? And they’ve got a helluva chance of “outlosing” the pack…they really do!

On and on, so forth and so on…

And I didn’t even mention the fact that the word “Baltimore” doesn’t exist in any reference throughout the franchise!

I don’t have all night to think of all of the stupid stuff they’ve done just THIS year, and you don’t have all night to read it. This is just what the first five minutes of thinking about the “Year In Review” produced.

With this Angelos group, you don’t need to itemize.

I think you get the point.

They sucked last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. Et. Al. It’s been 10 years since they’ve played in a meaningful game.

Who wants to bet on 11? Or 12?

Me too…

So, if Free The Birds was designed to bring AWARENESS to the plight of long-suffering Orioles fans, then I think we should have another event in 2007.

And if we’ve going to have an event, it needs to be soon.

Like now…

The way I figure, on Monday night, there won’t be more than 5,000 people at the game. It’s a makeup game. Kansas City’s in town. It’s a school night. It might be chilly. It’s on MASN2. And, most importantly, tickets are only $9!

Why not at least ATTEMPT to turn it into a Monday Night Football game? The MNF game is Tennessee-New Orleans and you’ll be home by halftime if you come to the event at the stadium here!

I’m making a $9 “contribution” to an event that will raise awareness that might someday create change. A small investment of time and money and I assure you a fun evening! It was nearly unanimous last Sept. 21 that it was the most fun most lifer Orioles fans like us have had in many years.

If it was an exhibition game to get us a football team, you’d be there, like you were in 1993. I still wholeheartedly believe the only way to save the team here is to rescue it from this disastrous ownership group.

Honestly, go back and look at that list above again. (The Colts and Bob Irsay in their WORST year, might not have had one quite like this one – not even 0-8-1 in the strike year!)

One or two or five of those items in any year would be a generation’s worth of embarrassment for any franchise or fan base. Even Irsay!

But to pull all of this off in just 12 months AFTER the biggest staged public outcry and walkout in the history of the city?

Well, it clearly shows that they STILL don’t get it.

And that their best solution is still to throw in the white towel and sell the team. It would clear the Angelos name and fill their bank account. And we’d never have to hear, say or write their names again. They can go back to suing people, which they are MUCH better at doing than dealing with the public and owning a civic institution like the Orioles.

Give it back to us, let Cal Ripken have it, Bill Miller, Chip Mason, Steve Geppi – ANYBODY!!!

Free The Birds and give them back to Baltimore, because it’s clear the Angelos family is never going to have us back, because we’re beyond the point of believing in them or believing a word they say. The lies and empty promises and mean-spirited way they’ve conducted business is quite transparent at this point to everyone but them.

So, will this ever happen?

And will the Angelos family ever give in to public sentiment, sell the team and do “the right thing” for the first time since they purchased the team?

Who knows?

All I know is that they’ve completely wrecked yet another summer of my glorious life, taking away something that I’ve loved ever since I can remember and I’m more pissed than ever.

And I’ll never get over it, until it’s fixed!

This was a summer when Orioles fans from around the world convened for a magical weekend in Cooperstown to celebrate the glory of Cal Ripken, all while whispering and wondering under their breath whether this would be the last great thing to EVER happen to the franchise.

Some will say, and rightfully so: WHAT’S THE POINT?

And you know what?

If I’m the only idiot in the upper deck on Monday night wearing a Free The Birds shirt, then that’s fine too. I know I won’t be, but you get the point.

I don’t care what any of the other media imposters think. I don’t care what my friends or employees think. I don’t care what lies the Orioles might spin on Tuesday morning about how large or small the crowd will be on Monday night.

Hell, they lied last year, they’ll lie this year…I’ve come to expect it. It’s who they are!

I want the team back. I want my memories back. And if the only thing I’ve got left is to go down there once a year, every year and raise hell and tell them how bad they’ve sucked and how badly they’ve hurt each and every one of us and wrecked this city’s civic pride in sports, then that’s what I’ll do.

I’ll do it to honor my father. I’ll do it to be heard (especially since they’ve taken away my press pass!). And I’ll do it because it’s the right thing to do, especially knowing the inner workings and the sleazy financial and political shenanigans that are presented as your “local media” at work.

(Your “local media” is bought off with advertising dollars. That’s the bottom-line truth and don’t EVER let them tell you any differently!)

I’ll do it because I’ll never accept this disgrace and the unnecessary damage they’ve done to the soul of the city — a devastation I never thought I’d feel after Irsay hi-jacked the Colts in those Mayflower trucks.

But look at that list again above!

(Go ahead…you have time…you made it THIS far into this silly ramble…)

And think about how you felt last Sept. 21 if you went to the first rally.

Or, on Sept. 22 when you read about it because you DIDN’T go. And you swore you’d go the “next time.”

The next time is Monday.

I hope to see you downtown around Happy Hour…spend some money in some of the bars that are struggling in the shadow of Camden Yards.

Free The Birds lives…

Even if I’m the only fool in the upper deck on Monday night!

(Now THAT would make for a VERY funny wnsTV video!)

Don’t leave me hanging…LOL!!!

Come down and have some fun!!!

And have YOUR voice heard…

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