I’ve got two tickets…but NOT to paradise

June 29, 2007 | Nestor Aparicio

My neighbor upstairs is a great old dude, who loves drinking beer and going to Orioles games and ever since the "Angelos ban" on my press pass, whenever he doesn’t use his tickets, he leaves them under my door so I can go enjoy Orioles baseball. Like many, it seems, I will NEVER spend a nickel with the Orioles until they’re sold to someone who wants to bring some dignity back to the city and the franchise.

So, tonight, I have two tickets to the Angels-Birds game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Honestly (and sadly), I really don’t even wanna go!

I’m back to that sad, wistful and disgusted place again, where watching "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" on TV was more interesting to me last night than the Orioles-Yankees game (even though any sweep of the Yankees is always welcomed, especially considering how rare it is!).

The Orioles haven’t played a meaningful game in 10 years! They’ll be embroiled in a summer-long battle into autumn for sole possession of last place with Tampa Bay. (And honestly, I think they might win! I joked with Joe Maddon on the field in Tampa Bay about it, because I LOST the bet with "Kenny Baseball" last year and had to eat a hot dog with mustard! I refused to take the bet earlier in the year, but I would DEFINITELY take it now!)

Last week, the ownership showed not only its woeful ineptitude, but again more significantly, its lack of class in how just about everything was handled last week amidst the Perlozzo fiasco. If you need a reminder, go into any of the WNST.net blog archives last week. 

And, lo and behold, we’re four weekends away from football season. So, I’m one Heritage Fair in Dundalk closer to getting ready for some purple madness!

I’ve been personally banned by the franchise from even doing my job. My employees get treated like garbage on a daily basis by goofs like their "communications director" Greg Bader, whose public relations skills remind me of that goofy dude who worked for Saddam Hussein, "Baghdad Bob."

What ever happened to THAT dude? LMAO!!!!

I write emails requesting interviews, credentials for games, basically DOING MY JOB — ASKING QUESTIONS!!! — only to be totally ignored. They never return a phone call, an email or a text. They pretend I’m not here. They pretend WNST.net doesn’t matter. We had 2.3 million web views on this website last week. AND it’s NOT EVEN INTERACTIVE!!!!

It kinda makes me laugh!

The other night, they refused Michael Popovec a press pass, claiming the press box was too full. Well, the seats in the upper deck certainly looked pretty empty, even on a night when Roger Clemens is pitching.

(By the way, Peter Schmuck’s piece this morning in The Sun, was among his best recent work. Do baseball statistics or accomplishments EVEN MATTER ANYMORE? I’ve been wondering that for a few years, really ever since that bloody St. Patrick’s Day fiasco with Mark McGwire down in Washington)

So, now they stoop low enough to deny a kid from Calvert Hall who has loved their pathetic franchise since he can remember (and he has NO recollection of 1983 or 1979 for crying out loud…this kid missed EVERYTHING and only HEARD the stories from guys like me!) from fulfilling the dream of his to be a sports radio guy and go to the ballpark and learn more about baseball.

If they wanna drop a steamer on me, that’s cool, I’m a big boy. But to urinate on a nice kid like Popovec kinda pissed EVERYONE off around here at WNST. We’re a TEAM at WNST. We’re ALL Baltimore people who want NOTHING MORE than for these silly pack of fools to sell the team and let someone come in here (Ripken, Geppi, Miller, Mason, etc…) who can make this FUN again!

So, I have two tickets tonight, but I’m a bit wistful now that it’s pretty clear that — as predicted here for almost a decade now — these mean-hearted fools will never "get it."

But, honestly if you are one of the remaining fools rearranging the lawn chairs on the Titanic, today must feel pretty good — an apparent sweep of the Yankees, whose fans were numerous but strangely silent this week downtown.

Just THINK about how many times over the last 10 years they’ve danced inside of our stadium, including a champagne celebration in 1996, when the Orioles were "Maier-ed" outta the ALCS by Darryl Strawberry and Cecil Fielder.

But they are playing the Angels — and man, I have some memories with the Angels!

They were one of my favorite teams in the 1970s, because they were exotic and had players with cool names like Bobby Valentine, Frank Tanana and Nolan Ryan.

By 1979, I had learned to dislike them, after they "stole" Don Baylor, Bobby Grich and then, later, Doug DeCinces. (But, I’ll still always love me some "Disco" Dan Ford! Did I mention that my father-in-law’s REAL name is DAN FORD! Coincidence, I think NOT!)

Then they got Fred Lynn, who was always one of my favorite players, even before he came here mostly beaten up if not washed up in 1985. I ran into Lynn in a hotel in Houston at the All Star Game a few years and he was a super cool guy, and even chatted with Bob Haynie on the air. Always fun to meet your childhood heroes, especially when they’re cool to you!

But I always thought the Angels were cool. The games came on late, and The Sun always had the linescores in reverse black type on Page 1 of the sports section. The weekend afternoon games always made "The Big A" look like the place to be in Southern California on a summer day. They had Gene Mauch, Reggie Jackson, Don Aase and pretty girls in the seats. And, of course, Schmuck was there watching it all as well!

But it’s funny how my associations to baseball have changed and how much negative energy it fills in my already crowded life.

I LOVE baseball. And I LOVE the Orioles.

And on days like today — when I have tickets and I don’t even wanna walk four blocks to the stadium because it’s just not a whole lotta fun when I do go — it makes me sad about the whole thing.

And I start to think about football season, and how the Ravens are going to do this year. How 13-3 in 2006 is going to translate a year later, and perhaps, a year wiser.

I’ve spent a lot of time around the Ravens lately, even though I don’t blog (or brag) about it. And honestly, most of the time we’re talking about anything OTHER than football.

I was on the golf course with Todd Heap, Kyle Boller, Quinn Sypniewski and Matt Katula two weeks ago. I’ve also caught up with Brian Billick and had lunch with Mike Flynn. Jon Ogden and I chatted two weeks ago for a while. And Steve McNair gave me his cell phone number and said he’s coming to do a Monday Night Live show with us this year.

When football DOES come up, it’s then I can tell they are ALL jonesing to get back on the field and get this march to Glendale in February going.

I even had lunch with my man Jim Schwartz the other day at his new Eastern Shore estate he built so his Arbutus family would have a great place to enjoy during the summer. (The word "Pacman" didn’t come up once, nor did the word "Colts"!) Schwartz is four weeks away from "Titans lockdown" and it’s fun to see his energy and joy around his family, but his intensity ready to let loose for football season.

(One story from Schwartz: We talked about how being around 22 to 25 year old guys makes you feel young, like them. I thought that was a cool piece of information!)

So many good people I meet in the NFL and from being around the Ravens and the legacy they’ve built around the league with quality people, with quality families and quality relationships.

I really wish I could say the same thing about the people in baseball and around the Orioles.

Anyway, I guess I’m going to the game tonight, but if I’m going to HAVE a blog here on WNST.net, I’m always going to write how I’m feeling and why I’m feeling that way.

Right now, I’m waiting on football season, but it sure would be nice to have some "sports joy" around Baltimore during the summer time, the way it used to be.

But until we FREE THE BIRDS, I believe that will never happen.

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