King Peter emerges to speak

April 10, 2008 | Nestor Aparicio

It didn’t take long.

Apparently, front running even needs a frontrunner now that the Orioles are going well.

But, where would Peter Angelos be if the team were 1-6, not 6-1?

And why does he only take questions once a year, covertly, and only offer to accept questions from “legitimate” media members like Jeff Barker of The Sun.

Memo/question for Barker (and I don’t know him at all): Were you offered the chance for follow-ups, dude?

Today’s interview in The Sun almost reads like a comedy.

After many years of being incensed by Angelos’ comments, actions and general arrogance and indifference to what his customers want, I now must find some sheer comedy in it to make it more palatable and to not go insane.

It’s almost Mr. Magoo-ish in its sheer perversity.

If the city and the Inner Harbor weren’t decaying on summer nights while the team has chased away all but a handful of its true fan base, it might be a comedy.

But I was there with the 2,000 people during the National Anthem on Monday afternoon (and it WASN’T that cold, and I’m a wuss!) and it wasn’t funny. And I was there with the 6,000 or so on Friday night and that sucked too.

And we ALL know the “truth” about Opening Day.

Is it not almost COMICAL that he thinks we’re buying this nonsense and rhetoric?

And when did The Sun become a “PR” machine for Peter Angelos, printing his fantasies as facts and not questioning the validity of his statements?

But this wouldn’t even be funny if it were in Pittsburgh or Cleveland or anywhere where the city’s fiber and sense of community were brought together by a thing as silly as a baseball team (and in our town, purple football).

So for those in “the boys club”: Stan Charles, CBS Radio, members of The Sun, Amber Theoharis, Tom Davis, WJZ-TV, etc. – or those directly on the payroll and behind the mic like Jim Hunter and Fred Manfra — “pre-approved” interviews are granted and the image is polished and excuses are made and softballs are lobbed and people like me can only sit at home and laugh at this point.

Have you seen this video yet?

Like Angelos said, I’m just another “very unimportant” Baltimore baseball fan. One of the few who are left. I can’t PAY PEOPLE to come downtown and see his team play!

But the sickest joke is on the city and the community, who rely on “bought off” media outlets to get answers to what’s happened to the franchise (and in turn the struggling downtown business district andour tax base) as a result of his insolence and negligence.

The silence is deafening…and the tumbleweed rolling down Conway Street is threatening…I see it every night but the “legitimate media” gives it the pink elephant treatment.

Everyone sees it, but no one ever talks about it.

No one, of course, except me.

And I’m “banned” from being a media member in a free country.

Maybe that next interview will come on MASN – Mr. Angelos and Sons’ Network. That’s another “legitimate media entity” that’s entitled to interviews with the owner of the Orioles, a 54-year civic trust handed down from our parents to us.

After Free The Birds, Angelos called me a “fool.”

And he’s most certainly right.

I AM the “fool” who is now encouraging people to go back to the ballpark and is personally going back to the ballpark, (while giving him zero money) having fun on my own terms and trying to inject some life into downtown and his stadium and make a positive contribution to my community because I think it’s important.

I think the city of Baltimore is more important than do the Orioles, who don’t think the word “Baltimore” is important enough to even be associated with it.

I’m also the fool who is getting snookered into paying upward of $3 a month to his Wayne’s World cable television network every month, a network that was financed and made possible (and one which is valued at more than $500 million) by the fact that Washington Nationals exist.

I’m a fool. I’m a fool. I’m a fool.

But I’m NOT the fool who buys into his “friendly media” shenanigans, which is why I’ve been banned from Oriole Park at Camden Yards as a media member.

Because I ask real questions, I’m “uninvited.”

But he can stick his press pass. I’ll keep my credibility because there’s no way I could sign my name on a column of quotes like The Sun did today.

Not without asking some serious questions.

I’ll never be relegated to lying, covering up the truth or lobbing softballs and making excuses for what’s happened to the franchise, and in turn, the city on summer nights.

What’s happened to downtown Baltimore and this franchise here is a tragedy and a shame. The fact that there were 4,000 people downtown on Monday to watch a first-place baseball team is a disgrace and a direct result of his decisions and he should at least acknowledge and shoulder some of the blame and should be addressing and promoting issues to rectify the situation.

Peter Angelos should be recruiting the community, not continuing to insult its intelligence. We’re smarter than he thinks we are.

That’s what the empty seats are all about. People aren’t buying any of the nonsense anymore.

And if Free The Birds awakened people, well, that WAS THE POINT!

Want foolish? Try this one on…

The headline of the story in The Sun today was (and I’m not making this up):

Angelos says he hopes Nationals succeed

That’s like a headline on WNST.net that says:

Aparicio hopes WNST succeeds!

Or at www.baltimoreravens.com that says:

Bisciotti hopes Ravens win!

In reality, Angelos owns a SIGNIFICANT amount of the Washington Nationals’ stock. Their success is tied almost entirely to his pocketbook and most people don’t even seem to realize the significance of this fact.

If the Nationals produce milk, Angelos drinks from the well. He OWNS a significant chunk of their profit center.

Clearly, The Sun still writes headlines like this proclaiming it “news.”

Duh?

I mean if you can’t find the comedy in this hypocrisy and stupidity than I don’t know if you’re alive in Baltimore and can consider yourself a fan of sports.

But the headline is only the beginning. I will further itemize, interpret and analyze the latest “Angelos statements” below.

But this is what I’m thinking right now…

Who will be the one to ask Peter Angelos some REAL questions? Or will he continue to get a “hall pass” from the entire community on the very real issues surrounding the franchise and its standing in the marketplace and what its true commitments to the city and the area are?

When will Peter Angelos stand up and answer legitimate questions from people who aren’t directly tied to his payroll about the franchise?

Seems to me to be an honest thought?

(Am I the only one who is aware that the two baseball beat writers from The Sun are now appearing on MASN and CBS Radio game programming – complete with advertising in the sports section cross-promoting the “partnership,” yet passing themselves off as “non-biased, media members.” How far on the “inside” do you want your “beat” and “news” reporters? And last week, Roch Kubatko was writing columns of forgiveness for Aubrey Huff before he stepped into Camden Yards. I’m just saying…)

It was most certainly not yesterday via The Sun’s Jeff Barker (whoever he is) and it won’t be any of the aforementioned “legitimate media” entities.

And it won’t be Peter Schmuck. Schmucker used to get the ear of the other “Pete” but he’s in the BACK of  the doghouse with “the more important Peter” right now and it shows!

And WBAL and Angelos had the ugliest divorce this side of McCartney and Mills about 18 months ago. Hearst GM Ed Kiernan, who usually plays the corporate stiff upper lip, even lowered the boom on Angelos last month in the Baltimore Business Journal, speaking about Angelos’ censorship policy. And you can now spend 10 minutes listening to Steve Davis most weeknights and you’ll see that he’s a “non-sanctioned” member of the Free The Birds fan club.

But, remember, just 20 months ago I was the one who was “out of my mind” and WBAL – another “legitimate news entity” — hid the very fact that a protest existed that day when we walked out. It was INTERNATIONAL baseball news, but WBAL Radio refused to acknowledge that it existed as a news story!

All the covering up for him that Kiernan, Beauchamp and company did for him over the years, and they, too, got kicked to the curb (and don’t think that the major part of the equation had to do with WBAL’s decision to become the flagship of the Ravens…it was NOT a “coincidence” I assure you!)

Bottom line: Angelos would never submit to any real questioning so let’s not treat today’s “revelations” in The Sun as anything more than him coming out of the basement to take a bow when the team is 6-1. And, of course, to let us know his role in the matter and that the King is still in charge.

As I’ve said MANY times over the years, EVERYONE is a GREAT winner.

Let’s see where Angelos is hiding when the team hits the skids. And they WILL hit the skids. And he WILL hide when they do, like he has at every press conference for a decade.

And since it’s clearly a comedy to me, I’ll provide my own “true lies” comedy with each quote.

Here are the original quotes from The Sun in italic with the “real skinny” below each actual quote:

“Originally, I said they [Washington and Baltimore] were very close to each other,” Angelos said. “But nonetheless it is the nation’s capital and the team is there and it ought to be supported, and hopefully both franchises will provide successful baseball.”

The cities are still geographically close. But now that I own the television network for two major markets and all of the area down into the Carolinas and all of these millions of people are paying me $3 a month, hell, I can handle the Washington Nationals. I bent Selig over. I won again! Whatever makes me more money!

“We definitely want them to succeed,” Angelos said of the Nats. “We’re partners in the MASN baseball network, and we have an excellent relationship with the Lerner family [the Nationals owners] and with [team president] Stan Kasten, who is an old friend of mine.”

I voted the Lerners into the baseball club and they understand that I’m really in charge because I’m making a lot of money off the fact that they exist and I helped put them into business. Besides, if we work together, we can make more money!

“I think the park is going to be very popular. Some of the features are really good,” Angelos said.

If I chase away the rest of what’s left of the fan base, I can go to the Maryland Stadium Authority again this offseason and demand a whole bunch of extra, expensive stuff that will be bring me up to par with Washington’s stadium, which is 16 years younger. Hell, have you seen that TV in centerfield and that scoreboard that no one in my company knows how the hell to operate? You should’ve seen that Yankees-Rays score the other night. The damned thing flashed the wrong score for an hour Friday night. Not to mention no one can ever figure out what batter is at the plate! It must be the black cat or that damned cold weather.

Speaking of the weather…

“That’s an example of the weather having a very depressing effect on attendance,” the owner said. “We would have had very substantial crowds, the way we’ve been playing, had it not been for the weather.”

You gotta give Jeff Barker some credit for making this the last quote in the story. At what point did he burst into laughter after hearing this one?

Who has “delusions” now, right?

Shoot…I could write a whole column just off of this statement, but I’ll go for now.

I was feeling really good before the rain came last night in Texas. I was juiced for the game but then this Angelos story gave me some material.

I would’ve preferred to watch Steve Trachsel pitch and think about the game tonight.

The team is 6-1, things have gone right, I’m going to the games, feeling good, having fun with the Orioles again. I’m wearing my old-school O’s cartoon bird cap and I’m feeling some “faux” pride, even though the word Baltimore is not associated with the team in any fashion.

It’s the Summer of Amnesty. And I’m doing my best to do my best, no matter how many games they win or lose.

Right now, they’re winning. But I’m not as “delusional” as Mr. Angelos first thought.

I don’t think they’re going to win a whole lot of ballgames this season, so I’ll savor the few they’re going to win.

Not with that starting pitching. Not long term. I’ve been watching baseball 40 years. It would be, especially given the competition, the greatest miracle since the ’80 USA hockey team if they make it to Labor Day within 10 games of the wild card.

But, it’s baseball. It’s Fantasyland. I’m going to “buy in” for a summer and see how it goes.

I just want to have fun and anytime I see his face or hear his voice and then decipher what’s really going on, it ceases to bring me any joy.

So, go back into the closet, Mr. Angelos, and when you want to answer some real questions, just give us a call.

Meanwhile, we’ll be amused by the comedy of your fiefdom.

Yeah, we know the team is 6-1. You love the Nationals. You love Aubrey Huff. You want us to watch the games in high def. You want us to buy season tickets and promotional nights. And you want us to “bleed a little orange and black.”

But we know that like your ailing friend Fidel Castro, you don’t answer questions.

Not real ones, anyway.

That will never happen, just like the team will probably never be competitive again. And just like those “mysterious empty green seats” would’ve been really full last week if the weather were better.

Yeah, sure…

What the hell would you know?

Where you even there?

I was. And I bought a ticket.

And it disturbs me that the stadium is so empty and the city cares so little about your team. But I still care. And I’m still coming, no matter how lousy you are to me, my employees or the city.

And I’ll be buying tickets again next week (from a third party for sure) and hosting parties at places like Regi’s and Morton’s and the Wharf Rat and drinking beer and eating hot dogs downtown before and after games.

Because I’m going to have fun this summer with baseball and that’s that. You can’t stop me, you can only add to the journey to last place.

In the meantime, thanks for the morning comedy.

Somehow, the punchline always comes back to you.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. bobp Says:

    Did i ever mention on here how great local ownership can be?

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