It’s really hard to remember, isn’t it? That feeling that only baseball can give you on a cool, late September evening, when nothing else in the world mattered as much as the next pitch.
It’s really hard to remember because it’s been a decade since YOUR team played a game that mattered in September. Think about that. A decade. Ten years. 120 months. Sheesh.
If you’re still defending this current Orioles’ ownership, if you really believe that "things are getting better", if you get angry with all of us here at WNST for our positions regarding the sorry state of the franchise, then by all means, stay away on Monday night. Go to your message board at Orioles Hangout or some likewise website and anonymously trash us all. Defend Peter and his minions. Keep those orange tinted shades on at all times.
But look at that second paragraph again. A decade. Ten years. 120 months.
Those numbers make me rub my eyes in disbelief. Or maybe it’s to stop the tears. Because I truly loved the Baltimore Orioles. And yes, I’m intentionally using the past tense here. My passion for baseball is just about gone. After all this futility, all this disorganization, all the turmoil and fussing and fighting, my love of baseball is waning. Ten years ago, if you had told me that the Orioles wouldn’t post even a winning record for the next decade, let alone contend for the AL East, I would have wagered whatever meager change I had in my bank account against you. Not possible.
But here we are, again. Count the seasons, look at the futility, measure the franchise against teams like the Rangers (who HAVE made the playoffs in the past decade) or the Marlins (who have won TWO World Championships in the past decade). Those are teams that long-time Birds’ fans would dismiss as pretenders fifteen years ago, franchises that we felt were below our standard for successful baseball. Now? I’d trade places over the past ten years with their fans in a heartbeat.
Let me be perfectly clear here: You may disagree with me, call me an NST apologist, tell me I’m not a true fan because I only go to three or so games a year. But there are facts that you simply cannot deny: An empty ballpark, a club policy that makes any and all employees available only to their media rights-holders, a current roster of players who either don’t want to be here or don’t belong here, and a recent string of baseball that’s been so pathetic you literally have to go check the record books every three games or so to see how it "stacks up" historically.
I was there for 30 – 3. The upper deck concourse was a ghost town. Concession stands sat empty, if they were open at all. You could sit wherever you pleased (as long as you had a friendly usher nearby who refused to hassle you). In general, it was an atmosphere I never thought possible at OPACY when it first opened. I thought out loud to my buddy, "This is unreal. Sad, and unreal. What happened to baseball in Baltimore?"
After mulling it over for the past few weeks, I’ve decided there is only ONE answer: Peter Angelos happened to baseball in Baltimore. And these are the results.
So, if YOU want baseball back in Baltimore, then Monday night represents YOUR chance to voice YOUR disgust and shame for what’s happened to YOUR team. For the second straight year, join Free The Birds. Because if we don’t represent, publicly, to Mr. Angelos that we are fed up with his ownership, that we refuse to buy his lies, that we’re sick of his contempt and haughtiness (which filters down throughout the entire organization), that his reign is one of embarrassment and total ineptitude, then we’re letting him off the hook. And I won’t do that.
The BALTIMORE ORIOLES are a public trust. They belong to you, your forebears, your heirs and everyone else who has made The Land of Pleasant Living their home. Peter Angelos & Sons are simply the caretakers of the organization. Nothing more, nothing less. Yeah, they stand to make a couple hundred million when they finally cash out (God, please let that happen SOON), but that’s all they are: caretakers. How ironic does that sound? Just how poor a job of that have they done?
Monday night, come out and tell them personally.
FREE THE BIRDS!!