Orioles ‘Summer of Amnesty’ plans solidify…

March 26, 2008 | Nestor Aparicio

Initial word out of The Warehouse is that ticket czar Matt Dryer is secretly plotting an early retirement from the “surplus revenue” we’ll be adding to the coffers of Orioles/Angelos Inc. during “The Summer of Amnesty.”

The last thing in the world I care to do is to make money for those mean-spirited ingrates at The Warehouse, believe me.

But they ALL know that if we start showing people a good time at Orioles games this summer, word might get out. Imagine if “fun” would catch on at Camden Yards? Who knew?

I can hear them now…

“Maybe that ***hole from Dundalk was sincere? What if all he REALLY wanted to do all along was HELP us, NOT put us out of business? What if he really LOVES the Orioles and THAT was what Free The Birds was all about?”

And, of course, many of you cynics out there will say that I’m only doing this to take an extra few dozen people to games every night all summer and raise hell in the upper deck about how bad the team is going to be this season. (Not true, but I can’t be sure of what Aubrey Huff’s at-bats are going to sound like.)

Honestly, as Brian Billick would so succinctly say, “It is what it is…”

I want to have fun. I want to inject a little life into my own “personal baseball experience.” I also want to shine a very bright civic light on the circumstances our city – the biggest city in the state – faces every summer night when that ballpark and the subsequent hundreds of businesses get affected by all of the suburban people who are no longer coming into our city to support the ballclub and in turn the city and community.

Did you watch The Wire recently?

It’s called the “local economy.” Maybe someone around City Hall should get wind of what the city USED to be on summer nights with 50,000 people downtown every night and what it is NOW with 5,000 downtown most nights and do a little “economic impact” survey?

Maybe one of the many “pissed off at David Simon journalists” on Calvert Street should be doing some investigating and reporting on behalf of “Tribune, Inc.” Oh, that’s right, aren’t they involved with the Cubs? Or weren’t they kinda recently?

Peter Angelos beat all bidders in the summer of 1993.

Peter Angelos beat Davey Johnson.

Peter Angelos beat Comcast.

Peter Angelos beat Bud Selig and Major League Baseball.

He will getting a significant portion of the upcoming revenue stream of the Washington Nationals and their subsequent riches with this new ballpark opening on Sunday night in the nation’s capital.

Peter Angelos bought a team for $173 million, wrecked it for virtually everyone in the community and now is holding it hostage for upward of $950 million, until Chip Mason or Bill Miller or Cal Ripken can put together a “takeover posse.”

So Angelos – already wealthy beyond anyone’s imagination killed the franchise and is making money hand over fist.

Angelos got richer.

What did the City of Baltimore get?

Well, I know what we DIDN’T get…the name of our city on the crest of the jerseys or on the company letterhead!

And I know what it ALSO didn’t get: a teeming, bustling Inner Harbor 81 nights a year with commerce, people, the exchange of money and the hometown feeling of civic pride in our baseball team, which is a legacy handed down from our parents in Baltimore.

So, yeah, I have a little “dorky” civic pride. Matter of fact, I’m still LOADED with it!

Isn’t how all of this “I wanna be a sports fan” thing starts? The actual PRIDE in a community? Isn’t that why you become a sports fan? To ROOT for HOME team?

It was never about baseball or football, or the Colts or the Orioles in my house.

It was always about BALTIMORE!

So, “The Summer of Amnesty” isn’t about a man who stole the community’s beloved baseball team and has publicly thrashed it and held it hostage, even from those like Brooks Robinson who BUILT IT.

It’s not about right and wrong. (For the record, we’re very right and he’s very wrong!)

It’s not about giving Mr. Angelos the $9 a night (or whatever the cheapest tickets cost). I’m actually feeling good that this money could be used to buy Aubrey Huff some in-room porno while he’s in Cleveland or Detroit. (Maybe he’ll jack a few more home runs!)

And Angelos is already stealing money from my Comcast bill every month, cash that I didn’t “check off” on, so what’s a few more dollars anyway?

It’s not even about freedom of speech or the team’s fascist stance on credentialing the local media or not taking questions from anyone who isn’t on their payroll.

“The Summer of Amnesty” is simply about Baltimore, friends, having fun and baseball.

I’m tired of fighting with these miserable people – the worst group of people I’ve ever met on this planet — and I want to have fun with my friends and family and listeners and cool people in the upper deck of BALTIMORE’S baseball stadium and wait out the “civic tsunami” that has been wreaked on this city by this team’s woeful ownership.

I will make no excuses for supporting them. They do NOT deserve to be supported and if you don’t come (and if you’re pissed at me or feeling betrayed or whatever), I totally understand it. You’re RIGHT!

They don’t deserve to be supported with your money.

But I’m tired of punishing myself further with their sins.

The team can’t win this year. We all know that, so it’s not like we’re going to go because we think the Mid Atlantic Orioles are winning the World Series.

I just want to go to the games, laugh with my people and get to know my friends’ kids at the ballpark.

And for all of you who have written nasty responses or nice responses, I wish you all well. This isn’t about the haters or the naysayers or the critics or the blog comment birds or my “media competitors” on Angelos’ payroll taking target practice (again I wish you well in your vendettas and mean-spiritedness).

This isn’t about a few measly bucks from my piggy bank going into Peter Angelos’ vault. (And trust me, he’ll get as little as I choose to give him. I’m on the take for free tickets just like the rest of you. Why buy tickets when 5-10,000 tickets go “unused” every night?)

It’s about a summer of “guilt-free” love of baseball and community and maybe I’ll spend $200 this year on tickets? Hopefully some people will “donate” them to me and to others who truly want to go to the games and have fun.

But I guarantee you that I won’t be purchasing any concessions inside the ballpark.

Maybe I’ll spend another $500 or $1000 at the local bars downtown before games and with vendors on the street outside the ballpark (cheaper on the outside!!)

So, will that money and that time be worth it?

I don’t know, really.

I think it certainly will be if the right people come to the ballpark on the nights I’m there and inject some life and energy into making a section in the upper deck a fun place to be for a few hours.

I bought my old school 1970’s, Sergio Robles cartoon bird visor at the Sports Shop at the Harbor last week. I’ve been rocking it all week and feeling good about it.

I’m going out this week to buy a Wild Bill Hagy hat, which I will offer to anyone who wants to properly lead a group cheer. So, if you wanna be “Wild Bill” for a round in our section, brush up on your body English, and drop me an email. The only qualification is that you do it in “proper form.”

(And for the record, I do NOT want to lead cheers…I simply want to provide the hat!)

I’m in Florida this weekend and early next week for the NFL Owners Meetings. (Funny that they give me a press credential!)

My first game is next Thursday night vs. Tampa Bay. The party will start around four at a downtown local watering hole TBA.

The first bar owner within walking distance of the stadium who sends me a note gets the first “party” and the charity of his choice for a “pass the hat” contribution. Plenty of good seats are available. We’re going to keep this fun and easy.

Please do not post inquiries regarding events to the comments below, but instead email me at nasty@wnst.net if you have a bar or a charity or a group who wants to join us or co-promote an event for a good cause.

I can’t say that we’ll “pack the place” but we’ll do our best to make it fun.

I haven’t figured out scheduling for much past the first homestand, but I’ll get it together and get it on the website and the radio as soon as we “book some gigs.”

But again, it takes people to do this stuff. Otherwise, I might as well walk to the ballpark alone and that’s what I’m trying to avoid – sitting in that miserable bowl yawning again this summer!

So, I’ll see you next Thursday…or maybe sometime later in the season…or maybe not at all because you rightfully feel that the team sucks and you don’t want to spend money with them.

But that wouldn’t stop you for joining us for a pre-game cocktail at a local watering hole before the game, right?

Besides, the games tend to be a little “frosty” in the early going…

(I hope it’s not cold as hell, but I still have my Ravens gear ready to go.)

Who wants to lead the first O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheer?

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