WNST plays the Orioles credential game again…

March 28, 2008 | Nestor Aparicio

Another season of baseball, another year when we at WNST want to pay attention to the Orioles, cover the Orioles and follow the Orioles.

Every person on my staff has loved the Orioles for most of our lifetimes. It’s why we do this for a living!

WNST has offered to go to Florida for a month and do live shows all day with their players. We’ve been denied access.

We’ve offered to have their players, managers, coaches and staff on the air to promote their team and help them sell their empty seats. We’ve been ignored.

We ran a two-week ad FOR FREE, trying to help them sell tickets, and we’ve been vilified for it.

We’ve OPENLY encouraged folks to go back downtown, go to the ballgames to support the city and we will honor our own word by following through on this for as long as we can take the inevitable losing this season.

Now we’ve filled out credential applications for the season and for Opening Day, and as of 10 a.m. on the Friday before the first game we have no idea who has a pass, who’s been denied a pass or who might or might not need a babysitter on Monday.

Drew is being told he’s not on the list. (For the record, he IS on the list because I put him on it!)

I AM on the list and they refuse to speak to me, although they speak to several of my employees and somehow refrain from acknowledging that I run the company.

Major League Baseball acknowledges me, but says that the Orioles control their media list. (Nice responsibility there by Bud Selig, huh?)

I am assuming that I’ll be “locked out” for another year, the Curt Flood of Baltimore journalism.

But who knows? Maybe they’ll welcome me back to the stadium, because as Rick Dempsey says: “Ya gotta be here!”

The point isn’t about me or Drew or WNST. It’s about Peter Angelos (and John Angelos from what we hear) selectively choosing who gets to ask them questions before and after games.

It’s about free speech and how the media will cover sports in the future. And on the backside of their enormous steroid scandal, you would think that they would have nothing left to hide.

Like the Ravens, MLB and the Orioles would want to be “transparent” in how they conduct business with a fan base that was duped for nearly two decades with needles, illicit drugs and home runs.

Is Amber Theoharris or Tom Davis or Jim Hunter in line to break the next big steroids story from the Orioles clubhouse?

It continues to be a comedy act to our detractors and a “non-issue” to our competitors like WBAL and The Sun (who just hope to get their credentials too and would never want to take our side in this union), but it has real-life ramifications for how we do our job, run our business, feed our families and cover their team, which will have 40,000 empty seats every night next week once the “allure” of Opening Day wears off.

And the ones who really suffer are the fans of the team and the downtown business community.

At WNST, we go to the games and we support Baltimore sports.

Ask anybody!

We buy tickets (or at least used the ones that the people who do buy them don’t want to use). We love the teams. We love Baltimore.

I have personally ENCOURAGED people to go to Orioles games this year for the good of the community.

The Orioles play games, twist words, refer to the “small print” of everything legal (imagine that, with Peter Angelos owing the team?) and are punitive at every turn and at their own whim.

If there’s a road to be taken, they will take the lowest road every time. Guaranteed!

But this is what we deal with EVERY TIME we have to deal with the Mid Atlantic Orioles.

It must be April…

Consternation and the Orioles…they go hand in hand!

And they haven’t even started losing games yet!

Either way, I’m going to the ballpark this year, with or without their press pass blessing.

I’m going to sit in their upper deck and attempt to have fun, just like I did with my Pop in 1979.

And I hope you join me!

But man do they do EVERYTHING in their power to be miserable and make everything regarding the experience of dealing with them on a professional level next to impossible.

They are the most unprofessional, mean-spirited people I’ve ever dealt with in any walk of life.

And it never changes…

But I still love baseball and I’m still going to sport my old-school Orioles visor this summer.

It’s “The Summer of Amnesty.”

And they’re even finding a way to turn “amnesty” into a dirty word.

But I can’t say this wasn’t predicted.

I am ABSOLUTELY on the list for season credentials.

We’ll see if they take the high road or the “expected” road.