Being Thrift with mounting debt and wringing the Belle with an insurance policy

August 16, 2017 | Nestor Aparicio

Orioles and chose instead to work with the lowly Minnesota Twins, who were nearly contracted the previous year. After 42 seasons, the orange and black wouldn’t be sending players to upstate New York in 2003.

“The farm system, even below us, is showing signs of struggling,” Silver said. “Our fans have really been patient. It’s been five years and finally, they’ve spoken. They asked us, ‘How much longer do you expect us to support this team? You’ve got to get us a team we can support.’ ”

Laura Vecsey of The Sun wrote:

That the Red Wings would take such drastic measures is astounding. That the Orioles could do nothing to preserve this relationship is sad, regrettable, maybe even shameful.

Pick any of those words, but whatever word you do pick, it only begins to describe a situation within the Orioles’ organization that no one – not one person – interprets to mean anything except trouble.

“It’s not ideal, is it?” said vice president for baseball operations Syd Thrift.

No, it wasn’t.

In 2003, the banished baby Birds would instead be sent to freezing Ottawa, Canada to work on their Triple-A game and earn a spot in the big leagues where they’d often be playing in front of hundreds of similarly cold fans in April and May. Ottawa had just fired the Montreal Expos for the same problems that alarmed Silver in Rochester – poor talent and poor leadership within the ownership, which had just been taken over by Major League Baseball in an effort to save the franchise and possibly relocate it. And now Rochester would take in Selig’s other contraction candidate in the Twins while the Orioles moved to a place where the Expos had failed for more than a decade.

That’s how bad the Orioles were. They were dumped for a franchise that was on the hook to be folded just weeks earlier – the only Major League Baseball franchise in modern history fired by their minor-league affiliate for being, well, too minor league.

That’s about as bush league as it gets.


(Author note: This is Chapter 12 of my book “The Peter Principles,” which I was working to finish in March 2014 when my wife was diagnosed with leukemia the first time. I will be releasing the entire book for free online this summer – chapter by chapter. These are the true chronicles of the history of Peter G. Angelos and his ownership of the Baltimore Orioles. If you enjoy the journey, please share the links with a friend.)