years when they arrived here. And as a few Ravens’ employees who made the journey from Lake Erie will attest, THEIR family made enough stupid mistakes in Ohio that cost them their name and reputation (if not their home…the Modells couldn’t even go back to visit their decade-long friends from Cleveland after the move!) and they wanted to learn from all of the things they did wrong there and make a fresh start and earn a fresh reputation in Baltimore.
You gotta give the Modells credit for not making the same mistakes twice.
Most everyone in the know with the purple birds would tell you that EVERYTHING changed philosophically for the Modell family and that franchise the minute they came to Baltimore. In Cleveland, THEY were the top dog, and took all good and bad that came with that and the expectations — but they too had thin skin and fought not only with the media in Ohio but even more so with the political machine especially after Jacobs Field and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were built.
In Baltimore, they’d have to work their asses off to compete with the immense Orioles’ tradition, fan base, revenue streams and reputation. Like Avis, they were CLEARLY No. 2 and would have to outwork the Orioles to show they were worth the city’s love, attention and dollars.
The cards were GREATLY, GREATLY stacked against the Ravens EVER winning the hearts of this city with what the Orioles had going in 1995, not only on the field but with the world’s most revered stadium and all of its revenue streams.
Honestly, I could be here for another month just documenting all of the crazy things I’ve seen and heard and been privy to knowing about the way the Angelos family and it’s employees have done business with this franchise over the past 13 years. And I’ve been on the receiving end of enough personal insults to fill a book.
But even if what I say doesn’t matter — and again, I’m trying my best to keep this entire Free The Birds project on the up and up — the results on the field and in the stands speak for themselves.
Not to sound crass or like a “know it all” but it’s MY JOB to know what goes on over there. I take it VERY SERIOUSLY, how this ballclub performs not only ON the field, but OFF. It’s how I feed my family and how everyone at WNST feeds theirs.
And as much as the team has gone to war with my radio station and the media in general, there are still several people inside The Warehouse who bleed me information about what’s really going on. If we can see how screwed up it is from the outside — just in sheers wins and losses and empty seats — imagine what it’s like to work there and see the customers stay away in large numbers and knowing you’re not empowered to help the situation?
And my interest isn’t limited to just being a media dork, like most others who work in my business. It’s also because I’m a passionate local fan, which was what led me into the sports media business in the first place.
And, for better or worse, my business and livelihood depend on baseball, really — or at least it did until the Ravens came to Baltimore and caught on and won and won people over.
So, I DO have a fiduciary interest in how the Orioles do and what the interest level in their product is, no question.
BUT, as you’ve seen over the past three weeks, it’s a little more — shall we say — “personal” for me, because unlike most of the sports writers you read or the sportscasters you hear, I’ve ALWAYS cared about the Orioles and I’ve always cared about this community and this city.
Baltimore is a not a steppingstone for me to land a job in New York or Los Angeles, it’s my HOME and probably always will be!
And the Orioles are MY TEAM and have ALWAYS BEEN my team! And they’re YOUR TEAM, too!
And when I see what a disaster everything from their spring training facility is like