to the way they conduct business with sponsors, rightsholders, local media entities like WNST, vendors, competitors and just about everyone I know — it kinda kills you a little on the inside every day, especially when you want to be honest with an audience that (like me) always wanted to see the good in the Orioles because as a fan you want to worship at their alter and enjoy your “entertainment” time and money and being a part of something that you shared with your father and your friends a quarter of a century ago.
And especially when you realize how easy it is to be nice to people and make them feel good about being a customer. Especially when all they WANT to do is give you love AND money, which is all this radio station and all of its employees have EVER wanted for the BALTIMORE Orioles!
Hey, the Ravens aren’t always perfect — for my tastes, they’ve had way too many days in court over their 11 years here between murders, guns, drugs, stabbings, altercations, DWI’s, etc. but those might their ONLY transgressions over the decade, save for a couple of lousy years on the field.
And those come from the players, not the management.
To their credit, the Ravens have always tackled those embarrassments and challenges head on, without issuing “no comments” or stonewalling or belittling the people like me who are really just trying to do our jobs and be the eyes and the ears and the conscience of THEIR customers.
From the front office that brings in talent, to the media relations department, to the community relations department, to how the sponsors and suite owners are treated — from how the manager is perceived in the community to how their star players have grown in the organization — from the draft day parties to the World Championship trophy celebration and parade at City Hall — the Ravens have come into this city, and quicker than anyone could have possibly imagined in 1996, created an identity, a history, a passion and an understanding of what kind of a special little town we have here on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and in the land of pleasant living.
And more than doing all of the “little” things right and playing the media and fan game with savvy (along with extra-large doses of Brian Billick — some good, some bad), they have always done one more thing: They’ve been nice!
Somehow everything in The Warehouse has always had the chilly feel of an attorney or a business transaction, like the place is run without a conscience and only answers to one law.
And ANYTIME you deal with someone in their front office, you get the feeling that they fear for their jobs every single day. And the more they lose, the worse it gets!
Having media relations people lie to the press or stonewall them. Having baseball people constantly getting overruled (and, clearly, those stories are going to surface at some point, especially when employees get frustrated by having their hands cuffed and their decision-making ability reduced when the pivotal moments come). Pissing off agents and baseball people throughout the league to the point where no one feels good or confident about dealing with the Orioles.
Having a virtually non-existent community relations