initiative. Having the worst media reputation in the league, especially in light of the steroid scandal in the sport. And, probably the biggest sin, when the owner doesn’t take accountability nor does he make himself accessible to the fans — not through the website, not through the media, not even through a team-sponsored event where real fans and season ticket holders can reach out, shake a hand, ask a question and get a straight answer.
And when the guy in charge tells the media and the fans to effectively “BUZZ OFF,” well then, it becomes easy for everyone from the team president to the players to the clubhouse manager to the shoeshine guy to the ushers to behave the same way.
It’s 2006, there’s competition for everyone’s dollar and the nicest and most service-oriented people tend to win in the long run from what I’ve seen of the world. People want to feel good and appreciated when they spend their time and money.
The law, it seems, has no conscience. It is what it says it is in the book.
But, people in the real world have feelings and choices. The law leaves little room for interpretation; but being a baseball fan, as Seinfeld once said, is all about the laundry. It involves feelings and comfort and passion and connection and innate memories that don’t really make a lot of sense if you analyze it too much.
Nothing about sports and our interest makes a lot of sense if you start to analyze it for too long. When you really consider all of the time, money, passion and soul we put into spending money with someone else’s business so a bunch of young men can become millionaires, it can really make you feel more than a little bit silly.
But we WANT those feelings as fans and we don’t want to be given reasons to make sense of it or analyze it. We just want to give high-fives, cheer and argue over a beer.
But the Orioles have clearly made us reconsider sports and our attachment to it over the past decade.
Much like the Colts and the Mayflowers vans did my father almost a quarter century ago.
And most everywhere I go, for years now, people have been coming up to me with horror stories about something the Orioles have done to frustrate, alienate or anger them. Whether it’s on the field or off the field, rumors or truths, facts or fiction, real or perceived — the Orioles needed to handle these challenges with better solutions than what they’ve offered.
For folks that don’t believe this just consider the Red Sox and the Yankees.
Back in 1992 when I made my first trip to both parks — and I did the trip the same week — the Yankees and Red Sox were still complete joker franchises. Steinbrenner’s wrath from 15 years earlier STILL had a lasting effect on all things pinstripes a decade later and the Red Sox were in a state of collapse in the aftermath of coming close a few times in the late 1980’s.
When teams like the Orioles and the Blue Jays and the Indians were taking flight with new stadiums and new revenue streams, Boston and New York needed to improve EVERYTHING about the way