they did business and treated their loyal customers and fans so that they could compete, make money and, ultimately, win.
They moved spring training homes, they found ways to use their money more wisely in player development and free agency, they made better business and TV and radio arrangements to take advantage of what strengths they had in the way of tradition, aging stadiums, huge markets with fans all over the country if not the world.
After wasting those resources and frustrating their fans and communities for years, those two franchises made philosophical and fundamental changes in how they did everything and the results speak for themselves.
Some would infer that baseball success is cyclical, but that was before a handful of teams could routinely have a payroll that’s $150 million more than another team. When it was just a player or two, sometimes an injury or a hotshot young player could make the difference (we’ve seen some examples of that with Minnesota or Oakland over the past decade). But when it gets to be an ocean of financial differences and an unbalanced schedule in the AL East, then it’s just insurmountable.
And when fans feel like the team can’t compete and they have years of history to compare the current situation to, they stay away — in droves.
Especially when they feel taken for granted or abused or ignored.
And that’s where Baltimore baseball fans are, but we know that it didn’t have to be this way.
The Orioles had EVERYTHING that Boston and New York DIDN’T have in 1994, when this ownership group took control of our civic treasure.
But this Angelos ownership has squandered it all so very miserably.
Look, it hasn’t been all bad — it’s just been all bad lately and it looks like there’s very little hope of that changing unless the team is sold, because I think (and again I remember Bob Irsay’s woes very well) that this community has basically fired the owner.
And — whether it’s his “fault” or not — he’s the only one who hasn’t realized the reality of it or accepted some modicum of responsibility for it.
And the problems are far beyond what you and I might think. Once the agents and the baseball insiders “blackball” the franchise (or at least stop considering Baltimore as a potential home during free agency), once it’s become a Siberia for the best current players or even top draft picks, once it’s gained a reputation as a bad place to be for WHATEVER reason, it’s over.
It just is!
And for Peter Angelos — at least for the foreseeable future — it looks like it’s over unless there is a monumental change of philosophy coming in his mellowing old age.
But we haven’t seen any sign of that yet, and perhaps The Rally next Thursday will at the very least provide a long-overdue “wake up” call.
Again, this Rally is not designed to insult anyone or stir up ill