and a complimentary champagne toast for all 49,550 — a record crowd.
There could be a ceremonial video of the Angelos era (OK, maybe we could skip some parts of it…but it would have some stuff from the 1993 All Star Game, the 1996 playoffs, Jeffrey Maier and all, and the 1997 ALCS as well…of course Cal’s big nights would be the linchpin, the hook to incite the crowd!)
With respect to Adam Loewen and Nick Markakis, we could launch a new era in Oriole baseball right at that moment. Same as we did when Brooks left, Palmer left, Earl left (the first time!), Memorial Stadium left, Cal left, etc. The Peter Angelos era would be over. Not a TOTAL failure — see the 1996 and 1997 seasons and Jeffrey Maier — but it wasn’t working out so well there toward the end.
But no one would dare “boo” him that day, not when he’s FINALLY doing the right thing — giving the team back to its rightful owners, US — the fans who built the franchise and supported it and made a sacred place in our hearts for the orange and black!
Can’t you see the crowd rise to its feet as Jon Miller, in full tuxedoed regalia introduces Cal Ripken and Peter Angelos side by side. Angelos speaks first and gives a short, public speech — a thank you for all of us who endured the years. He could start with praising our patience and giving a few well-chosen words about doing the best he could, even through the rough times with D.C. and MLB. He could wax with pride for a few minutes — his final, Nixon-like speech to the people — about how he left the team in a strong financial position to compete and with capable leadership to improve and that his legacy would be richly rewarded simply by leaving the team with strong, dedicated, local ownership (just like him!)
And that he’s proud and honored to present the team to its rightful owners — the people of Baltimore, the citizens of Maryland and their favorite son, whose father was “an absolute architect of the Oriole Way which brought so many championships and so much joy to our great community in the land of pleasant living — the great, and in just four months to be in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. — I’m proud to introduce you to the new owners of the Baltimore Orioles — Cal Ripken Jr. and his ownership group,” led by Ed Hale, Chip Mason, Steve Geppi, John Waters, Pam Shriver, Jim McKay, Barry Levinson, Stacey Keibler and Monique (and fill in your favorite Baltimore celebrity here).
Ok, so maybe I’m dreaming, but maybe I’m not.
I remember being at that final Colts game in 1983 walking out of the stadium and wondering if it would be my last game ever (and, at 15, not really internalizing the finality that it WOULD be my last football game, not only with the Colts but with my Pop). I honestly didn’t think it was POSSIBLE that the Colts could leave Baltimore. That was just, well, UNTHINKABLE!
I remember those feelings I had in 1991 when I dabbed the tears from my eyes at Memorial Stadium and thinking I was really, really leaving 33rd Street for good. Any more games there — be it minor league baseball, or CFL football or dare I say the impossible dream of getting an NFL team back — was absolutely unthinkable. It just couldn’t happen.
I remember being in my studio at the Lord Baltimore in 1993 when the first NFL expansion dream for this city was extinguished by that metropolis of Charlotte. And I was at the front bar at Bohager’s with eight other diehard football souls, with champagne on ice when Paul Tagliabue gave our football team to that armpit called Jacksonville.
And at that moment I just KNEW that Baltimore was destined to never get back into the NFL. C’mon ALL of you just KNEW we were NEVER