Free The Birds & Peter Angelos: Where are the Orioles 6 years later?

March 30, 2012 | Nestor Aparicio

Free The Birds & Peter Angelos: Where are the Orioles 6 years later?

As you know, it’s not without a lot of soul-searching that I write or talk or act in regard to the Baltimore Orioles. It’s no secret that I have a vested interest in the team being relevant in many ways – spiritual, financial, family-related, community desires – I share the dream of a better day for the baseball team in our city. I still live three blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards so it actually affects my neighborhood, community, business, life and joy.

I’m here with a very long and detailed blog but a very succinct message direct from Jim Valvano: “Don’t give up! Don’t EVER give up…”

This is not the time to give up hope for a better tomorrow and better baseball experience in Baltimore just because the last 14 years have been catastrophic under the iron-fisted reign of the Angelos family. (I always use the Chicago Blackhawks’ miraculous turnaround as an example of a franchise’s triumphant return to relevance and parades.)

In my opinion, it’s the time to be heard. It’s time for you — the fanbase and the citizens of the state — to speak up and stop writing about it on Facebook and talking about it at work and waiting for Peter Angelos to die or sell the team.

This blog is about ACTION and YOU getting involved and being heard…

Hence, we are planning several events next Thursday and Friday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards to “Be Heard By The Birds.”

YOU CAN SEE ALL OF THE EVENTS HERE…

Let’s be honest, if the fans of the Baltimore Orioles don’t speak up on Opening Day, what’s the point and who will hear it? No one seems to hear or say anything of relevance regarding the team after the first 24 hours of the baseball season.

Do you think this version of the Baltimore Orioles is acceptable? Do you think a team that’s continues to add zeros to its guaranteed profit center at the direct expense to the community should be allowed to empty downtown on summer nights and spend entire season wallowing in last place as the worst franchise – and most profitable – in Major League Baseball?

What we’re calling for with @FreeTheBirds12 campaign and via our Facebook Free The Birds 12 page is a public referendum on baseball in Baltimore.

I think the fans of the Baltimore Orioles should be heard and we’re encouraging a loud, full-scale and personal protest in anticipation of Opening Day. And as I’ll write next week, this is really so Major League Baseball hears our message as a community. They’re really at the heart of the “blame game” if you want to know why this whole thing stinks, point your initial finger toward Bud Selig, who berthed the Washington Nationals and gave Angelos a platinum orange parachute.

And if you don’t want to protest this sham that’s been perpetrated on the fans of the Baltimore Orioles then don’t bitch about the team being in last place every year with a scandalously low payroll and even lower reputation in the baseball community where no one but the desperate or wayward come to take employment as players, coaches or front office personnel.

Quick, name the last time a player, coach or management person took at a job in Baltimore when they had any other option in the sport?

We’ve seen the results of having the great Andy MacPhail was on board. He sold the orange Kool-Aid via pathetic videos like THIS and pitched it over to Buck Showalter, who is now saddled with a guy in Dan Duquette that 29 other teams thought was essentially “un-hirable” for a dozen years in an industry that continues to get younger and more competitive and cutthroat every year as the cost of doing business skyrockets and fan interest is waning or has hit a plateau in many markets.

Of course here in Baltimore it’s in free fall that for most of us was unthinkable a dozen years ago and is now so bad that the sheer math means they can’t fall much further. Where do you go from 14 years of irrelevance, six consecutive years in last place and the inability to lure any players of substance to Baltimore to annually compete with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees?

There will be many nights in April and May when less than 6,000 people will watch the Orioles play in person. And no matter what directives the MASN Sports crew follows from Peter Angelos, you can’t hide an empty stadium night after night.

But the one thing that MASN and the media trail of Angelos’ negotiations during the Washington Nationals’ birth has done a great job of doing is hiding this incredible revenue stream he’s amassed – a annuity worth tens of millions of dollars annually – for simply “owning” the team. He’s collecting and siphoning money off of your cable TV bill every month. Like clockwork.

Drip, drop…

Clip, clap…

More pennies for Peter…

It’s been my experience that most citizens have no idea that they’ve become a welfare provider for the Baltimore Orioles, MASN and Peter Angelos.

All while downtown rots on summer nights and the Orioles become a brand known for losing, profiteering and turning its back on the community that birthed the franchise and built them a temple in the middle of downtown that has become a sad reminder how great baseball used to be in Baltimore.

It’s a profound sadness that has ensued for our community and anyone who has ever worn a Baltimore Orioles hat feels when the team’s record – on and off the field – is discussed by anyone who’s watched this reality show gone awry over the past 20 years.

Yes, we did Free The Birds in September 2006 and it was a very simple message: “Please sell the team or fix the team.”

Clearly, Peter Angelos has done neither. If anything, he’s done his personal best to make sure neither of these is possible.

It’s probably Angelos’ worst nightmare but it’s very, very easy for me to look any Baltimore Orioles fan in the eyes and say: “I was right…but I wish I was wrong.”

The Baltimore Orioles have been firmly ensconced in last place almost every day since Free The Birds on Sept. 21, 2006. It’s been 2,022 days, 817 games…and their record has been 338-479 or .413 baseball.

Oh, and the Washington Nationals have strangely become relevant and competitive while Angelos has taken his hundreds of millions of dollars of MASN money and pocketed it while watching downtown Baltimore get more vacant every year while his pockets are lined with profits that he couldn’t have dreamed imaginable when he bought the team in 1994 with 18 other investors (many of whom have departed) for $173 million.

This week our WNST staff will be outlining and discussing the reality of the Baltimore Orioles’ place on the local landscape

Comments on Facebook

6 Comments For This Post

  1. jpetrosino Says:

    I think the only way to stop the MASN cash cow is for a reporter (hint WNST) to knock on Comcast’s door and ask them why they feel the need to continue paying MASH $3/month automatically for every customer. Let Comcast know that Comcast can end their agreement with MASN and simply absorb the extra $3 we pay by increasing their rates by $2/$3 and they will realize a bigger profit at the expense of MASN. I’d rather pay Comcast then MASN.

    Anyway, the bottom line is that our focus should be targeted towards Comcast to end their MASN deal not towards Angelos/Orioles…they won’t listen to us but they will listen to $$ when that’s at stake!

  2. Al from Arbutus Says:

    I agree with jpetrosino… Does anyone know when the Comcast – MASN deal will come up for renewal and/or renegotiation? Unlike some of the high profile cable company vs. network showdowns recently in New York City, I think Comcast could really lowball MASN next time around and very few customers would notice or complain if MASN disappeared from the cable lineup for a few months (or at least for a couple weeks). It’s not like the Orioles (or the Nationals) will have any “must see now” games any time in the near future. And the rest of MASN programming is even more pathetic than their baseball stuff.

  3. Die Peter Die! Says:

    As long as Peter Angelos lives, and I hope it isnt for much longer, the Orioles will be the worst run franchise in ANY PROFESSIONAL SPORT.

    Also complicit in this entire nightmare is MLB and Bud Selig.

    Maybe we’ll get lucky and they will both die in a plane crush.

  4. BIG Paul Says:

    Thank You WNST for not giving up like all the other media outlets have in this TOWN. It is absolutely DISGUSTING that these stations and so called reporters/sports anchors/etc.can go about every day business and not call out and i mean get angry with the current state of affairs with the ORIOLES. Peter Angelos is sickening in what he has done to this franchise ,town and community. He is a scumbag just like Robert Irsay was in his days of dissolving the COLTS here in BAWLMER. Lets WAKE UP Baltimore and fight this GOOF so that WE AS THE REAL FANS can take back our beloved BIRDS and revitalize a once storied and proud franchise.Show up for the vigil so that the national spotlight and MLB will see WE are not taking this BULLSHIT of a team anymore. 14 straight losing seasons and yes again a last place finish.

  5. John Pollara Says:

    This article stinks, not because of Nestor’s words but the odor coming from the warehouse. I’m an optimistic person but after 14 years, I have totally given up hope. Even if by some miracle, the O’s would finish over .500, what are the chances they would improve on that? A team that markets their spoiler role on the last day of the season as some shining moment is pathetic (but sadly that’s the best they got).

    I was reading the Sun a while ago and the headline said, “Orioles Sign Journeyman…” then the article said what we’ve seen a million times. (Fill in the blank), age 29, hit .243 last year in 45 games with the parent club and spent the rest of the year in AAA. So at that moment I rechristened the Orioles as the “Baltimore Journeymen” until further notice. I think the media should do the same.

    What are sports all about? The Baltimore Ravens are FUN. The Baltimore Journeymen are NOT FUN.

  6. Steve Says:

    Nestor you probily were not around on those dark days of the Baltimore Colts. Baltimore fans refused to support the Colts because Bob Irsay didnt put a real team on the field. During 1978 season he got rid of all those good players Colts had. So those fans were not gonna spend a single hard earned dollar to watch em. Fans averaged only 30,000 a game at Memorial Stadium every sunday. And then Colts left for Indy. And look at Baltimore now they have the Ravens a team plays above .500 for 5 straght seasons. So whzt?? Let em move,, Wwere get a better team in Baltimore because of Camden Yards. If O’s move there are a lot of Clubs would jump right in Baltimore. Look at the A`s its a possibilty they could replace the O’s because the Giants blocked the A’s from going to San Jose. The Rays could move to Baltimore too. Let i said if Fans would just get like Colts fans and dont show up at Camden yards 2 things might happen,,Mr Angelos sells the team or he might move em to Montreal.

Leave a Reply