and caring as much but it’s VERY apparent that this community is not in sync with the Orioles or very interested in the Orioles. I see it every day in our web traffic and the crickets I hear when I try to talk about the games with the scads of people who just don’t watch or care any more.
The opposite of love isn’t hate — it’s indifference and Angelos is laughing all the way to the bank while you and I cry into the AL East cellar and downtown sits empty every night. People opt out and complain about our WNST Text service because we send out Orioles DL updates and Norfolk player shuffles. I have four years of stats on it. I average 3 opt outs a month during football season. I get over 100 a month in June and July every year and they always come back in August because they need that Ravens info first and best and know we give it to them.
That’s the TRUTH…but you always have a hard time handling the truth about the Orioles and somehow the facts get in the way of the truth. And I’ve given full disclosure on this many times in the past — nothing has hindered my life and the prosperity of my company that I work 20 hours a day, 350 days a year on more than the Orioles sucking the life out of Baltimore sports fans. And that’s why I did Free The Birds five years ago — to bring awareness to what happens when a sports owner turns his back on a community that he milks for millions in annual profit.
But in every legal business I can think of in America today across any industry demands competition that produces a “compete or else” scenario where the public or an all-too-willing competitor will make the choice with their dollars and sense and bankrupt any company that doesn’t serve it’s customers and the greater interest.
The Orioles – via the negotiating strength and intimidation of Peter Angelos and the stench of Major League Baseball’s giving away of the D.C farm – have the most unique of circumstances: the less they spend, the more they make and the less they risk.
Angelos has never won any popularity contests and got used to losing back in the 1960’s when he lost elections almost as regularly as his team has lost baseball games since the 1990’s.
And we know he’s not winning any beauty pageants at this point with that mug.
And at 82 and publicly playing the “we’ll build slowly through the farm system” while privately saying “these kids work cheap just like in Tampa, right?” doesn’t tell me that he’s even remotely interested in or hungry for a championship. There’s not even any fake body language about this. Does anyone really think winning a World Series is something Peter Angelos needs to do to be personally fulfilled?
Angelos is essentially an angry old, uber-wealthy hermit at this point who only comes out of his shell as often as a blue moon – or an Orioles sweep, both rarities at this point – so we don’t get to ask King Peter any questions.
And as much as he hates the “old world” media, he doesn’t even go on websites because he rarely uses a computer so he’s living in another universe for the most part, like the billionaire he is. He thinks WBAL-AM 1090 is for young folks so he wants his games there to recruit the kids.
His waterboy/lackey/excuse man and Commissioner-in-waiting Andy MacFail takes all of the “media heat” from a collection of suck-ups and co-workers and makes all of his somber home internet videos from his lair high about the field. Always handy with his “trust me” John Denver spectacles and quick at laying out those frothy baseball proverbs and paper-thin lies on the few ticket buyers who are still “bought in” on the Orange Carpet plan, MacPhail will ride four consecutive last-place finishes into another four-year invite from Angelos at $1 million a year or a cushy seat closer to his mentor and friend Bud Selig.
And I’m utterly convinced his salary must be tied more to profit line than victories. And ask any businessperson you know what the most important factor for their business is in 2011 — and if they don’t say “profit” then he or she is lying. And would MacPhail really add an “incentive” for winning the World Series in Baltimore and believe it “attainable”?
As much as Andy professes to be a “baseball only man” he’s really a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He knows EVERYTHING about the finances of Major League Baseball and that the mandates “return on investment” and “win a championship” are two very different and incongruent business plans.
From 1996 through 2000 Angelos cared about winning. It showed. Since then, he’s focused on battling MLB over Washington, D.C. money and tightening the payroll while pocketing the MASN money that he’s not going to “gift” to “some ballplayer.”
But where does this leave you and me – the “real” Orioles fans who have protested this tyranny in some fashion over the last decade with our voices, our actions and our collective distance from Camden Yards?
Well, trust me, Peter Angelos isn’t thinking about you or me or how to make the Baltimore Orioles a winner on the field tonight.
He’s home counting all the money he’s siphoning from your cable bill every month while you sink into your couch, pissed off every night. He’s LAUGHING at you and me while MacPhail talks about “winning with youth.”
And he knows you won’t be calling your local politician any time soon to complain about your cable bill.
And even if you did, Angelos has probably already supported them with a campaign check anyway because he’s one of the biggest Democratic contributors in the state.
So, in July 2011 we write shorter blogs, pray for the NFL strike to end and wait for the end of the Angelos era.
And that can’t come soon enough.
And if I didn’t still love the Orioles as much as I do, I wouldn’t write about them any more.
But I’m assuming Baltimore is too lazy, disinterested or bored to do another Free The Birds march or protest with any gusto. So, alas, we await the purple birds.
But we’ll outlive all of this baseball starvation in Baltimore. I have to believe that…