employment, achievement and contributions not only to the Orioles once good name but also for the city of Baltimore and its citizens.
Mike Flanagan also deserved a far better fate.
So did Elrod Hendricks.
The latter two hometown heroes and civic servants have died amidst great sadness and a trail of family heartache by the shabby treatment of the Orioles and Angelos.
And it’s really gotten me thinking about the greater value of the accomplishments – on and off the field – of our baseball and football heroes and legends.
It seems to me that our heroes are oft-times only heroes until their time is done. Turns out – for Peter G. Angelos and the modern-day Orioles — Brooks Robinson was somehow “disposable.”
But for the fans and a man like Henry Rosenberg, who personally spent eight years raising the $700,000 it takes to build a statue these days, we wouldn’t let the flame of No. 5 not be eternal in Baltimore. Raise a glass to the former C.E.O. of Crown Central Petroleum and make sure you visit that statue soon and see its magnificence!
Now, back to the legends of Baltimore sports.
God bless Johnny Unitas and that statue on Hamburg Street. Touching the high tops on game day has become a Baltimore birthright and tradition and no child or novice or “first timer” attending a football game downtown will ever have to wonder how immortal No. 19 is in Baltimore. We all can assume that there’s some piece of rock deep in the earth right now that will one day be turned into a granite and marble likeness of Ray Lewis that will be erected somewhere nearby, where No. 52 can fire up Baltimore sports fans on game days for all of purple eternity.
And I have a feeling that on that day the color purple will be involved, the Baltimore Ravens franchise and organization will be intimately involved in erecting the statue and the owner of the team – and we all should hope it’s still Steve Bisciotti – and many current and past players will be in attendance and speaking about the relationship and depth of warm emotions of sharing in a civic treasure and a generation of memories that will extend the legend of Unitas, Art Donovan, Lenny Moore, Gino Marchetti, Jim Parker, Jon Ogden, Ed Reed and all the men of these generations of Baltimore sports and football who actually took their civic responsibility seriously.
It’s why Brian Billick bought part of this company at WNST.net. He “bought in” on the community thing. He wanted to give back and be involved. He wanted to give his share of profits from the ownership of our company to the Living Classrooms Foundation and forever shake the hands of the Baltimore Ravens fans who supported his Super Bowl XXXV triumph. And it’s not just lip service with Billick. Ask any of the 21 WNST sponsors who got a house call and a “thank you” from “Comp-U-Coach” three weeks ago from Towson to Bel Air to Essex to Dundalk to Highlandtown.
(And, yes, Dear John, you could learn a few things from your predecessor in my humble and well-founded civic opinion. Come out and meet the fans – they don’t bite! And when you implore them to make noise and sing that stupid White Stripes song out of tune, maybe you can put a few names with the faces in your hometown.)
With Angelos and the modern-day Orioles ideology, community service and being with the great unwashed is either lip