service or just flat-out ignored beyond the bare minimum. And why should anyone in The Warehouse go the extra mile when the company awakens on January 1st with another $50 million in guaranteed profit in 2012 for simply turning on the lights and breathing?
Angelos doesn’t need the fans.
Angelos doesn’t need the sponsors.
Angelos doesn’t need legends.
Angelos doesn’t need fans in the ballpark.
Angelos doesn’t need (or want) Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder.
Angelos doesn’t need free agents or long-term contracts.
Angelos doesn’t need Cal Ripken.
Angelos doesn’t need Brooks Robinson.
All Angelos needs is for you to keep paying your cable TV bill and looking the other way. And at this point, if he truly dreamed of marching a World Series trophy down Pratt Street, he’d be trying a little harder and digging a little deeper into his greedy pockets to build a better baseball team.
If I live long enough, I’ll pass that Brooks Robinson statue another thousand times and I’m certainly not going to spend it thinking about Peter Angelos but I’m always going to be filled with immeasurable regret about these past two decades of “what could’ve been” for the city in regard to summers and baseball. Five years ago, I wrote a book about my passion, background and family in baseball – 19 chapters worth – so my feelings are well worn out.
I can’t live my life in anger over the Orioles continued demise and shameless, reckless and completely unchallenged profiteering with your cable television money for MASN, but I can ask some very, very obvious questions and I’m at full liberty to share my emotions and thoughts at a time when an aging legend like No. 5 has the door slammed in his face by Peter Angelos and the Baltimore Orioles. Just like when the 1966 Orioles weren’t honored by the franchise.
About four years ago I wrote an email to Brooks Robinson asking him to be involved in a charity dinner I was planning. Eventually, two years later and appropriately enough, No. 5 agreed to do a fundraiser with the Babe Ruth Museum and Sports Legends at Camden Yards at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and it was a glorious night.
Here is what Brooks sent me in my inbox in early 2008. This is the first time I’ve shared it publicly and I think it says a lot about the truth for our future as a sports community, especially considering the source:
Thanks for your email. I haven’t entered the email age yet so I apologize for the delay in responding.
I want to thank you for your offer to honor me; however, I cannot accept it. I turned 70 last May and am trying to slow down so I can enjoy time with my family.
As you know, I get approached by over 60 charities throughout the year to serve as an Honorary Chairman or to be honored. Over the past year, I have declined these invitations because my platter is already quite full and I have promised my wife and family that I will not continue to add to it.
I understand what you are trying to do for the sports community. And while I agree that there is a loss of sports tradition, I am not sure the way to fix that is to continue to rely on players from my generation. I believe that we need to have the current players step up to the plate and agree to participate in these charitable programs. You will not be able to continue the tradition – it will die off with my generation – unless you engage the next generation to participate.
So, while I am once again flattered that you wish to honor me, I hope you understand that it will not be possible.
And for those of you who continue to ignore these words from Brooks Robinson above and continue to “shoot the messenger” (in this case, that’s me), as my partner Brian Billick would say:
“Have at it…”
That’s what I’m here for these days. My role is to ask the tough questions.
I’ve been waiting 14 years for some answers…