NEWS ALERT!! O’s are promoting again…

August 09, 2007 | Drew Forrester

First of all, on behalf of Joanne and Ethan, I offer our thanks to all of you who sent well wishes after the birth of our baby boy on Tuesday afternoon.  Ethan is doing well (and so is Joanne), although he started crying uncontrollably last night right about the time Rob Bell came in to pitch in that loss to the Mariners.  Poor little fella…he’s been on this planet nearly two full days and he hasn’t seen the hometown team win a game yet.  lol

Now…did any of you find it INCREDIBLY conflicting to see the Orioles and, in specific, Communications Director Greg Bader, promoting themselves in Wednesday’s edition of The Sun?  Here’s the story, if you didn’t see it, written by columnist Rick Maese.  The content of the column wasn’t the issue – after all, it IS encouraging to see the Orioles doing good work in the community…I think we can all agree on that.  They SHOULD be inviting wounded soldiers to the games at OPACY.  They SHOULD be donating money to local charities.  They SHOULD be giving away tickets to worthwhile organizations like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, P.A.L., etc.

What was conflicting, you ask?  How about the fact that Greg Bader – and virtually every other top executive with the club – has disappeared more than David Copperfield over the last four months or so.  Seriously, I thought Bader was on a 3-month Peace Corps mission – it’s been THAT long since he’s returned an e-mail, a phone call, a text message, etc.

So, when a radio station in town (and this is NOT a WNST-only problem…the O’s are dodging EVERY media outlet in town except for CBS Radio and MASN) wants to allow the fans to ask “hard questions” of Andy MacPhail, or Mike Flanagan, or, even, Greg Bader, we don’t get that opportunity.  But, when the team NEEDS the media to help push THEIR agenda, suddenly Bader appears out of nowhere and he’s a quote-machine, talking about how the team is stepping up its efforts in the community by bringing wounded soldiers to baseball games, giving away free tickets to kids, etc.

And, again, all of those charity endeavors developed by the Orioles are WORTHWHILE EFFORTS…but when is the team going to do something for THE FANS?

When do THE FANS get to have a say?  When do THE FANS get to ask questions?  When will the team take some time to show THE FANS that they care about them?

Now, before any of you say, “Drew, wait just a sec…they have had a couple of Q&A sessions at the ESPN Zone this year and those were done specifically to give fans a chance to ask questions to front office execs” — let me remind you of a few things.  a) the softball questions lobbed in at those staged-meet-the-front-office gatherings registered about 11mph on the radar gun.  King Eddie Feigner threw softballs harder than those questions at the Glen Burnie Carnival back in 1980.  b) about 30 people showed up at those ESPN Zone shin-digs…I’d hardly consider those 30 to be representative of the 500,000 or so who aren’t going to the games anymore, do you?

And, despite what they think (and this is NOT a shot at the on-air people at CBS Radio) in The Warehouse, not every single radio in town is tuned to WJFK/WHFS anytime an O’s exec is on the air there for a question and answer segment with the listening audience. There are people in town who actually listen to WBAL, WPOC, WLIF, WCBM and, gasp!, even WNST.  Keeping O’s execs OFF of those stations – and away from COMCAST SportsNet – is merely serving to expose them as being afraid to deal with their paying customers.

Lastly, if ANY of you out there think this “policy” of their’s (not having anyone from their station on at WNST, for example) is a smart way to do business, answer THIS question for me.  How many other teams in professional sports have a similar edict in which they don’t allow their employees to spread themselves out to virtually every media entity in town and, thereby, gain as much promotional exposure as humanly possible?  If you answered, “ZERO”, you’re a winner.

That’s why Wednesday’s article was so conflicting.

How come it’s OK for Greg Bader to speak with The Sun when HE has an agenda to share and decides the best way to do that is through the media?  But it’s NOT OK for Bader to allow any of the front office execs to let the fans go through the media to ask the Orioles the hard questions that the paying customers have the right to ask?

Conflicting?  Absolutely.

But, as I’ve said all along, it’s the new “Oriole Way”.