He also had work to do politically. There was little doubt that baseball had to put the Expos in DC, as there was nowhere else to go with them. It was also apparent that while selling 48,000 tickets per night in baseball’s best venue, Angelos would have a tough time making a case to stop them.
The deeper conspiracies might lead you to believe that with MLB eyeing DC, and with both the Maryland Stadium Authority and the team’s cable network seemingly more interested in making money off of a new team than stopping them from coming here, there was no support to be found for Angelos and the Orioles, except for the support that they were still getting from fans at the box office.
Machiavelli also suggests in “The Prince” that when a Prince has to take liberties away from his citizens it’s best to do it all at once. Doing things that way allows the masses to take their proverbial medicine and thereafter begin the healing process. Taking liberties and/or luxuries away piecemeal, one by one extends the pain and keeps it fresh in the minds of the citizenry. If however, the intention is to drive the fans away, and to keep them away, one might endorse the opposite tact. The Orioles instead spent years wearing down the fans, little by little, keeping pain and hardship fresh in their minds and chasing them from the ballpark and in some cases from their fandom altogether. That allowed the club to cut the deal that has them in the catbird’s seat now.
The deal that created the MASN network and gave Angelos the lion’s share of two teams’ TV revenue was proof positive, from an ownership standpoint at least, that it is indeed better to be feared than to be loved. It illustrated that adaptation to the Machiavellian way of thinking worked.
The other part of inflicting pain and hardship all at once from Machiavelli is that when it’s time to give back to the masses, it should be done slowly, piece-by-piece, bit-by-bit. That way, citizens would routinely find themselves celebrating their new spoils and as a result grow to both love and fear their prince. As fans we can only hope that Angelos read that far and that slowly we’ll get back to what once upon a time was the “Oriole Way”.
For now the team is winning, they have a credible manager, and GM that while not celebrated has certainly made some good moves thus far, they have a young star of the future secured long-term in Adam Jones, and another in Matt Wieters hopefully to be sured up soon. There’s the fresh blood that is Manny Machado and the impending arrival of budding rock star Dylan Bundy. Little by little fans are finding reasons to be excited about the team and its future. It’s going to take more than that to get them to fully invest (both their emotions and their ticket money) but there are at least encouraging signs that we’re headed in that direction.
We’ll see what the future holds for this team, its owner and of course the fans too, but maybe the answers to where we’ve been for the last 14 years and where we’re headed next were written nearly 500 years ago, by a mind more sinister than even Peter Angelos.