Tag Archive | "angelos"

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Your Monday Reality Check-O What A Weekend

Posted on 09 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

I receive plenty of ridiculous messages via Facebook, Twitter, email, text, phone and here at WNST.net every week. I have a soft spot in my heart for those many messages and those who send them.

On Sunday, one of the more ridiculous messages I’ve seen was brought to my attention on Twitter.

bet ur pissed Os are 3-0 and ur boycott isnt working

I won’t say who sent me the note because I have no idea if they’re an actual listener/reader or just a troll who was sent my way during my brief spat with Baltimore Orioles OF Adam Jones last week. There’s no particular reason to allow this person any attention anyway.

The statement here is so ridiculous that I will need a minute to address it. I’ll start with the notion that I’d be “pissed” about the O’s starting the season with a sweep of the Minnesota Twins. The note implies one of two things-either I’m not a fan of the Birds at all or I’m a fan who for some reason doesn’t want to see them win.

I’ll start with the notion that I’m somehow “not an Orioles fan”. Here’s a picture from Chase Field in 2007 when the Orioles visited the Arizona Diamondbacks and I was working at The Fan 1060 (KDUS) in Phoenix…

I looked almost exactly like that all weekend. I could probably post about 1,000 more pictures here-but you can check my personal Facebook page for your own proof. As Nestor Aparicio knows all too well, somehow asking for a team to get better translates into “not a fan” in the minds of folks who likely also believe their favorite band WANTS to be known as a sellout. I’m a Baltimore Orioles fan, plain and simple.

The next thought would be that I for some reason don’t want the team to win. This is an all-too-often misconception related to WNST’s “Free The Birds” campaign that I have openly supported since its’ inception in 2006. I’d like to come back to this in a second.

The final part of the statement “your boycott isn’t working” reflects an absolute lack of knowledge about “Free The Birds” in general. To some, it is incomprehensible that I can both believe a current regime is incapable of creating a quality product but yet appreciate the product when it shows to be of quality.

Before heading in to see the Birds open the season against the Twinkies Friday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I wandered across Pratt Street to chat with fellow fans at Luna Del Sea. I had a great time hanging out, talking baseball and promoting FTB. Two listeners in particular approached me to say “thank you” for defending those who believe in our cry (and also the cries of groups like “Occupy Eutaw Street”) on my show last Thursday. I engaged in a great back and forth in which I reiterated a statement that I feel must be repeated.

“Free The Birds to me has only ever been about one thing-making the team better. It’s not anything personal about players, managers, general managers or even (wait for it) owners. If the Orioles can get better and baseball can become relevant in Charm City again with Peter Angelos as owner I will owe a debt of gratitude to the man. I just don’t really believe it will happen.”

Free The Birds isn’t a “boycott”. Free The Birds is ABSOLUTELY not a statement that we don’t support the Baltimore Orioles when they take the field. Those misconceptions will exist in the minds of some forever, but it won’t make them true. Free The Birds (for me) is simply a belief and statement that losing is NOT okay.

That concept alone is apparently not even enough for all to agree. That’s fine. Not every fan has to demand quality from the entity they support. The fact that Bon Jovi has managed to sell plenty of concert tickets over the course of the last decade is living proof of that.

The fact is, I want quality from the Baltimore Orioles and I don’t believe it will happen with Peter Angelos as owner. But my belief/expectation will never be cause for me to “hope” or “root” against such an occurrence. As many of you are aware, I don’t pick the Baltimore Ravens to win every football game they play. There hasn’t been one time in my life however that I wasn’t rooting for them to show me just how little I know.

I root against my own belief that the Orioles will fail to succeed under the control of Peter Angelos. I OPENLY root against it.

Like many years during what I’ve called “The Rock Bottom Era” here in Baltimore, the Birds got off to a hot start this weekend. Pitchers Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter and Jason Hammel combined to allow ONE run over 22 innings pitched. That number seems so impossible I’ve actually quadruple-checked it.

After an Opening Day sellout, another crowd of 30,000 plus took in Saturday night’s game (there was even a buzz about it at Power Plant Live as I was leaving the Alabama Shakes show at Rams Head Live). Sunday’s crowd looked all too “Baltimorean”, but the Easter holiday clearly had something to do with it.

(Oh and I didn’t even mention the awesomeness of the orange uniforms Saturday night. The last time I’ve wanted an article of clothing so badly was the first time Stone Cold Steve Austin donned a knee brace.)

It was an awesome weekend that left the city buzzing. It makes Monday a happier day to be in the state of Maryland than it would have been otherwise.

It doesn’t mean things have changed with the Orioles organization. It doesn’t mean the Birds will be 6-0 when the New York Yankees leave town. It absolutely doesn’t mean the AL East should be on notice. It means we’ve had way more fun as fans for three days than we would have otherwise.

Of course, maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe this weekend marked an official turnaround for the Orioles. Maybe the excitement of eliminating the Boston Red Sox last September truly carried over and this type of baseball will be a reality for the Birds all season.

Maybe the Orioles truly are better despite an offseason that made us believe they might be worse.

Let me repeat that. Maybe this weekend was a sign that the Orioles really are better. I don’t believe it, but I’d love to be wrong.

If they are, Free The Birds is a success. This is all we’ve ever wanted.

-G

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Top 10 Stupid Things “Real Baltimore Orioles Fans” Say To Defend Angelos

Posted on 01 April 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

TOP 10 STUPID THINGS ORIOLES FANS IN BALTIMORE SAY TO DEFEND PETER G. ANGELOS:

10. “Hey Nestor, if you don’t pipe down and start encouraging more people to buy Orioles tickets, Peter Angelos will get his feelings hurt and move the team…”

This was addressed here at WNST.net at length and is only No. 10 because there are nine more stupid things I’ve heard because this one is a virtual “never going to happen” scenario. Anyone who thinks the Orioles are leaving Baltimore because the stadium is empty is simply an idiot.

9. “Look at the attendance. They’re losing money. There’s no way he can make money with an empty stadium.”

This is exactly what Angelos hopes you believe and you take pity on him. I swear for the few remaining Orioles apologists there’s a Stockholm Syndrome at work. The worse he treats the community the more some defend him.

8. “I’ll care about them when they start winning…”

Over the next few days we’ll show you that winning isn’t even a part of the financial equation. Trying to win would actually be a far greater financial risk of tens of millions of dollars and we’ll explain it all. But we’ll address “Excuse No. 8” plenty.


7. “We’re rebuilding the farm system via the draft…”

This is a joke when the Orioles continually chose “slot players” and spent a decade ignoring every Scott Boras client or anyone who wanted legitimate “free market” money.

6. “I don’t give Angelos any of my money…”

YES, you do. See the $38 per year on your cable bill if you’re in Maryland.

5. “Give them a chance! They just hired Dan Duquette…”

On a personal level, I’m looking forward to Duquette shooting some morbid videos at his desk (like the ones MacFail made famous) on the tail-end of the many losing streaks the 2012 Orioles will undoubtedly endure. If you see the Saturday Night Live skit quality of his interviews and laughs (I always see a Dan Aykroyd awkwardness…)

4. “It’s disrespectful to Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters and Brian Roberts to complain. The players are trying hard. You’re not a REAL fan if you complain…”

Just so you know, the club has lied to all three of these guys repeatedly as well about trying to improve the team. They always say they’re going to be active in free agency. They always talk about adding to the farm base. Grow the arms, buy the bats? Remember that? The truth is the players who have talent on the team deserve better than to wake up the day after the Super Bowl and see Jeremy Guthrie traded away for a bag of baseballs.

3. “Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy are coming soon…”

The kids on the farm? When has this organization EVER consistently produced talent from the farm system? It’s like these clowns have no clue. This is the Orioles’ broadcast team’s favorite crutch – telling us to go to Delmarva to watch the next phenom.

2. “Look, the Orioles were losing LONG before Angelos came to town. So don’t blame Peter. They didn’t win under Jacobs and EBW’s money didn’t help them after 1983…”

Angelos inherited crowds of 3.6 million per year, Cal Ripken and a beautiful stadium that was the toast of baseball. Any references to the team before 1993 is just a stupid, meaningless argument. But I still hear people make this one…

And the No. 1, Stupid Things Orioles Fans Say is…

 1. “New York and Boston spend too much money…”

The Orioles play in the “always tough” American League East. It was Andy MacFail’s favorite crutch and “go to” line. We can’t compete with the Yankees and the Red Sox. They generate too much revenue. We need a television network.

When I approached Andy MacFail at the University of Baltimore appearance last year, it was the one question that would level the playing field for his favorite excuse.

Here’s how the cowardly former V.P. chose to answer it and speak to the fans and a very legitimate question:

Angelos spoke at length in 2006 with Pressbox and guaranteed the fans that when the MASN money came, it would be spent to improve the team.

This team has become an annuity for Angelos and his heirs…to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars of siphoned revenues from your pockets.

Either you think that’s unfair or you don’t.

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Flanagan

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Chapter 10: Imagine a Baltimore without the Orioles

Posted on 14 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

(Originally published as a prelude to the “Free The Birds” walkout in Sept. 2006, this is Part 10 of a 19 Chapter Series on How Baseball and the Orioles berthed WNST.net. This is an unedited version of the original post without updates regarding Mike Flanagan’s suicide.)

Mike Flanagan is as close to an Orioles’ kindred spirit as I have in the world. Maybe Jim Palmer and Elrod Hendricks and Jimmy Tyler could be thrown in there as well, because they’ve seemed as omnipresent as my fandom of the Orioles.

But, Flanagan is really ” The One,” because in real terms, he’s been with the Orioles as long as I’ve been with the Orioles. And no one else I know, other than my Mom, has stayed in my life all of these years and still keeps popping up.

He came up in 1975, and I really started regularly going to games around that time, when I was 6.

I remember when he first came up, the expectations, the rotation — with Jim Palmer, Scott McGregor and Dennis Martinez, every night was trouble for some AL team — and I probably spent 80 nights of my life inside Memorial Stadium watching Mike Flanagan pitch.

From 1977 to 1984 he never had a sub-par season, only many very good ones and a couple of great ones. He left the Orioles just once — for two-plus years, pitching for the Blue Jays after a trade deadline deal in 1987.

In 1979, he won 23 games and led that magical team every time Earl Weaver threw him out there. It was his best year in baseball. It was mine too!

In 1992, he began his broadcasting career. That’s the same year I left The Evening Sun and went on the radio.

In 2003, he became part of “management”. In early 2005, I did the same thing.

But, even though we’ve gotten to know each other over the years — with him at one point walking up to me (when I didn’t even know he knew I existed) in the late 1990’s and admitting that he was a fan of MINE and addicted to “Nasty Nationwide” and listened every day with his daughter — on that last game at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 6, 1991, Mike Flanagan was just a childhood hero to me. He was, in some ways, larger than life because when I was 10 years old, he took the hill every couple of nights for the centerpiece of my life, the Baltimore Orioles.

Mike Flanagan was one of MY guys! My mood hung on every pitch he threw!
So on that sad-yet-uplifting and chilly October afternoon in 1991 — surrounded by a disgusting Redskins fan actually watching a football game on her laptop TV in Sect. 34 — it was me, Mike Flanagan, my memories of my youth and my best friend Kevin Eck (he keeps popping up doesn’t he!), along with 54,000 others just like us gathering for one of the biggest public tearjerkers in the history of this city.

If you didn’t spend your childhood at Memorial Stadium, you can probably stop reading or listening right around now.

Because you just won’t understand it. You couldn’t possibly think it is anything beyond silly.

It is truly a “Ball’mer thing.”

But EVERYONE who has ever loved the Orioles remembers

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The Orioles will be better next year — and more new lies after The MacFailure

Posted on 28 September 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

Our cool, growing (and still free!) sports media company had another great B2B-Business To Business event last week in Towson with @CoachBillick and an old friend and reader of WNST.net approached me and asked the eternal Orioles question:

“So, Nasty, I’ve read all of the issues regarding the Orioles and Mike Flanagan and Andy MacPhail and Free The Birds, but what are we as fans going to do? You need to offer solutions…”

Well, virtually every human being I’ve spoken to over the last three years – and I still have a ton of friends in upper management at Major League Baseball and all over the league — has concurred: this just isn’t going to change on the field as long as Peter Angelos is involved in Baltimore baseball ownership.

But, of course, I came to that conclusion five years ago when I did the original Free The Birds rally and campaign because in my mind – and time has proven me correct – this was long past the point of no return with the local community and most people of integrity within the baseball community in 2006.

And what I’ve come to realize is that this REALLY bugs the hell out of my internet critics – the fact that I’ve been right and honest and accurate all along.

I don’t think it took any “orange Nostradamus” or 19 chapters and 75,000 words worth of my book to predict that this civic nightmare would continue given Angelos’ tactics, mindset, age and propensity through his 82 years on the planet to want to fight with people. He sues people for a living.

I knew a long time ago that it was getting worse and not better. I knew it was going to become an easy $50 million annual profit center given the deal that Angelos negotiated with Major League Baseball once the Washington Nationals were hatched. I wanted to believe he was telling the truth in 2006 but he clearly wasn’t honest and indeed got the “last laugh.”

But I must say my worst fears of where this sick tale was going in 2006 never really factored in the possibility that Mike Flanagan would be committing suicide five years later in the middle of a fifth consecutive last-place season.

But I’m not at all surprised that the team has finished in last place every year since Free The Birds.

And I’ve now spent four full years without a press pass for this last-place debacle and sick civic disgrace while the team’s head of baseball operations runs away from me at public functions when I ask a few questions.

I’ve been asking myself for a month how the Orioles are going to handle this offseason of obvious unparalleled despair. Despite the kid gloves Captain Profit Andy MacPhail has been treated with here by his local media co-workers who are disguised as journalists — his tenure here is now complete and was a large, profitable “MacFailure” .

He’s slithering out of town in the dead of the night after changing exactly NOTHING about the Baltimore Orioles in real terms, other than the profit line. Oh, and there’s the spring training home in Sarasota that was 15 years overdue – and now another publicly-aided profit center — I don’t see anything about the farm system, the future or the current state of the roster that’s appreciably better than before.

I know this much: four years, four last-place finishes. That’s the record. It is what it is.

The whole franchise stinks.

What happens to Buck Showalter is anyone’s guess but word is he’ll be the new poobah in charge of “baseball operations” at 10:07 p.m. after Red Sox playoff magic leaves the Charm City – and all that really means is that he’s the next victim who will make a few million and go back to where he came from (in this case Dallas) a few years later with a tainted resume and some more losses and evenings of angst.

Of course, if he really thinks Angelos is committed to winning a World Series, angst is only the beginning.

Just 13 months ago Showalter said he knew what he was getting into with Angelos

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USA Today says MacPhail to resign at end of season

Posted on 30 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

Although this shouldn’t come as a shocker to anyone who has examined the Orioles’ management situation following another last place finish, the USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported tonight that Orioles general manager Andy MacPhail is expected to resign at season’s end.

His quote to Nightengale was typical slippery MacPhail: “Let’s just get to the end of the year and see what unfolds,” he said. “We’ll see. We’ll see.”

Nightengale’s full piece is available HERE.

This is what the USA Today reported tonight:

MacPhail, according to two high-ranking Orioles officials, is expected to resign from his general manager’s position. The officials are not authorized to discuss the decision publicly because it is not official.

Of course from my perspective, it’ll be interesting to see if Buck Showalter senses that there’s any reason to hang around but as Andy says: “We’ll see. We’ll see.”

Comments are welcomed below…

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New York Daily News says Angelos family jerked around Flanagan before suicide

Posted on 27 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

As I said during my fill-in shift yesterday on WNST-AM 1570, there will be an appropriate time later for more observations regarding why Mike Flanagan took his own life Wednesday with a gun to his head. But with the New York Yankees coming to town and so many of Flanny’s old teammates searching for answers, it hasn’t taken long for the national media to start getting to the heart of the truth of this tragedy that many in the local media are too cowardly to report.

Friday’s editions of the New York Daily News contained a well-sourced story by respected, long-time MLB writer Bill Madden, who spent time with Yes broadcaster and longtime Orioles teammate Ken Singleton and former Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli discussing Flanagan’s recent path.

Madden is getting the same information many in the Baltimore media are getting regarding the typical treatment that Peter Angelos affords his employees and long-time Orioles legends:

“Among the other distressing stories going around Thursday was that Flanagan never got over being jerked around by Angelos and the owner’s son, John, over his broadcasting contract – one that apparently never was consummated – last year. That, too, conceivably contributed to the financial distress his friends say he was dealing with.”

You can read the whole story in the New York Daily News.

More stories continue to unfold as many of us who loved Mike Flanagan are searching for more clues in his tragic death.

But, again, don’t expect any of the “bought off” media in Baltimore to report the facts. The facts about Peter Angelos and the Orioles never seem to make the headlines in Baltimore, where about 90% of all reporters in town are frightened about losing their press credentials or getting pulled up by their bosses, who want to sell advertising to the Orioles and Angelos’ lawfirm.

You might have to rely on Gerry Sandusky and WNST to get the truth at this point given what I’ve seen in the local media.

You haven’t heard the end of this story.

Far from it…

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Former Baltimore Colts great Bubba Smith dead at 66

Posted on 03 August 2011 by WNST Staff

As first reported by The Los Angeles Times, former Baltimore Colts defensive end and tackle Bubba Smith was found dead in Los Angeles today at the age of 66.

The Times reported: “The L.A. County coroner’s office said it has not determined a cause of death, but officials believe he died of natural causes. Smith was found at his home on Sunlight Place in Baldwin Hills by a caretaker, police said.”

His myriad of work — on the field and off the field, from starring roles in the Police Academy films to his famous words about Super Bowl III as a member of the losing Baltimore Colts — will all be examined at length all day on Thursday at WNST.net.

Whether you knew him as Bubba Smith the defensive monster or Hightower in the police uniform or the pitchman for a bunch of local downtown Baltimore lawyers, everyone has a memory of No. 78.

If you have a Bubba Smith memory, feel free to post below.

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Horse race or horse’s arse: Is Kegasus smart for Baltimore and Preakness Day?

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

So, it’s been almost two months since the Mighty Kegasus advertising campaign began and it’s now almost time to fully assess the success of the marketing of the 2011 Preakness. So far, so good in the only measurement that really matters — sales are up 21% for Saturday infield tickets. I said it on Day One and no matter the result of selling a few thousand extra tickets and mugs of Budweiser this week, my strong opinion has only intensified since I began seeing the billboards all over town – this is the dumbest, most short-sighted and irresponsible advertising campaign since Winston told America it “tastes good, like a suicide should.”

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Shame on Tom Chuckas. Shame on the marketing idiots in Washington, D.C. who spit this out and shame on anyone who thinks this somehow will add prestige to an event and a weekend in Baltimore that’s in desperate need of not just short-term-revenue gain and a little “shot in the arm” for attendance but a real transplant for its reputation and its future as a viable “major sporting event” and not just a weekend drunkfest with frat boys and the girls who love them.

As much as I lean on the Orioles for their indiscretions and lack of a focus on integrity – mainly issues of transparency, honesty, accountability, chronic losing, bullying, faux civic and community interest all while profiteering and buying off of the local “real media”– even the Orioles aren’t this dumb.

But as desperate as the fan base is in Baltimore to see them win, Peter Angelos is far from desperate on the marketing side because he’s printing money downtown off the television contract. The Maryland Jockey Club doesn’t have a public subsidy of $100 million each year so this is the kind of desperation you’d be getting from the baseball team if they REALLY needed to fill those bleachers.

The Orioles slogan has been for almost 15 years – “Come To Birdland” not “Come Downtown and Get S**tfaced and Make a Fool of Yourself.” But, of course, the Orioles FANS are desperate to see wins but the Orioles are NOT desperate for revenue, profit or a financial shot in the arm. It’s only made to look that way when they upcharge (or is it scalp?) you on Opening Day and charge you a “walk up fee” to take advantage of a stadium our tax dollars just paid $10 million more to replace the perfectly unused seats, so much like Angelos himself can earn a retirement home on the blue shores of Florida.

And where the Orioles have employed various forms of “alcohol police” in the bleachers at Camden Yards who literally walk seat-to-seat and card people to make sure they’re 21 (NO, I’m NOT making this up!)  this Saturday the Preakness folks are rolling out the world’s largest frat party and have moved toward marketing it as such.

Kegasus? Really?

This is what you want the Preakness to be?

The ogre of Baltimore, on a horse, completely equipped to be a “legendary” a**hole on the third Saturday of May – and now with unprecedented pre-approval and encouragement because the billboards all over town are selling the event as such.

Who in the world thought this was a good idea for this community, the brand of the Preakness or the long-term viability of horse racing? It’s the day of the year that is supposed to matter and the focus isn’t on the race but more on how big the party in the infield will be and whether or not bare-chested women will parading on the shoulders of men for tips.

There is no more focus on the growth of the industry on the third Saturday of May. There is no more talk about whether the race will even be in Baltimore in five years. Instead, the community is hearing: “Come be legendary!”

Does Under Armour really want a million-dollar

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Here’s what I think about Derrek Lee

Posted on 31 December 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

The signing today of Derrek Lee is a classic Orioles move.

End of the year. Low dollars. Low risk.

It gives the team an aging, qualified first baseman, who will be a nice fit on a potential 4th-place, 75-win team. He’s another Kevin Millar at this point in his career.

Lee will hit .254 with 18 HR and 65 RBI. Big freaking deal.

Peter Angelos just put $10 million back in his pocket that he didn’t give to Adam Dunn. Once again: Angelos wins in the pocket and the fans have a lousy baseball team and the city sits empty all summer. I’ve seen it for too long.

Happy New Year, Orioles fans. Buck Showalter now once again has the worst first basemen in the AL East to try to win with.

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Angelos

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As purple Festivus season is upon us, alas the real Grinch continues to be Peter G. Angelos

Posted on 24 December 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been 51 months now since the initial “Free The Birds” campaign that we launched at WNST.net in “Year Nine of The Black Cat” and motivated more than 2,000 other brave souls who said “enough is enough” to Peter Angelos and the losing and nasty ways of the Baltimore Orioles.

The holiday results are in yet again for another sad orange offseason and I’m feeling pretty confident — as is Las Vegas — that the Baltimore Orioles will not be a playoff team in 2011.

And the real reason the team won’t win this year is the same as last year and the year before that: they won’t (or can’t) spend all of the millions of dollars they have managed to extract from this community via their incredibly wealthy and lean “regional sports network” called MASN.

Angelos

We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in direct profit that was allegedly to be spent on improving the baseball team for the community to enjoy. But instead of the $150 million payrolls that were promised to “compete with the likes of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox,” that previously earmarked U.S. money donated by Middle Atlantic cable subscribers is in the pockets of Peter G. Angelos. Along with about $20 million more each year since Andy MacPhail took over in 2007 and slashed the payroll, bought off the local media and preached “young” to the fans while winking “cheap” at the owner that he just made a cool, clean profit for and shared in the financial windfall.

And like any other billionaire businessman without a soul for the pride of his own company and what it represents in the community, all of a sudden it’s very hard for any of them to part with “guaranteed money in the bank.” Especially when there’s no financial upside to giving the likes of Carl Crawford or Adrian Beltre or Cliff Lee tens of millions of guaranteed money when winning is so far from being a reality in the AL East that even the once-prideful Angelos has clearly quit on trying to win for the fans of the Baltimore Orioles.

Adam LaRoche or Derrek Lee? This is what it’s come down to for the Orioles as Santa brings goodies and toys and playoff-caliber baseball elsewhere to even the likes of Milwaukee.

If you’re trying to be a .500 team signing the “leftovers” and “growing the arms” might be a strategy. But, really, is the bar a World Series title for Baltimore or is the bar set at being in third place and making $50 million in profit?

The Orioles are so grossly pathetic at this point that no credentialed Major League Baseball player with any other option this side of Pittsburgh will elect to come and play here. And the remaining few lost souls in the fan base are so desperate for any morsel of progress that they’ve even given Buck Showalter a hall pass for lying

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