Dear Mr. Angelos:
First of all, this is not hate mail. I am simply writing to you as a concerned Orioles fan. It is not my intention to debase you or your actions in any way by writing this letter. I wish only to bring to your attention something that has affected my life greatly.
My father’s name is Ezra Buchdahl. He was born on November 10, 1965, and is currently 46 years old. He has attended thousands of Orioles games throughout the years. He sat rows behind Wild Bill Hagy in the heyday of “Orioles Magic.” He watched as Tippy Martinez picked off three runners in the same inning. He was at Memorial Stadium for Game 1 of the 1983 World Series just months later. He cried from the upper deck while watching the final innings played in that same stadium. He was at Oriole Park at Camden Yards to watch Cal Ripken, Jr., tie and the next day break, Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak. In his lifetime, my dad has seen the Orioles win 8 American League East titles, 6 American League pennants, and 3 World Series championships. He has witnessed 3 different Orioles win the AL MVP Award. He has seen 4 Orioles win the AL Cy Young Award and 4 different Rookie of the Year Award winners. He has also seen 10 different Gold Glove winners, many of whom did so multiple times. Undoubtedly, my dad has seen some of the greatest moments in the history of this ball club.
My name is Max Buchdahl. I was born on March 20, 1996, and I am currently 16 years old. My family raised me to be the die-hard Orioles fan that I currently am. Over these past 16 years, I have attended hundreds of Orioles games, both at home and on the road. My dad took me to my first game when I was just three months old. At age five, I could name every player on the team and their number. I could name the numbers of past players, as well as their positions. I cried in my living room as my early childhood hero, Cal Ripken Jr., retired from the game he loved. I watched as young players like Luis Matos, Larry Bigbie, David Newhan, and Sidney Ponson failed to stay healthy and consistent.
I threw my hands in the air when I heard we had signed veterans such as Sammy Sosa and Javy Lopez, only to see them throw away the final years of their careers in the Charm City. My dad let me stay up past my bed-time to watch my other hero, Rafael Palmeiro, record his 3,000th hit. Just weeks later, I listened to the radio as he failed a drug test. I scratched my head as Miguel Tejada refused to run to first on a ground ball. My dad told me to never even think about doing that. I cried while watching my favorite group of 25 men lose to the Texas Rangers, 30-3. I have cheered while watching my team draw within two games of the AL East division lead at the All-Star break, only to fall apart during the second half of the season. I have been forced to endure endless chants of “Let’s Go Red Sox” in OUR ballpark because people don’t want to watch a losing team. The last time the Orioles had a winning season, I was only a year and a half old. As far as I am concerned, I have given way too much for this team considering what I’ve received in return; heartbreak, sorrow, and shame.
My concern, however, is far more universal. I often wear Orioles gear to school. Words cannot describe what I feel when my friends say, “Oh, the Orioles suck. They’re a waste of space. Go Yankees!” I would much rather be an Orioles fan than stoop to the level of the millions of bandwagon Yankees fans. But with a ballpark as beautiful as Camden Yards, and in a city where we’ve seen “Orioles Magic” sweep through like wildfire, this team should be a source of pride, not shame. Baltimore natives should feel proud of their hometown team, not forced to follow another.
After all that I have said, you may be wondering what I am really getting at. Before we get a competitive team back on the field, the city of Baltimore deserves an answer for the past 14 years. An explanation for why we have had to go through these years of heartbreak. Don’t worry, I am not saying that you have all of these sacred answers. But, as the owner of the team, I am interested to hear your insight into the situation. Why, for the past 14 years, have we not experienced October baseball? And more importantly, what can we do to turn things around? What is happening within the organization right now that will provide us with a winning baseball team?
Thank you for your time, patience, and understanding while reading this letter. I would like to stress again that I mean no harm or insult by writing this, all I want is an answer. All I want is a winning baseball team.
Thank you again,