Tag Archive | "camden"

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All the news that’s fit to print

Posted on 12 October 2007 by emilyagueda

You have to question society as a whole when headlines like “O’s help MLB break all-time attendance record in ’07” land in a business paper.  Because the Baltimore Business Journal forces a subscription to view many of their articles, I am going to cut and paste it now for your viewing.

O’s help MLB break all-time attendance record in ’07

Baltimore Business Journal – by Eric Fisher Street&Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal

With a fourth straight all-time attendance record in the books, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig already is looking ahead to 2008 and the chance to top 80 million in overall attendance for the first time ever.

“Some of our marketing people may be worried about attendance next year, but I’m not,” said Selig, who daily monitors what remains baseball’s largest single revenue source. “There was a point where we couldn’t have dreamed the numbers would be this good. But as I’ve said many times, this is a clear manifestation of all the changes, all the work we’ve done over the years.”

MLB finished the 2007 regular season with a total attendance of 79.5 million, 4.5 percent ahead of last year and 18 percent ahead of the league total from just five years ago.

Twenty-three of 30 clubs recorded year-over-year attendance gains, up from 20 in 2006. That includes the Baltimore Orioles, who drew 2.16 million fans in 80 home dates in 2007, despite posting the club’s 10th straight losing season. The Orioles drew 2.15 million fans in 81 home dates in 2006.

The first and best way to help right what is going so wrong in baseball is to impeach Bud Selig.  His track record during this season speaks for itself with his low class dealings over the Barry Bonds record situation.

If Bud ever set foot in Camden Yards he would know that change is coming and Bud and Peter need to just open their eyes to see it.  This season has already dealt a fatal blow to my beloved winter league in Puerto Rico.   Seeing the green empty seats in Camden Yards all season makes me really nervous.

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Which song by The Smiths should be O’s theme?

Posted on 29 August 2007 by Drew Forrester

So I was OPACY tonight – hung around through 5 innings.  Sat next to Stan Charles and chatted about baseball and the O’s with him for about an hour.  It was a nice, relaxing evening in the press box.  The 4-1 lead looked safe, although I was a tad nervous when the Rays cut it to 4-3.  Home runs from Hernandez and Huff made it 6-3 and I figured this one was probably “in the books”.

I got home shortly after 9pm and my wife and I buckled Ethan into his stroller and took him out for a walk in the neighborhood.  It was 6-3 as we departed the house.

20 minutes later, I walk in and from the upstairs TV, I hear Jim Hunter say, “…and that makes it ten-six Devil Rays…”


Are you freakin’ kidding me?

It got worse, of course.  10-6 became 14-6…an 11-run 8th inning for the Rays.  Even in that 30-3 ass-thumping a week ago, the O’s didn’t give up 11 runs in an inning.

The final is now in: 15-8 Tampa Bay.  That’s 7-straight losses for ‘dem O’s.  I guess all that extra infield practice and team meeting prior to this evening’s game didn’t do a whole lot.

I got about 15 text messages during that 8th inning from friends who were either at the game or watching it on TV.  Virtually every one of those included expletives that I’d rather not share here on this site.

But I’m not letting this collapse bother me.  Remember…last week I wrote a blog about how I feel sorry for the team now.  And I still do.  I’m no longer mad.  I’m kind of numb to it all.  I feel bad for Trembley.  He’s trying to win a Triple Crown horse race with a colt who has an infected hoof.  “Ain’t gonna happen”, as Charley Eckman would say back in the day.

I feel bad for Millar.  And Bako.  And Roberts.  And Patterson.  Markakis…Payton…Tejada…all of ’em, really.  Some of those guys really don’t deserve this.  Hell, I’d almost go as far as saying NO ONE on the roster deserves this, in all honesty.  But some of those players out there tonight made this bed.  Now they have to put their head on the pillow and get comfy under the sheets.  They wanted Perlozzo out.  They got him out.  They wanted Trembley.  They got him.  Sleep tight, men.

So here now, is the real question.  What song from The Smiths best exemplifies the current state of the Orioles and their 2007 season?

Would it be:  “Heaven knows I’m miserable now” — or — “That joke isn’t funny anymore” ??

What a choice, huh?  I mean, every Orioles fan is probably downright miserable now, what with this 7-game losing skid.  And that bullpen – the JOKE they’ve become – well, it really isn’t funny anymore.  It’s painful.

There is ONE more Smiths song to consider that could be appropriate right now.

“Please, please, please let me get what I want.” — ha ha

How about a win?

Tomorrow, please.

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Game report – Texas at Baltimore

Posted on 23 August 2007 by Drew Forrester

(BALTIMORE) — The Texas Rangers used a mixture of solid running and pinpoint passing to humble the Baltimore Orioles, 30-3 tonight in Baltimore.

The Orioles jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a 37-yard field goal from Nick Markakis, but Texas rallied to go ahead 14-3 on a 9-yard TD run by Marlon Byrd and a 4-yard scamper by Travis Metcalf.

“We just never got untracked after they scored those two quick touchdowns,” said O’s leader Dave Trembley afterwards.  “When we jumped out to that 3-0 lead, I figured all was good…but our defense just couldn’t hold them down tonight.”

Texas later tacked on 10 more points when Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from David Murphy, followed shortly thereafter by a field goal from Kason Gabbard, who improved to 6-1 as a starter for Texas.

“Those two scores really hurt,” said Orioles quarterback Kevin Millar.  “At 14-3, we were still in the game.  But once they got up 24-3, we figured it was going to be a long night.”

The night got longer when Texas put 6 more points on the board just as time expired, the final score coming on a 99-yard kick-off return by Ramon Vazquez.  The extra-point was no good, making the final score 30-3.

“I think that final touchdown by Vazquez was sort-of bush league,” remarked Melvin Mora.  “I mean, why score on us there?  In front of our fans?  To humiliate us like that in our stadium?  Well, they’ll pay for that someday down the road.”

Fans requesting a refund for the game are urged to contact the Orioles office directly.

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Wild Bill Hagy would enjoy this…

Posted on 21 August 2007 by Drew Forrester

I get a lot of e-mail submissions from listeners.  Some are funny.  Some, like this one, are treasures.  I’m sure, at his favorite new watering hole in the sky, Wild Bill is on a computer reading this and getting a belly laugh.  Marc, a Comcast Morning Show listener, e-mailed this to me this morning.

Please note that this is NOT from the Orioles.  This is a fictitious, listener-created statement.  It’s all in good fun.  Enjoy…

Orioles statement on the passing of Wild Bill Hagy

The Orioles organization is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of “Wild Bill” Hagy. While Orioles management can not condone the type of behavior displayed by Mr. Hagy, and reminds fans that similar behavior will result in immediate ejection from Oriole Park at Camden Yards, we understand that his antics were very popular to the unsophisticated masses who frequented Memorial Park. In addition, the Orioles in no way encourage the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages for which Mr. Hagy was known, no matter how uninteresting our on-field product may be. Lastly, the Orioles organization cautions fans that any cheering not initiated by the stadium scoreboards displaying either “Let’s Hear It O’s Fans” or “Turn It Up O’s Fans,” including but not limited to, fans spelling O-R-I-O-L-E-S by contorting their bodies in the shape of the letters, must be preceded by a written request to the Orioles Director of Ball Park Entertainment 90 days prior to attending the Orioles game in which said action is intended to take place.

Mr. Hagy was apparently one of the great characters of the Baltimore sports landscape and was a true die-hard Orioles fan, supporting the club year in and year out, not unlike the Washington-area businesses that we are honored to have lease our sky boxes each season. Though none of us in the current Orioles organization ever met “Wild Bill” and few of us were even aware of his existence, we extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, but ask that they refrain from personally attending Orioles games due to the fact that their unkempt appearance is not in accordance with the Oriole Park dress code.

A moment of silence will be held in Mr. Hagy’s memory before tonight’s Orioles-Rangers game. Fans will recognize this moment of silence because it will be the only time during the game that our antiquated scoreboard and public address system, which the rotten Maryland Stadium Authority has refused to update at their expense because they like the Ravens better than us, will not blare snippets of pop music or display fan-friendly games such as Guess Which Hat the Baseball is Under.

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Wild Bill Hagy … give that fan —

Posted on 21 August 2007 by Drew Forrester

— a spot in the Orioles Hall of Fame.

I know the team is going to honor Wild Bill Hagy with a moment of silence tonight. And that IS a nice gesture. But, I’ve been racking my brain all day, trying to think of what the team SHOULD do to honor his memory, yet not make any revenue off the gesture.

The answer is so easy, even a dummy like me can endorse it.

Put Wild Bill Hagy in the team’s Hall of Fame. Broadcasters are part of team’s Halls of Fame all the time — and they never make a play, kick a field goal or score a goal. If broadcasters can be enshrined, why can’t the best fan of all time?

In Hagy’s case, it wasn’t that he was the MODEL fan — after all, anyone who got within a section or two of “34” in the ’70s and 80s might have thought they were at a Grateful Dead concert instead of a baseball game. I attended over 300 games in my youth/young adulthood and I probably sat in the upper deck, right field side at least 80% of the time. It was, for any of you who recall, a “happening” unlike any other at Memorial Stadium. Sure, there were some funny cigarettes passed around and there was A LOT of beer consumed up there, but those folks in 34 did something even more excessive than party. They cheered. And rooted hard. And no one made it a happening like Wild Bill Hagy. He was, without question, the ringleader.

When’s the last time you went to a baseball game and your entire section had a great time? How long has it been? Some of you might say Free The Birds last September 21 … and yes, the left field upper deck did slightly resemble “the good old times” of Section 34, minus the uh, cannabis, although I’m sure a few of you might have even honored Wild Bill in your own special way last September 21 when we all got together.

It’s been so long since the baseball stadium in Baltimore was “the place to be seen.”

But this blog and my discussion tomorrow morning won’t center on why OPACY is no longer a happening. I’m not chasing that ghost anymore this season.

This blog is all about Wild Bill, the memories and what the team could do to honor the man who, practically, brought people to the stadium with his energy, enthusiasm and love for “dem Os”. He was one of their best marketing tools ever.

He belongs in the team’s Hall of Fame. As fans go, is he — or is he not — a “Hall of Famer”? Yes or no? Of course he is.

You’ll hear a tepid response from the team — maybe. Something like, “While we appreciate the memories that Mr. Hagy created back in the 1970s and 1980s, we believe the Orioles Hall of Fame should be reserved for playing personnel and members of the team’s front office only.”

Half of those people in the front office owe their careers to Wild Bill Hagy, truth be known.

Here’s a personal Wild Bill story that I can finally share. In the 1992-93 indoor soccer season, I had Charley Eckman contact Hagy for me and offer an introduction. I got on the phone and asked Wild Bill to come out to one of our games against an archrival, the Cleveland Crunch. Hagy said, “I don’t know nothin’ about soccer, Drew, I’m afraid I wouldn’t do a lot of good for you.” I said, “Wild Bill, we’re the team in white … anytime we do something good and people get rowdy, you lead the way.”

He agreed to come out and do a cameo appearance for the Spirit vs. Cleveland game. I asked him what his fee was and he said, “I’m not charging you anything since you know Eckman and he says you’re a right guy. But if anyone asks you how much I charge, tell ’em I asked for $500 …” I thanked him and he said, “you will have free beer for me, right?” Of course, we did.

He came out that night and, like he half-predicted, he wasn’t really in tune with the game and certainly didn’t have anywhere near the impact he did in the baseball business. But we brought him down to the field, let him kick out the first ball and, for a night, Wild Bill was a star again and the 11,000 in attendance that evening got to shower him with applause and a standing ovation. There were tears in his eyes as he walked off the field. We were televising the game that night and Eckman was in the booth. I mentioned to Hagy that Eckman was waving at him and Wild Bill took off his hat and waved it at Charley in the press box.

The Orioles should take off their hats and wave them at Hagy as well.  And then, maybe a little too late, but certainly it’s better late than never, they should wave Wild Bill into the Hall of Fame of Baltimore Orioles baseball.

If I had the time, I could probably think of 34 reasons to let him in.

But there’s really only one reason.

He made baseball in Baltimore fun.

There’s a generation of us out there tonight who can’t say “thank you” enough.


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Mark my words — this weekend will…

Posted on 13 August 2007 by Drew Forrester

…stick with the O’s for a while.

And it will stick with them for a variety of reasons.

First, of course, they beat the Red Sox twice.  Well, I guess it would be fair to say they didn’t really beat the RED SOX twice…rather, Eric Gagne lost a couple of games for Boston.  Hey, they signed the guy…what’s the old saying?  “Caveat Emptor” — let the buyer beware.  I think Baby Ethan might throw harder than Gagne does now.  Wow…they thought he was going to get them over the top come playoff time?  “Holy-undependable, Batman”…how quickly Gagne has become a liability.

Anyway, those two wins – regardless of how they were achieved – were good for the O’s.  A 6-3 mark against the Yanks so far this season and a couple of triumphs over the best team in baseball are proof that “on any given day”, the Birds can compete.

But this weekend will stick with the Orioles for other reasons as well.

The post-game bitch sessions from Brian Roberts and Dave Trembley after Friday’s game showed that the engineers of the ON-FIELD product are taking notice of the OFF-FIELD efforts.  And they’re not happy about it.  Roberts and Trembley conveniently tried to blame the fans, of course, but in their heart of hearts, they both know who’s to blame.  And it’s NOT Baltimore baseball fans.

This weekend also represented a missed opportunity for the club to capitalize on the positive home-town P.R. that could have been generated with the announcement of a Matt Wieters signing.  Remember how the Yankees announced Clemens’ return this past May?

They waited until they had a home game…and then waited until the 7th inning…and then they allowed Roger to address the crowd.  The place went wild…fans appreciated the way the announcement was made…and everyone lived happily ever after.

The O’s should have ended this Wieters negotiation by Friday, had the kid in here on Saturday and did a two-day “Wieters Dog and Pony Show” before sending him out 1-70 west to Frederick for the next four weeks.

They didn’t sign him, of course.  Now, IF they were talking to the media (and telling the truth), you’d hear words like “slotting” and “embargos” and “protocol” from the O’s brass.  They’d want to convince you that they have to follow a certain set of strict rules in signing Wieters and announcing it.  Actually, the league generally approves EVERY announcement a team wants to make with regard to their draft pick…they just want to make sure the contract falls within the parameters of the standard player agreement so that no one player (particularly a rookie) gets to shape his agreement in a manner that might upset the standardization of the rookie contract.  Every agent wants HIS player to be the special-case guy…the player who gets the guaranteed September call-up…or the whopping signing bonus…etc.

They didn’t sign Wieters yet for only one reason:  Money.  Their inability to announce Wieters this weekend had nothing at all to do with slotting or protocol.  They didn’t announce his signing because they don’t yet have a deal and the deadline is August 15.

How sad is that?  Here’s a club with a payroll of $85 million this year and a TV network that generates about $96 million in revenue and another $50 million in ticket sales and they’re going to haggle over a million bucks with a kid who could help them turn their franchise around if he’s all he’s cracked up to be.  Boy, talking about getting your employment off to a good start, huh?  The kid wants to come to work and his employer would rather have him sit out in the lobby while they continue to review his resume.  Silly, if you ask me.

Lastly, I was galvanized by the Roberts-Trembley tissue-fest on Friday night.  And by the Orioles play over the weekend against an obviously superior Boston team.

I’m sure the team doesn’t care if I’m “re-energized”, but I am.  There are times when I find some of their blunders so puzzling that I laugh, then say, “why do I even care about that team anymore?”.  But, just when I’m thinking it might be time to give-up and NEVER again talk about their civic duty to the fans of Baltimore, or their responsibility to the fiscal growth of downtown Baltimore, or re-storing BALTIMORE to the road jerseys…something happens and I get red-bulled-up and say, “This is still a fight worth fighting…”

All I want is for the club to treat the fans the right way.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  Just show the fans of BALTIMORE that you appreciate them…it’s been a long time since that kind of respect was on display from the ballclub.

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Roberts and Trembley have a right to be mad…

Posted on 12 August 2007 by Drew Forrester

Now…it’s starting to get good.

For once, WNST isn’t being called on the carpet for being “the bad guy” or the “sh*t stirrer”.

Last night, Brian Roberts and manager Dave Trembley broke out their straws and did ALL the stirring necessary.

And guess what?  They both have a right to be mad.

The problem?  Their post-game tirades following Friday’s game with the Red Sox were directed at the wrong people.

I agree with Roberts.  Having all those Boston fans invade OPACY is “getting old”.  You’re right about that, BRob.  But if you think that’s the people of BALTIMORE’S fault, you’re mistaken, bro.  That’s YOUR EMPLOYER’S fault.

And for Dave Trembley to say, “shame on those people that left early”…well, hold on a second there skipper while I get myself ready to respond to that.

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Are you kidding me, Dave?  Your team (the one you inherited) has dropped about a dozen or so games precisely like the one you nearly squandered on Friday night before Eric Gagne and his 87mph fast ball gift wrapped the O’s a shocking win.  Do you realize that?  The people who left early did so because they’ve seen that act so many times this year they’ve got all the lines memorized.

“Shame on those people that left early?”

How about this, Dave?  “Thanks to the 25,000 Orioles fans who DID show up tonight, otherwise there would have been 25,000 Boston fans in the place and about 6,000 O’s supporters.”

Hey Dave, ponder this:

Shame on the Orioles for putting the fans through 10 straight losing seasons.  Shame on the Orioles for not signing Vlad Guerrero a few years back.  Shame on the O’s for hiring Lee Mazzilli.  Shame on the O’s for not having Baltimore on the road jerseys.  Shame on the O’s for not honoring the ’66 World Series team.  Shame on the O’s for signing Deivi Cruz, Rick Hellling, Omar Daal, David Segui and passing them off to the fans as “players who are going to help us win.”

Shall I go on?

I feel bad for Roberts, actually, because he’s one of the few guys on the team who will be out somewhere in the city tomorrow morning having a coffee and a bagel…he’ll have to see all those Boston fans wandering around the Inner Harbor again before they take over the ballpark one more time.  Roberts is a guy who puts his best effort out there every night and I’m sure it pisses him off to no end to see Wily Mo Pena get a freakin’ standing ovation after his key 8th inning hit on Friday night.

But Roberts has ZERO business being angry with the fans who didn’t show up on Friday and allowed the Red Sox faithful to turn the place into Fenway Park South.  I’ve never heard Brian complain on a Tuesday night in May when 9,000 are in OPACY to watch the O’s and Blue Jays, for example.  I get it now…it’s better to have 35,000 empty seats and NONE of the other team’s fans in the park than to have NO EMPTY SEATS and 25,000 of the other team’s fans on hand?  OK…I might buy that players-only-logic, since Brian gets his however-many-millions no matter what the crowds are in Baltimore.

But for Roberts and Trembley to call out the fans last night…wow…talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

I’ve got a suggestion for Trembley and Roberts.  Go to the powers-that-be in The Warehouse on Monday and ask THEM when the crowds are going to start coming back to the ballpark.

Don’t ask the fans when THEY are coming back.  Ask the team when they’re going to try and re-connect with the city.

I’ve got an idea for you, BRob.  Ask Communications Director Greg Bader if you can stop by the WNST studios sometime in the next week or so and do a couple of hours of radio with me, Haynie, Long or Popovec.  Tell Greg you’d like to take some calls from “the fans” and see if you can figure out for yourself why people aren’t coming.  Go ahead, ask Greg Bader that question.

As for Trembley, I’d ask your front office execs which #2 free-agent pitcher they’re going to fetch for you in the off-season.  I’d start quizzing them NOW…”hey guys, we need a couple of big bats in the off-season…who we going after?”  You’ve been in baseball a long time, Dave…stop by the marketing offices or poke your head in the lunch room while John Angelos is having his chicken salad sandwich and ask – nicely of course – “hey, gang, how come we eschew what is basically a long-time baseball tradition and don’t have BALTIMORE on our road jerseys?”.  You’ll get a bunch of big marketing buzz words like “branding” and “regionalization” and “awareness” – none of which will make any sense to you since you’re “just” a baseball guy and you know the word “BALTIMORE” has to be on the front of the team’s road uniforms, just like the rest of us know it as well.

I’m here to say that what happened on Friday night is good.

For a long time now, a lot of people in town have been openly critical of the club’s marketing, PR and ticketing efforts and most of those folks (I’m one of them) have been labeled, “self-promoters”, “publicity-stunt seekers”, “fair weather fans” and “negative”.

For once, the people ON THE FIELD are starting to see what’s wrong OFF THE FIELD.

When I say things are wrong off the field, I’m just being “negative”.  When Roberts or Trembley notice the same things I notice, they’re lauded for their honesty.

It doesn’t matter how it happens, but the organization has to figure out that they either MUST get this franchise fixed – and that goes for ON and OFF the field – or they’ll have no one in the ballpark in 2-3 years.

Once the in-fighting begins among your own, you know the problem has reached new heights.

I laughed like hell when I heard Roberts and Trembley speak after Friday’s game.

Finally, some new voices — singing the same old tune.

Music to my ears…

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O’s can do the right thing this weekend…

Posted on 10 August 2007 by Drew Forrester

…now the only question that remains:  Will they?

The deadline is rapidly approaching for the Orioles to sign their 2007 1st round draft pick, catcher-wonder-boy Matt Wieters.

The deal must be done on or before August 15.

Wieters is – and this is a thought echoed by virtually every reputable major league scout – a virtual “can’t miss” prospect.  How the Orioles stumbled upon him and actually made the RIGHT pick for once is mysterious, but they now have the chance to get him in the fold and help solidify the future of the catching position in Baltimore (oops…I meant to write: the catching position in the Middle Atlantic region – don’t want to offend any of you reading this in Smyrna, DE or Fairfax, VA).

So, that brings us to this weekend.

Here it is, nearly mid-August and once again, the O’s are an afterthought in the American League East.  To that end, football season has started here in Baltimore (oops, I mean, “the region”) and it was just a week ago that an announced crowd of 25,000 wandered out to steamy M&T Bank Stadium to watch the Ravens and Redskins play what basically amounted to a 2-hour session of flag football.  The Orioles can’t draw 25,000 live bodies for two weeknight games in a row and the football team had 25,000 or so in the stadium in 100 degree heat to watch a glorified two-team practice session.  My point?  Football is upon us – and another season of disappointing baseball is winding down.

This weekend, though…the Orioles could steal some of the pigskin spotlight AND, at the same time, reward their fans for hanging in there with them through this “decade of despair”.

I know the Birds don’t take well to ideas that originate on WNST – but this is a directive they should absolutely follow at some point this Saturday or Sunday.


That IS a directive.  Do it.  Get it done.  For once, think about the FANS first and the money and/or your pride second.

We are all aware that the club has to deal with Scott Boras in the Wieters negotiations.  And that means, like it or not, “the kid” is gonna win the fight.

He wants $10 million to sign.  EVERYONE in baseball knows that is his number.  He’s a bonafide future All-Star, if all the experts are right.

The Orioles have been losing for 10 years.  No free agents want to come here.  The fan base has dwindled down to “family and friends” over the last six years.

Let’s see – who has the leverage?  The O’s?  Or Matt Wieters?

Hmmm…would the answer be, “Matt Wieters”?  Yep, it would.

Give him the money.  Stop pussy-footing around over the $500k or whatever it is that you’re haggling over…and just give Wieters the money, have him throw out the first pitch on Saturday or Sunday, and show the fans you really ARE worried about winning and losing.

And, that’s winning and losing ON THE FIELD.

Sure, if they cave in and give him the $10 mil, they’ll feel like losers at the bargaining table.  Well, that’s the price you pay for losing ten straight seasons.

Here’s the funniest part of the whole thing:  The Orioles ARE going to sign Matt Wieters.  And they ARE going to give him $10 million to sign.  That IS going to happen either on or before August 15.

So, given that, why on earth wouldn’t they just get him signed right now and let him stroll out there to the pitcher’s mound with his chest puffed out and his wallet stuffed with money on Sunday and toss a ball to Paul Bako (you know he’ll be behind the plate on Sunday)?  Don’t let the team head off to New York next week and then sign Wieters at the 11th hour next Wednesday and lose the chance to show him off to the faithful THIS weekend.  Sign him EARLY…give in a little…hell, the fans have been giving in since 1998 or so…the team needs to give in a little and understand it’s time they take advantage of the very rare positive PR chances they’re presented with and act on them.

I know the crowds this weekend will look more like Fenway Park at Camden Yards than Oriole Park at Camden Yards and that’s even more of a reason to pull off this signing-stunt.  Let the Red Sox faithful sit there for 10 minutes and soak in the fact that the team is once again SERIOUS about competing in the American League East.  Matt Wieters is one of the first steps they can take to proving that point to the fans both in Baltimore and Boston.

The spotlight is once again on the Orioles.  Will they do the RIGHT thing this weekend and get this done in front of the hometown faithful?

If they care about their fans, they will.

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NEWS ALERT!! O’s are promoting again…

Posted on 09 August 2007 by 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”.

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They love a good fight…

Posted on 03 August 2007 by Drew Forrester

Anyone else read the Baltimore Business Journal today?

There’s a very interesting article in there about the Middle Atlantic Sports Network.  You might want to read it (here it is). The story is on the front page, in the upper left corner.

You will note – in the article – that MASN is now pressuring Time Warner and the federal government to have MASN placed on its most popular “tier” of cable TV service providers…so that they can potentially charge a premium for MASN sometime down the road.

Billboards, advertising, internet banners…MASN is going out of its way in North Carolina to encourage residents to petition the government, cable providers, etc.

So — that’s where MY money for MASN on my local Comcast provider is going, huh?

We’re all paying $2.00 a month so that MASN can launch advertising campaigns in North Carolina?  Forget the fact that there are media outlets in Maryland (ahem, I know of ONE, directly) that haven’t seen a dime of MASN advertising money.  There are a bunch of web-sites out there – mostly up and running to promote baseball in this market – that could use a $500 banner advertising check from MASN every three months or so.  Instead of helping web-sites like…for example…”The Loss Column” (they are so pro-Orioles it almost looks like the team owns the site) with an advertising check every couple of months, the MASN folks are busy buying advertising on web-sites in NORTH CAROLINA.  Instead of advertising on WNST – I’ve talked so much Orioles baseball this spring/summer that some people think I am actually on the take from the club – or buying an ad or two for Mark Suchy’s or Rex Snider’s weekend show on WNST..they’re buying ads on a radio station in NORTH CAROLINA.  Instead of buying an ad in The Essex Times or The Towson Times or the Maryland Gazette down in Glen Burnie…they’re buying newspaper ads in NORTH CAROLINA.

I thought we were all paying $2.00 a month to MASN so they can funnel the proceeds back into the Orioles organization to get us players — like Matt Wieters, for example.  Or, this off-season, a guy like Jermaine Dye…or maybe (gulp), even Alex Rodriguez.

Gotta give the MASN folks credit — like their brethren at Camden Yards, they love to fight.

All of this information just gives Orioles fans everywhere more reason to expect BIG things this off-season.  The more money that MASN generates in Maryland and every other surrounding state, the more money they can spend on pitching, power hitters and winning baseball teams.

The Orioles payroll this season is $85 million.  That’s what it was in 1997.

Come to think of it, they DO need more money.

Come on North Carolina, pony up some dough.

I don’t want to have to shell out $3.50 per-month next year.

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