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Steve McNair at Camden Yards

Posted on 18 April 2008 by caseywillett

So being fortunate to stand on the field and watch Steve McNair throw out the first pitch tonight was a pretty cool experience. There was a long line to get an autograph from Steve and he stood there and signed. When Steve was introduced, many of the fans in attendance as well as the players applauded McNair.While Steve was waiting to walk out on the field, Steve watched the video tribute to him that was on the jumbotron and appeared as though he was about to tear up. Steve turned his head a couple of times from watching the video.
While Steve was walking out to the mound, Alex Rodriguez tipped his cap to Steve. After Steve threw out the first pitch, A-Rod walked over to McNair and shook his hand and told him that he enjoyed watching him play. McNair said he was taken back by having an athlete like A-Rod compliment him. The
You can listen to the entire interview after the first pitch in the Toyota LiveWeb audio vault. McNair talks about retirement, baseball, A-Rod, football, and what it was like this morning to wake up and not have to think about football.

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Jose Canseco mentions Peter Angelos in his new book

Posted on 10 April 2008 by caseywillett

So today I started reading Jose Canseco’s new book Vindicated. While reading the first chapter of the book, I came across the name of Peter Angelos.

Now to set this up, Jose is talking about how in the first book he had written a chapter about Roger Clemens, but was not allowed to publish it. He also talks about how he had done interviews on television and talked about Roger Clemens, but it never aired.

So Jose was convinced that someone was covering for Roger and making sure nothing came out about him. So to add credence to the theory of people covering for Roger, he had this to say starting on page 21 of his book and continuing onto page 22:

“I had been told that Peter Angleos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles, had written a scathing letter to HarperCollins, threatening to sue everyone associated with the book, and their grandmothers, if they included Palmeiro’s name in my book. In a previous incarnation, Angelos had been a much-feared Baltimore litigator, but HarperCollins wasn’t afraid of him or of the threatened lawsuit, and Palmeiro’s name was left in the book, just as I had written it.”

Jose goes on to allege that he believes, and admits it is a conspiracy theory, that MLB knew Palmerio had tested positive for steroids before he testified before Congress.

Jose thinks that baseball wanted Palmeiro to go to Congress and do the famous finger wagging act to make fans believe that anything Jose was saying was a lie and to shoot down any credibility anyone might have thought Jose had.

Remember people did not really start believing what Jose was saying or think there was any substance to it, until after Palmerio’s failed drug test was made public.


I have to admit, I can not put Jose’s book down. It is such an interesting read.

I will write another blog after I am finished with the book, but thought the part about Angelos was a pretty telling item and something that I had not heard anything about.

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Post game thoughts

Posted on 31 March 2008 by caseywillett

So the O’s are off to the 08 season with a loss to the Rays. Jeremy Guthrie was solid for the first couple of inning, and then started to get hit hard. Today is about what I expect that you will see out of Guthrie for the season, not great, but not horrible. He will give you about 5 innings of work and have to hope that your bullpen can hold the other team down. Good news for the O’s today was the performance of Matt Albers. Dave Trembley spoke highly of him after the game and said they were impressed with the job that he did today.
Offensively for the O’s, they are just not going to be a team that is going to score a lot of runs. I think they are going to be a NL style team. They are going to have to hope for 3-5 runs a night and hope that it is enough to give their pitcher the support that he needs.
The 1-4 hitters today were 4 -13 with 2 RBI’s ( Millar), the 5 – 9 hitters were a combined 2-13, you don’t give your pitcher a chance to win when you do that. It was so bad that after Kevin Millar’s double in the first inning, no Orioles made it past first base.
Some other notes from today:
          Aubrey Huff admitted that he said some stupid stuff when he went on his famous radio show this offseason and understands fans booing him. Admits that he would have booed to if he was a fan. Kevin Millar even admitted that he was booing Aubrey.
          Dave Trembley said the fans have the right to do whatever they want to do as it relates to Aubrey Huff
          Adam Jones said that the nerves he was expecting to have today were not there and that it all went away when the first ball was hit to him. He is trying to get use to the rubbery type substance that the warning track is made of, but says he does not see it being a problem.
          Rick Kranitz the O’s new pitching coach was in the clubhouse talking with Jeremy Guthrie after the game and going over some of the things that he noticed.
          Aubrey Huff and several of the other O’s said this is not the same Rays that have been playing in years past. Several of the hitters mentioned that Jamie Shields has some tremendous pitches and gets better as game goes on.
          Today was the first time since 2000 that an Oriole did not hit a homerun on opening day. Can you guess who leads the O’s on opening day homeruns?
          Today was the first Orioles home opener loss since 2000 when Mike Mussina suffered a 4-1 loss to the Indians
          One down 80 more to go

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Jamal vs Willis

Posted on 10 January 2008 by raybachman

I am a Willis McGahee fan. I think the Ravens made the right move by letting Jamal walk and bringing in Willis. But, after looking at their numbers, did they make the right move?
The Ravens decided that Jamal Lewis ran his course here in Baltimore. I agreed with their decision along with probably all of the other Raven fans. The Ravens sent their 3rd round and 7th round pick in last year’s draft along with their 2008 3rd round pick for Willis McGahee.
Here are their 2007 rushing stats :
McGahee is 26 years old. He had 1,207 yds / 4.1avg / 7 tds.
Jamal is 28 years old. He had 1,304 yds / 4.4 avg / 9 tds.
McGahee was given a 5-year deal worth 40 million bucks with a 15 million dollar bonus.
Lewis signed a 3.5 million dollar contract and ended up earning 5 million total for the year after incentives.
I still think the Ravens made the right move by getting McGahee. I think Jamal needed a change of scenery and it looked like Jamal was wearing down here in Baltimore. What do you think? Who got the better end of the deal? The Ravens or the Browns?

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Free The Birds…See The Birds…just go!

Posted on 19 September 2007 by Drew Forrester

In a manner perhaps similar to the Orioles and their much-too-often case of “scoring block”, I’ve had a couple of days of “writer’s block.”  It’s not that I don’t want to write something here, because I do.

But, in all fairness, what’s pertinent and topical this week?  Donovan McNabb?  No thanks.  I talked about it this morning and feel like I covered everything I could cover on my end.  Donovan has been the focal point of several media-generated “blow-ups” over the years and, frankly, on occasion he’s had a valid point.  This time, he’s dead wrong.  Not much else to say, or write.  He’s wrong.  Moving on…

Nothing noteworthy coming out of Owings Mills quite yet.  Most fans are off the ledge after Sunday’s scare vs. the Jets and Billick hasn’t called for a pass on a 3rd and inches this week, so the rabid anti-Billick legion doesn’t have anything to sink their teeth into on that issue.

The Orioles?  Hell, what else can be said or written?  12-0 losers again last night.  Half the team has stopped playing hard because the other half of the club has quit.  Roberts wants out, Tejada wants out, and no one wants in.  No one that matters wants in, I should say.

Monday night is Free The Birds2 at Camden Yards.  I’m going.  I’m going because it’s the last “live” baseball game I’m going to see in 2007.  I was going BEFORE Nestor unveiled plans for FTB2.  This was going to be my night to go, relax, sit in any seat I want, try and count how many people are REALLY there (my official guess for Monday – butts in seats:  4,209) and, perhaps, stay for the entire 9 innings, which I almost never do when I go to a game and sit in the press box.  Edit:  Greg Bader, you should know – and I hope you’ve been keeping an accurate count – that I worked 17 home games this season.  That’s basically 20% of the home schedule.  I doubt that gets me a season media credential next year, but I don’t care.  I proved you wrong this year.  And that’s WITH a baby arriving the first week of August.  Feel free to text me an apology.  Or is your cell phone still inoperable?  You haven’t returned a call/text since May.  I assume it’s still out of service.

So, keeping in mind I get up every day at 4:30 am (and once earlier in the night for Ethan’s feeding and a rundown of the west coast baseball scores…he likes to know what’s going on in the pennant races), I might stay for all 9 innings on Monday and I might not.  I might leave once the O’s fall behind 6-0.  I might leave once they make their first error of the game.

I don’t know what I’m doing Monday night, but I’m going.

I’m not going in protest.

I’m going to show my respects.

I’m going because about six players on the team have actually cared enough this year to put out a reasonably professional effort night in and night out.

I’m really hoping those six guys are GONE next year, because they don’t deserve to suffer with this losing anymore.

I’m going on Monday because it’s Fall.  And crisp air is the PERFECT weather for baseball, with all due respect to 97 and sunny with no breeze.  Baseball – the kind that matters – was meant to be played in September and October.

Every single one of you reading this hasn’t been to a September baseball game in Baltimore that mattered since 1997.


Yes, it’s been a long time.

So Monday night I’ll play make believe and close my eyes and pretend there are 42,000 there instead of 4,200.

I’ll close my eyes and pretend that Nick Markakis’ 3-run homer in the 8th inning gives the O’s a 5-3 lead and puts them three outs away from clinching the division title.

I’ll close my eyes and see the Royals out there with “KANSAS CITY” proudly emblazoned on their away jerseys.

Check that – the Royals ARE proud of KANSAS CITY.  That’s not a dream.  They really do have that on their away jerseys.

I’ll sit back, breathe in the fresh, Fall air, and start trying to figure out who I’m going to call for playoff tickets once the O’s clinch the division.

Monday night will be a night for dreaming.

It wasn’t so long ago that I didn’t have to dream about all of that stuff I wrote about above.

The Orioles made it all a reality.

These days, the reality they’ve made for us isn’t a dream.  It’s a nightmare.

They were supposed to fix it this year.  Come to think of it, they were supposed to fix it LAST year.  And the year before that.  And I’m thinking back in ’04 they promised us all it would get better.

I’m going out on Monday night to remind them – in my own, personal way – that I know that they know that I know that they know they promised us all it would get better – and that it hasn’t gotten any better.  In fact, it’s worse now than ever before.

I know it.

I’m going out there on Monday just to say that.  “Here I am…me and 4,200 other lunatics…watching a game that doesn’t matter again…just wanted you to know I’m not letting you guys off the hook.  Fix this franchise.  Thank you.”

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Faithful O’s fans seeing the REAL picture now?

Posted on 13 September 2007 by Drew Forrester

I had three interesting e-mails in my inbox today when I first arrived at WNST to prepare for the Comcast Morning Show.  One was from a frequent contributor, Bruce, who chastised me for NOT pounding on the O’s more over the last month or so, during this historically inept portion of the ’07 season.  For the uninitiated, right before Ravens training camp, with another losing baseball season on the horizon and enough aggravation since April to last me TWO seasons, I confessed that I was going to reduce my focus on the O’s and concentrate more on the Ravens and their upcoming season.  Naturally, the 30-3 walloping and the home sweep to Tampa Bay kept me talking O’s baseball — and even though I really didn’t want to follow what was going on, the embarrassing crowds, half-assed efforts by some of the players and the absolute rock-bottom results left me no option but to at least MENTION the team every day.  But, I’ll admit, I intentionally took it easy on them throughout August.   Why?  Well (and I even wrote this in a blog last month), I honestly started to feel sorry for them.  There are people on that team and in that organization who do NOT deserve to be affiliated with this fiasco.  And, with that in mind, I eased off the gas pedal a little bit.

And today, Bruce called me out for it.  He wrote, “Drew, you’ve become the voice of the people in this city who completely understand that what has happened to this organization is an outrage.  You need to be MORE vocal, not LESS vocal.  You know what’s going on down at the stadium is wrong.  YOU KNOW IT!  Speak out on it.”  There was more, but that was the general theme.

And he’s right, I guess.  I just lost my energy for pointing out the obvious.  And, in all reality, the team really doesn’t care what the fans think – and even though I’m on the air every day, I’m still a fan.  But they don’t care what I think, or what YOU think, or what Joe in Parkville thinks, or what Tom in Lutherville thinks or what anyone else thinks.  And that’s the truth.

The second e-mail I opened had a subject line of this:  FINALLY.

I opened it up.  It read, very simply:  “Drew, last night finished me off.  18-6…Tejada and Roberts not even trying to make major league plays.  A pitcher – Rocky Cherry – who has no business pitching in the majors.  And a manager who disgraced his profession with that embarrassing tirade aimed at the umpires.  I can’t take it anymore.  I have two games left to use in my 13-game plan.  I think I’ll just donate them to charity and pack it in for the season.”

And finally, Mark e-mailed me with this information:  “Drew, don’t know if you’ve had the chance to read Orioles Hangout today, but there’s a thread on the site started by Dipper9 (and there was a link attached) that you really need to read and, maybe, use on the air.  I’m a regular on O’s Hangout and this guy Dipper9 can’t stand you or WNST.  He’s always crushing you guys about how negative you all are and how none of you really care about the organization and how you don’t speak for the fans.  He always talks about how much he dislikes you.  Well, read the link I’ve provided.  Seems like Dipper9 might have seen the light last night at the stadium.”

So, I read the link (here it is…read it yourself…it’s the very first post of the thread) and found it so interesting that I actually talked about it on the air.  Orioles Hangout is a web-site that is generally dedicated to the Orioles franchise, although there is some general baseball content on the site as well.  The O’s Hangout regulars are probably the last of a dying breed in Baltimore.  The O’s could lose, well, 30-3, and someone on the site would start a thread that would read:  “Markakis goes 4-for-5 in 30-3 defeat” and 39 people would respond to that by commenting about how the team “ran into some bad luck tonight” or “things are going to get better real soon”, etc.  You get the picture.  It’s where most of the apologists gather to laud the team for the two good things they do each week and ignore the drastically diminishing attendance at OPACY, the race for last place with the Devil Rays, the club’s continued refusal to do the right thing and put BALTIMORE on the road jerseys and, overall, anything contributed by a “newbie” that is considered negative gets met with great venom by the regulars who don’t want to face the truth.

I assume, by the way, that virtually every major league sports franchise has an “O’s Hangout” type site.  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with Orioles Hangout or any other team-related site that serves as a quasi promotional vehicle for any organization.  In fact, the people who regularly post at O’s Hangout and still think the franchise is headed in the right direction deserve a medal of some kind from the club.  Really, they do.  Most of us, or at least the 500,000 or so who no longer go to the games, aren’t buying it anymore.

So Dipper9 went to last night’s game and finally saw the light.  5,000 people IN THE STANDS (15,000 announced), half the team NOT trying, a pitching staff that probaby couldn’t strike out Willie Mays Hayes from the movie Major League and a manager who has been so unfairly humiliated with this roster of rag-a-muffins he’s been given that he finally blew his top last night in one of the most shameful displays of anger we’ve seen in Baltimore in 20 years.

Three e-mails changed my morning.  They each served to remind me that we at WNST have been carrying a blazing torch in Baltimore for the last few years as we try to get the team to own up to their misgivings and strive to once again give us an organization and an on-field product we can all be proud of.  Steroids, a half-lunatic pitcher who throws at people anytime the going gets tough, a 27-run loss, 18 defeats in 21 games, a 10th straight losing season and – most importantly – fewer people IN THE SEATS than in any previous season at OPACY…you can be the most ardent O’s fan out there and I think, in your heart of hearts, you can’t possibly be proud of anything you’ve seen out there since opening day (Bedard and Markakis notwithstanding).

Last night, even Dipper9 had to face the stark reality that the remainder of 2007 might dawn a new O’s marketing slogan:  “You really don’t wanna be here for this…”

We all deserve better.  Especially the regulars at Orioles Hangout who have defended the franchise throughout this “decade of despair”.

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O’s good deeds are going unheard

Posted on 22 August 2007 by Drew Forrester

A couple of weeks back, Rick Maese of The Sun wrote a piece on the Orioles that documented their new community relations efforts and a program called OriolesREACH.  The article by Maese essentially indicated that the Orioles are going to be more aggressive with their out-bound PR – meaning they’ll now be a little bit more vocal when it comes to telling everyone in the community about the good work being done by their players and the organization in general.  Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that – the Ravens have perfected the art of self-promotion over the years and the media, in turn, does a fair bit of “back rub” coverage of Ravens players who are out and about in the community each week during the football season.  But it’s good for the community to see these athletes “giving back”…it validates that they realize their lifestyle and athlete status in town doesn’t make them any better or any more gifted than the rest of us…they just happen to play football, baseball, etc. for a living.

Fast forward to this week.  I received – and I can’t help but think it might have been an accident that the O’s PR staff forwarded me the information – a detailed OriolesREACH press release that chronicled all of the team’s community efforts for the next 7 days.  One of the player-driven events is a fund-raiser being held by Brian Roberts next Sunday to benefit the University of Maryland Medical Center.  As most of you know, I run the WNST charity golf outing each spring and I have first-hand knowledge of the work that goes into these kind of one-day fund-raising events and I also know how important it is to “get the word out” – after all, the more people who know about your event, the better chance you have of raising MORE money.

I was particularly intrigued by Roberts’ fund-raiser, although there were several other OriolesREACH programs going on this week that deserved attention as well.  To that end, I contacted the O’s PR department on Monday and asked if one of their PR/Community Relations representatives would like to come on my show and talk about OriolesREACH and, the events going on this week.  Additionally, in an effort to help Roberts sell as many of his $200 per-person tickets as possible, I invited him on the show (going through the PR department to request that appearance) and figured, with the team in town this week, it might be a convenient time for Roberts to get up at 9:00 am one day and spend 15-20 minutes with me on the phone to discuss his very worthy fund-raiser.

That e-mail request went out at noon on Monday.  It’s now 8:45 pm on Tuesday.  I’ve taken the liberty of writing the response I’ve received from the Orioles in the space below.  Here it is:

(                        )

No reply.

My first thought is this:  I wonder how pissed off Brian Roberts would be if he found out the team didn’t even notify him that the only local morning drive sports talk show in town gave him an open invitation to call-in at some point this week and promote the fund-raiser he’s running on Sunday night?

As a follow up to that question, if anyone out there wants to show Brian this and let him know he has an open invitation to come on the show this week, feel free to do so.  Brian, call me at 410-481-1570 anytime between 6a-10a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday and you can “own” the next 20 minutes.  I want to help you promote your worthwhile event.

The team’s failure to even return my e-mail is bothersome enough, but what kind of message are they sending to their players when they won’t even allow me or anyone at WNST to help promote what they’re doing in the community?

Somewhere, one of you reading this will say, “Why should the Orioles help YOU, and YOUR station, Drew?  Everyone in town knows there’s a battle going on between the Orioles and WNST.”

To which I would answer:  “We’re trying to help THEM.  We’re extending the olive branch.  We’d like to promote THEIR good deeds.”

The OriolesREACH information that I saw on Monday looks to me to be a very well developed program that extends the club into the community in a manner we should (and would) be proud of.

I assume they sent me the press release because they WANT me to talk about it on the air, right?  I mean, honestly, is there any other reason why they sent it out?  I know when I sent out community relations information during my days as the P.R. Director of the Blast that I did so with the hope that members of the media would find it worthy of on-air exposure.

So, why send it if you’re not going to allow me to talk about it?  Why tell me about this great event Brian Roberts is hosting and then not allow Brian to come on and promote it to the community?  Why tell me that Erik Bedard is going to be out on the town signing autographs on Thursday, then refuse to have one of your P.R. people come on the show to tell YOU where he’s going to be?

A lot of people think WNST has been too heavy handed with the Orioles over the last couple of years.

Well, at some point, – and I’m speaking for myself here – I’d like to see WNST and the Orioles have the same kind of relationship that the station has with the Ravens.  We cover the games, allow listener feedback on the good, the bad and the ugly and also serve as an outlet for the team’s efforts in the community that can only serve to bring us all together to be proud of our sports heritage in Baltimore.

So, because I would like to see WNST and the Orioles forge a new, better relationship, I offered them the opportunity to promote their OriolesREACH program and I also wanted to help their star player sell tickets to his fund-raiser this Sunday.

Sadly, WNST appears like we’re the only ones trying to improve the relationship.

I hope Brian’s event goes well.

I only wish more of you knew about it.

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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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