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Ravens Q&A time

Posted on 24 July 2008 by caseywillett

With today being a day at training camp that is off limits to fans and media, I thought this would be an opportunity for readers to submit questions and I will answer them as they regard the Ravens. This again will be a weekly and sometimes twice a week blog I will have here on the website.
Here are a couple of notes from late yesterday evening:
          Willis McGahee appeared to be in better shape than what he was when he was in town for the mandatory camps.
          Chris McAlister may be the happiest guy to be back at camp. Chris was smiling and joking with the media about how much he loves us, saying hello to everyone that works for the Ravens or the Best Western that was within 100 feet of him.
          Ray Lewis was wearing a new shirt he came up with. Ray usually has shirts that say Team 52 on the front. In the past on the back slogans such as Prayed up have been on there. Yesterday it said T52 on the front and Heart of a Lion on the back.
          As was predicted and I wrote last week, Terrell Suggs did not report to camp yesterday.
          Although it is called an Administrative Day today, the Ravens will have meetings most of the morning than a practice this afternoon. Reminder today is closed to the media.
          People at S.A.F.E. might want to learn what Ravens coaches and players look like. I can not count the amount of times over the last two days that coaches, players, and even veterans reporting have complained about getting interrogated by the security at the team hotel. The fact that someone had to verify John Harbaugh was the coach to let him into the hotel is crazy. Several of the coaches either walk or run from practice back to hotel and a couple of gotten stopped by security asking them for identification.
          John Harbaugh is so much about the team and not letting one person have the spot light, I wonder if he will allow the usual King Ugly contest to take place this year?
          Tomorrow morning will be the first time fans and media will get a chance to see the entire 2008 Ravens team on the field at 8:45 a.m. Of course Terrell Suggs will not be there as well as Samari Rolle as he prepares for his fathers funeral.
          It was funny yesterday to see several of the defensive veteran players walk in and run into Dan Cody and ask him what the practices have been like and have then been hitting and trying to get the details on what to expect. They were reminded that there was only 25 players there so there was not a lot that they could do.
          If I was taking a prediction, I think Dan Wilcox and Demetrius Williams, both start out on the physically unable to perform list (p.u.p.). I don’t think they will stay on it long, but it will allow them a week or so to recover to get back onto the field.
So fire away with any questions you might have.

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Big weekend for mixed martial arts

Posted on 31 May 2008 by caseywillett

This is a huge weekend for the sport of mixed martial arts. This is a weekend that if you are on the fence about mma, or have a half hearted interest, this could be the turning point.
First tonight in New Jersey is the debut of MMA on television, when Elite XC has its first ever card on CBS. This is going to be a huge event, the big hype around this card is for the first time a lot of the world will get to see Kimbo Slice. I am heading up to the show in a little while and am very excited about it. Also tonight you will see Gina Carano who people might recognize as Crush from the American Gladiators television show. Not only is Gina not bad to look at, but she can fight also. One of the other fights that I am looking forward to is Baltimore’s own and one of John Rallo’s prize students Binky Jones. Binky is an awesome fighter and even better person. I have had the privilege of taking classes with Binky at Ground Control and he  is very talented and can end a fight in a hurry on the ground.
Sunday night make sure you turn on Versus network at 9 p.m. to watch what might go down as one of the greatest fights in mixed martial arts history when the WEC featherweight title will be on the line when Jens Lil Evil Pulver takes on the champion The California Kid Urijah Faber. Urijah was on with Rob and John Rallo this past Thursday to talk about the fight. This fight would headline any MMA pay per view in the world, but it is free as long as you have Versus. Faber versus Pulver has been a fight that fans, media, other fighters, and everyone else has been hoping to see for a long time. These are two guys that are going to be in attack mode from the opening bell. I will bet you that if you watch this fight, you will be an awe of it. I will be in front of my television with a nice beverage and something to eat, because this will be must see television.
So a big weekend for the MMA sports world coming up. I am not sure as to what the access will be at the Elite XC show tonight in New Jersey, but hope to have some pictures and audio from the event later this week. I will also be doing a blog once I get to the Prudential Center this afternoon.

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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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