Come one, come all!
As a matter of fact, I hope more than one of you actually COME to Oriole Park at Camden Yards tonight where a few hopeless losers like me will set forth a few last phantom, hollow cheers for another season that never was.
That’s 11 in a row on my watch. The Orioles haven’t played a meaningful game since October 1997. And the crowds have withered to virtual nothingness.
I know you probably haven’t noticed through the servings of the Purple Kool Aid on MASN, but they’ve now quietly lost eight in a row. And they’ve won six times since August 17th.
“Wake Me Up When September Ends” indeed…
How bad is it?
Well, the team has $1 tickets available tonight and most of the city doesn’t even think it’s worth that. There might be 5,000 in the park tonight. It’s kinda like a minor league baseball game or something out of “Major League,” which 20 years ago was just a funny movie about the Indians and Cleveland.
At this point, it’s the current state of Baltimore baseball. Empty seats that the Orioles can’t beg people to come and sit in for ONE DOLLAR!
So, why are we going tonight? Well, our “Crabs and Beer” curator Glenn Clark purchased eight tickets last week for $8 and decided that bringing seven friends tonight would be a cheap date and some good fun.
(Honestly, I think he’s just trying to poke me into doing “Free The Birds 3″ tonight.)
But I’m not biting…
For the record, I’ll be wearing my FREE THE BIRDS gear tonight. Not to elicit a parade or a mini FTB3 event. It’s just simply to tell them that I’m still here. And I still care. And that they still suck. And the last place freefall over the last month just reinforces that they still suck.
They have to win three of their last four to get to 70 wins. In March we called Las Vegas and the “over/under” was 67. As we toss back frosted adult beverages tonight at Regi’s and the Wharf Rat, they have exactly 67 wins. For those of you who bet the over, good luck! You have a REAL reason to come to the game tonight! LMAO…
Andy McPhail has repeatedly exposed himself to me as a coward and a weak company man. He, like his boss who’s gone back into a self-imposed exile while the fans vanish from downtown, doesn’t want to take legitimate questions from legitimate journalists.
I’ve now spent two seasons exiled from “Birdland,” being disallowed to do what I’ve done to feed my family since I was 15 years old. (And yes, I had a family at 15!)
In case you’re keeping score, the Orioles have complied a record of 139-189 since the Sept. 21, 2006 original “walkout” that we called a Rally. And it was a Rally. And I did cry out for positive change.
I’ve heard many people “credit” WNST for all of the changes with the Orioles. We don’t want any of the credit and I certainly can’t accept any of the blame for this continuing fiasco.
We can debate and celebrate the merits of McPhail’s changes and specifically the trades to obtain Luke Scott, Adam Jones and George Sherrill. And we can talk about the pending promise of Matt Wieters or Brad Bergeson. And we can discuss how Aubrey Huff “let his bat doing the talking” this season. And we can fete Brian Roberts for being the greatest soldier of them all, especially when he could’ve been lacing them up in Wrigley Field next week on a World Series contender.
Sure, like every other organization, the Orioles have some “bright spots.” But as Bill Parcells would say, “they are what they are.”
And that’s 67-90 and with a standing eight-game losing streak and a 6-27 record since Aug. 17th.
They are, by any standard, the worst team in Major League Baseball right NOW. If the season started all over again today and they played with these Bad News Bears, they might rival that crappy Detroit Tigers team from a few years ago. They might win 40 games over the next 162 as is. And to think they have 40 players available on the big-league roster at this time of the year and this is the best they can do?
I watched the latest slapstick at The Yard last night, dropping a 5-1 lead to the Rays in the nightcap and watching Mr. Happy, Dave Trembley, face the firing squad of his co-workers in the press room.
(Here’s where I’ll use the internet to “geese” a bit…and no, I don’t know if the Greaseman is dead but I sure hope he’s not. I really like(d) Doug and I absolutely admired him as a listener and marvel at his work as a colleague. If he really is dead, I’ll write something. If he isn’t, I’ll probably give him a call to tell him how big of a fan I really was (although he’s heard that before)!
Back to “geese-ing”…I actually have covered sports long enough now (since 1984) to remember in vivid color the post-game press conferences of Frank Robinson and Johnny Oates before all the lights and cameras of MASN glaring down on you in front of a Wayne’s World set in the basement of the stadium. I remember when they were simple desk chats in the manager’s office with Sparky Anderson over a post-game spread with his feet on the desk and him spraying you with barbeque while you talked baseball with him. He was an absolute gem!
I suppose we’re forever relegated to watching these “pressers” — as we call them — on TV. It’s really the same crap I’d get if I had a press pass and I don’t have to look at snarling naked athletes or get sneered at by some 22-year old dude who doesn’t know where Charles Street is.)
In the words of Bob Haynie, but I digress…
We’re going to the game tonight. We’re starting at Regi’s at 4. We’ll go to the Wharf Rat around 5:30ish. We’ll have a few beers. We’ll eat some food. And we’ll walk to the game.
If you want to join us, the price is certainly right – even in this economy.
If you want to sit with some real “old school” Orioles fans and be amongst some nice people, c’mon down!
It ain’t “Free The Birds 3.”
I didn’t have the energy to do it all again. I’m busy building Baltimore’s No. 1 sports media company and website.
I tried “See The Birds.”
I tried selling group tickets for those ingrates. I’ve tried digging down to find some iota of honest-to-God enthusiasm for the team through the few personalities who appear to be engaging. (For the record, I’m a big fan of Kevin Millar, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Jeremy Guthrie.)
I even offered them a “season of amnesty” – an olive branch — which I’ve held true to for the most part (even amidst more of their old-world Marxist policies and mean-spiritedness and evasiveness and general bullying).
Even though they’re creeps, I’ll stand by “amnesty” because I’m peaceful person. And I love the Orioles.
I want a better baseball team and a better experience with the team and the brand and the uniforms and the people that I fell in love with as a little boy in 1972 and followed like family for most of my life.
And even though Baltimore deserves better after building that palace downtown for the baseball team 20 years ago, it doesn’t appear that there’s any substantial change on the horizon. And the games are going away for another six months after this weekend. So I won’t have the opportunity to see how lame this all is again until April.
And I’ll go back and investigate and see if it’s more fun in 2009 with “Baltimore” on the road jerseys for the first time since I was a little boy.
I sincerely doubt it, but I’ll keep giving it try. I still really love baseball when it’s done right. And we love it so much that it will most certainly dominate our lives beginning next week when the playoff games star shot-gunning out all day long.
Playoff baseball and the fall of the leaves and the crisp autumn air…I live for that stuff!
I honestly don’t know what tonight represents, other than the 2nd Anniversary of “Free The Birds” and the 11th season of this organization disgracing Baltimore and the traditions of the Orioles.
We — Glenn, Drew, me and anyone else who wants to come — have no agenda other than to try to have some fun at the ballpark with friends, old and new.
So tonight I will make a few hours to “wave bye-bye” (in the words and voice of Jon Miller) to the season of 2008.
The 11th year of the black hole of Baltimore baseball sports ownership.
They are limping into last place.
They’ve won six times since August 17th!
There’s only one place to go from there, right?
They’ve finally set themselves up for success.
It can’t get any worse than last place with a thud.
They’re bound to claim a victory sometime soon. Maybe it’s tonight?
And they’re bound to come “really close” to signing Mark Teixiera (or Free Agent X) who signs elsewhere.
They clearly just won’t have the money, despite MASN printing gobs of money of that they don’t want you to know about.
Blah, blah, blah. Lies, damned lies and the Orioles.
Just let me know when Peter Angelos comes out of his cave and answers some questions from the “free” press. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a conversation with one of his employees like Roch Kubatko or Amber Theoharis sometime soon with overflowing optimism for the 2009 campaign. Exclusively on MASN, of course. The channel no one watches and the website no one visits.
It’s been two years since “Free The Birds” and the words in my 19 chapters still resonate honestly and the Orioles are still my first love.
Free The Birds 3?
Tonight, we’ll just have a little fun…
And let ‘em know we’re still watching. And we’re still waiting for them not to be so mean and to not suck anymore.
I’m not holding my breath!
(Thank god for the Ravens and this Pittsburgh bus trip and football on Monday night!)