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The Peter Principles (Ch. 2): The error of tyranny at Camden Yards

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 2): The error of tyranny at Camden Yards

Posted on 30 March 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

2. A Tyrant Is Born

 

“Our fan support is beyond words. If we had enough seats, we’d surpass every other club. Our expenditures were long overdue in light of the fan support and rather meager compared to the expenditures of other clubs over the years. We felt we had some catching up to do, that the previous ownership had not done all it could to repay the fans, to give them what they deserve. We’re going to operate major league baseball in Maryland in a different way. We’re committed to making the club as competitive as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

–  Peter G. Angelos, as told to Ross Newhan of The Los Angeles Times, March 27, 1994

 

IN THE SPRING OF 1994, on the eve of a work stoppage that would cancel the World Series for the first time in the history of Major League Baseball, a book was published that became a handbook for anyone who wanted to see behind the greasy curtains of the business of baseball. This “tell all” for those who could think beyond what was on the back of a bubble gum card wasn’t penned by legendary Major League Baseball Players’ Association head Marvin Miller, but it certainly came from the somewhat sympathetic perspective of the plight of the players vs. the owners in the annals of the sport’s history in America.

The only problem with any “bias” in it was rooted, much like this Peter Principles series, in nothing but facts. Cold hard facts – all well sourced – that reflect the reality of the business of baseball. It told of the institution of institutionalized racism, classism, elitism, intimidation, coercion and lies amongst a world of wealthy all-white males doing business with an anti-trust exemption in the 21st century.

The 1994 book is called Lords Of The Realm and if you take no other advice from this manifesto about the Baltimore Orioles history under Peter Angelos, pick it up and give it a read. It’s impossible to sum up 75 years of baseball history in a few sentences here but to discuss the history and business of Major League Baseball over the last century would require a bar of soap, some disinfectant, warm water and a towel. Drugs, scandals, cheats, louses, greedy and/or crazy owners, racism, violence, civic shakedowns, and lack of government oversight have plagued baseball through the years. But the marketing machines insist on red, white and blue, the American flag, “God Bless America,” hot dogs and virtuous intentions for your children to idolize from crib to grave. Go watch the Ken Burns PBS series, Baseball, and you’ll see that there’s nothing more important in the universe than the sanctity of baseball history, records, heroes and civic connection to Americana.

According to some people, anyway.

Baseball owners have tried to control their public message for a hundred years and then journalists have come forward to expose all of the dirty laundry of the sport over the century.

By any measure of history, Peter G. Angelos fits right into the old boys club of Major League Baseball owners. Now, more than 20 years into his residency, it’s easy to measure his role in the pantheon of tyrannical, egotistical and iconoclastic baseball owners right up against George Steinbrenner, Charlie Finley, Bill Veeck, Auggie Busch or any of the other “Lords” as John Helyar put it in his book 20 years ago this month.

Peter Angelos bought the best and most valuable franchise in Major League Baseball in August 1993. It was the most expensive franchise in North America. Previous Orioles owner Eli Jacobs had hosted the Queen of England and the President of The United States in his shoddy, mezzanine hut on 33rd Street at Memorial Stadium and he had only controlled the team for less than four years. Owning a Major League Baseball allowed him the opportunity to sit with not only the rich but also the famous, infamous and influential. Angelos was a blue-collar attorney from East Baltimore who hit the legal lottery with an asbestos case that made him wealthy almost overnight. So, if his background portended a man who wanted to not only be rich but also desired to be famous and highly influential in the political space, then Angelos got his eternal wish with the purchase of the Baltimore Orioles.

In 1993, no one had ever heard of Peter Angelos outside of East Baltimore. By early 1994, he made sure that everyone who had ever heard of the Baltimore Orioles had heard his name and saw his image.

It started the day that he bought the team and returned to Baltimore a reigning hero and clearly in charge of the new Orioles ownership group. There were more questions than answers that day with so many prominent names involved and such civic interest in every facet of Angelos’ intentions. Angelos only won one election but this was akin to him giving a victory speech and outlining his platform for the future of the pride and joy of Baltimore – its baseball team.

“I’ll have ultimate authority in all matters, from the smallest things to the major things,” said Angelos, who said his title would be managing partner of the Orioles. “But I don’t brandish that as some kind of club, and I would hope it would never have to be used. I don’t think it will be.”

On August 4, 1993, The Sun reported this:

The baseball side of the Orioles isn’t likely to change dramatically with Mr. Angelos in charge. He said he generally supports the team’s current plan of grooming young players, rather than resorting to signing more expensive free-agent players. And he said that his goal as owner would be to give the fans a competitive team that occasionally brings home the biggest prize.

Winning a World Series “should be the goal for every team,” he said. “But that is not the sole

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Orioles linked to Hammel, Cruz at baseball’s Winter Meetings

Posted on 09 December 2013 by WNST Staff

Baseball’s Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista are underway, and with the Orioles still looking to add a big bat or starting pitcher to their 25-man roster, Orioles VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette is already hard at work making some calls to agents of the game’s best players.

FoxSports’ Ken Rosenthal and NBCSports’ Craig Calcaterra report that Duquette has met with agent Mitch Frankel, who represents former Rangers OF Nelson Cruz as well as free agent starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.

Cruz, a two-time All-Star with 157 career home runs, hit .266 with 27 HRs and 86 RBIs in 109 games in 2013 before being accused of buying performance-enhancing drugs from a clinic in Miami during the BioGenesis scandal.

Colon, 40, went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA for the A’s this season and owns a 189-128 record in his 18-year MLB career.

The Orioles also talked to former A’s closer Grant Balfour’s agent.

ESPN and SiriusXM’s Jim Bowden says that in a conversation he had with Duquette on his radio show, the Orioles have been zoning in on trying to find starting pitching, a LF, and a left-handed DH if possible.

One name that could fix their SP need would be Jason Hammel, who spent the last two seasons with the Orioles after coming over in a trade with the Colorado Rockies before the 2012 season.

Hammel, 31, has also drawn interest from the Cleveland Indians. Hammel had a spectacular season in his first season in Baltimore, going 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA before knee problems ended his season.

He was unable to rebound from the injury in 2013 and lost fastball command, finishing the season 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA.

The Yankees talked with former Orioles 2B Brian Roberts about a possible return to the AL East, after the Yankees saw their All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano sign a deal with the Mariners last week.

 

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Orioles’ hot stove rumblings surround Beltran, Wieters, Markakis

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Orioles’ hot stove rumblings surround Beltran, Wieters, Markakis

Posted on 16 November 2013 by WNST Staff

Rumblings out of MLB’s annual fall GM meetings included some interesting rumors surrounding the Baltimore Orioles late this week.

The first from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is particularly interesting…

Carlos Beltran will turn 37 in April, but is coming off a season with slash lines of .296/.339/.491 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI. It’s not known immediately what the market is for the outfielder with a propensity for big postseason hits, but considering Marlon Byrd got a 2 year, $16 million deal and it also 36 you would have to assume the market for Beltran would be greater.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are looking to dump a salary in order to pursue Beltran, throwing out the name of Matt Wieters as a possibility. This is logical considering a report of his from earlier in the week regarding the catcher and 1B Chris Davis, a fellow Scott Boras client.

(Rosenthal was clearly referring to closer Jim Johnson there.)

The other issue surrounding Beltran is that he isn’t a left fielder, the only outfield position the Birds’ currently have open. So how could the O’s both trade away a large salary and get Beltran on the field? From SNY New York…

SNY did go on to report that the Orioles are “not eager” to deal their former first round pick and Gold Glove winning right fielder.

So Orioles fans, what do you think of the rumors surrounding the Birds in the early stages of the Hot Stove season?

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Orioles promote top pitching prospect Bundy to big leagues

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Orioles promote top pitching prospect Bundy to big leagues

Posted on 19 September 2012 by Luke Jones

Following an 18-inning marathon win over the Seattle Mariners and needing an extra arm in the bullpen, the Orioles have promoted top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy to the big leagues.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting Bundy will be called up to fill a limited role in the bullpen. The Orioles used seven relievers in a combined 12 2/3 innings in the second game of a three-game set in Seattle.

The 19-year-old had been participating in the organization’s instructional league in Sarasota after finishing his first professional season at Double-A Bowie. Bundy made three starts for the Baysox, going 2-0 with a 3.24 earned run average in 16 2/3 innings.

Manager Buck Showalter said at the end of August that the Orioles would not promote Bundy, stating the organization’s preference for him to go to the instructional league in mid-September to work on his command and time to the plate.

In 23 starts split among low Single-A Delmarva, high Single-A Frederick, and Bowie, the right-hander went a combined 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 103 2/3 innings. He struck out 119 batters and walked 28, though he struggled more with his command as he climbed the organizational ladder.

Bundy was the fourth overall pick of the 2011 amateur draft and was already on the 40-man roster, meaning the Orioles will not need to make a corresponding roster move.

 

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