Tag Archive | "OPACY"

Your Monday Reality Check: “Magic”-al weekend saw both rightful, misplaced passion

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Your Monday Reality Check: “Magic”-al weekend saw both rightful, misplaced passion

Posted on 03 June 2013 by Glenn Clark

I know well that Baltimore Orioles fans weren’t REALLY mad that a pitcher was thrown out of a game for hitting a batter on the first pitch after giving up three straight home runs.

I know very well that Baltimore Orioles fans were mad about late Saturday afternoon was THEIR pitcher getting thrown out of a game for hitting a batter on the first pitch after giving up three straight home runs.

As much as I wasn’t interested in fighting with baseball fans on Twitter, I was certainly happy to see the passion. The passion has been perhaps my favorite part of the Birds’ resurgence over the last 14 months.

I was up close and personal (okay, ten rows back) from that very passion Friday night. I had a great friend invite me down to Oriole Park at Camden Yards after our live broadcast of “The Reality Check” at Hooters Friday afternoon. My fiancé and I spent the evening wandering through the ballpark with our friends, taking in the Centerfield Bar, the Orioles’ corporate suite and our fantastic lower level seats at the sold out game against the Detroit Tigers. (I don’t say those things to rub in how great my night was, but instead to offer another thank you to my friend Mike-who might very well be reading this. He was a tremendous host. Indulge me for his sake, please.)

When Nick Markakis came to the plate to lead off the 9th inning, I couldn’t find a single person that wasn’t standing. By the time Chris Dickerson sent everyone home happy, the 40,000 or so in attendance were whipped into an absolute frenzy.

It was one of the more amazing moments I could ever remember as a baseball fan…and it might not have even been the most exciting victory the O’s had all week.

There was more passion inside OPAC Y Friday night than any sunrise Easter service I’ve ever attended in my life. It was a night full of fire, a night full of madness and a night full of, well, Orange Fever.

Dickerson perhaps supplied the final act of “Orioles Magic” with his three run, two out walk-off jack; but the displays of “Orioles Magic” were bountiful from the time I hit President Street at 1pm and couldn’t get to Harborplace until 1:55 because the city was packed.

There were displays of “Orioles Magic” as fans came by to see Larry Sheets while we were sitting at Hooters. There were displays of “Orioles Magic” as a group of Orange and Black supporters shouted down Tigers fans who came to visit at Hooters and declared they had made the trip because “the Tigers were winning the World Series and they wanted to see as many games during the World Series year as possible.” They also couldn’t believe Luke Jones would describe the Orioles as having the American League’s best offense. I’m so glad the Birds were able to make them second guess by Sunday evening.

There were displays of “Orioles Magic” as we walked to and from the stadium. They were of course more after the game, including many who wanted to go out of their way to throw high fives or start a “Seven Nation Army” chant back up.

“Orioles Magic” was everywhere. The passion was real.

The passion was real again Saturday, but I wasn’t necessary as close to the action for it. I had to attend an ex’s wedding in Pikesville Saturday night and watched the better part of the game from my couch.

I’ll admit, it didn’t give me quite as good of a view of Matt Tuiasosopo’s shoulder as home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt did when Jason Hammel plunked it. My view also included a MASN broadcast where Mike Bordick wasted no time in letting me know the pitch was a slider and barely more than 80 miles an hour. Obviously no pitcher could ever purposefully hit a batter with such a pitch.

Obviously.

I took to Twitter to say the following…

It lead to a 30 minute back and forth that included legitimately ANGRY responses from 20-30 Orioles fans absolutely bullish about how disastrous of a decision Wendelstedt had made to toss Hammel without a warning.

Because apparently giving up three straight home runs suddenly needs to come with a warning.

Hendelstedt of course had every right to toss Hammel from the game. He didn’t have a radar gun available behind the plate, but even if he could tell the ball wasn’t thrown with Nolan Ryan heat, he had the right to decipher the pitch may well have been thrown with frustration.

Warnings come when an umpire fears retaliation. Ejects come when an umpire fears a pitcher throw a ball merely out of frustration.

Sometimes those decisions come with collateral damage. Hammel (and just about everyone connected to the organization) wanted to let you know after the game that there was no intent involved in the pitch. Of course, if you can remember the time a pitcher admitted intent after a game I’d love to have you forward it to me. (It’s glenn@wnst.net by the way.) (Edit from GC: I absolutely meant to say “admitted intent after a game and wasn’t suspended. I did not. It’s my fault and I apologize. Thanks to those of you who reminded me that Cole Hamels had indeed admitted intent after plunking Bryce Harper.)

Sadly, no umpire has the time to stop the game and conduct a full trial to determine intent on a pitch. I don’t necessarily think Jason Hammel intended to plunk Matt Tuiasosopo, but I don’t know for sure he didn’t, either.

Neither does anyone else, despite how many of you angrily Tweeted otherwise.

But I get it. It’s passion. It’s magical.

It’s way better than everyone getting together to ignore Eric DuBose’s most recent start together.

-G

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Sabathia, Chen meet Tuesday at OPACY in battle of unbeatens

Posted on 15 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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20 Years of Unintended OPACY Consequences

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20 Years of Unintended OPACY Consequences

Posted on 12 April 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Did Oriole Park make the Ravens and kill the Orioles? If so, was it worth it?

 

 

There are a couple of ways of looking at the yearlong celebration that is 20 years of baseball at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

 

On the one hand it’s a reminder of just how right Baltimore “got it” back in the early 90’s in paying homage to baseball and the history of the game and its impact on Baltimore. In fact, Baltimore got it so right that others quickly felt compelled to follow suit, making the gem of a ballpark that is OPACY often imitated but never quite duplicated.

 

The 20 year “celebration” is also cause however for Orioles fans to reflect on the fact that in 2 decades of Orioles baseball therein, the O’s have a grand total of 4 winning seasons and just 2 playoff appearances. As the team looks as far away from “right” as ever, the stadium is simply the silk hat and lipstick that adorn the proverbial pig that is Orioles baseball. More often than not over the last 20 years, the only thing about the ballpark that wasn’t breathtaking was the team that occupied it and the brand of baseball that they’ve played.

 

Baseball has a long history of curses, at now 20 frustrating years into this experience, maybe it’s time to question whether Camden Yards itself has been cursed. For now though it seems fairly clear that the only pox on the house of Orioles baseball is the owner, Peter Angelos.

 

Still, for the Orioles and the city of Baltimore, OPACY has been both a blessing and a curse, with a myriad of unintended benefits and consequences.

 

First, OPACY started a revolution in baseball; it changed the game. It took the Orioles from a middling financial player to big spenders overnight. Predictably, the rest of baseball began following suit very quickly thereafter. When Cleveland and the Indians jumped into the baseball-only facility business, the beginning of the end of the Cleveland Browns was already underway…thanks in no small part to the influence of OPACY.

 

The park also gave the Maryland Stadium Authority clout. It earmarked the prospective property and plans for a football specific neighbor and had the city poised to pounce when an opportunity like Browns to Baltimore presented itself.

 

So OPACY started the revolution that Cleveland followed, thus leading the Browns into the financial strife that made them the Ravens. In far less then 6 degrees of separation, the construction of OPACY “created” the Ravens.

 

The other side of that coin is that the arrival of the Ravens and the cushy deal that they got from the city may have put Baltimore and Angelos at odds. Given the history of Angelos and seemingly everyone he does business with, it’s arguable that he and the city were bound to be at odds eventually…inevitably anyway.

 

The park also packed in enough fans night by night, regardless of the on-field product, to give baseball a case to park the Expos in DC, which led to the compromise that created MASN, and has essentially turned the Orioles profitable without having to worry much about filling the stands anymore. In that way, OPACY might be the biggest and most beautiful catch-22 ever constructed.

 

So in a very roundabout way of thinking, Oriole Park may have built the Ravens and killed the Orioles. Of course the Orioles aren’t actually dead, they’re just on life support, and the stadium isn’t what’s killing them, the owner is. The building though, at least helped to create the circumstances that precipitated both events, and it may once again host important and meaningful games at some point.

 

If asked back in 1994 or so if they’d trade 20-years of sub-standard baseball for the NFL’s return to Baltimore, I’m guessing most would have taken it. Like it or not, we’ve gotten it and then some (on both accounts). But Camden Yards…what have you done for us lately?

 

 

 

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Undefeated Birds Welcome Winless Yanks to OPACY Monday

Posted on 08 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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Hunter Battles Liriano Saturday As Birds Look to Win First Series of Season

Posted on 07 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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An Oriole Park 20-Year Anniversary Anthem

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An Oriole Park 20-Year Anniversary Anthem

Posted on 28 March 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Talkin’ Baseball (Orioles Version) by: Terry Cashman

 

An Orioles classic that I took the liberty of updating the words to, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The first few years the wins were thin,

But Camden Yards still packed ‘em in,

And baseball was alive in Baltimore

Robby and Raffy in the mix

And by 1996

The Oriole Way of yesterday was back in force.

 

We’re talking baseball

Ripken, Moose and Surhoff

Orioles Baseball

Brady Anderson with his shirt off

The Boomer, Kevin Brown and Bobby Bo

He wouldn’t trade ‘em then he watched ‘em go

It’s Orioles baseball…and Peter Angelos.

 

The Ravens came upon the scene,

And B-More had another team,

And the city threw a lot of green their way.

The Expos in DC,

Peter crying, “Woe is me”,

And the feverish fans who packed the stands had gone away.

 

We’re talking baseball,

Belle, Segui, Cordova

Orioles Baseball

The glory days are over.

Tejada gave a shot to Palmeiro.

What was in that needle no one knows,

It’s Orioles baseball…and Peter Angelos.

 

When you’re talking Baltimore baseball,

You’re talking Angelos,

I won’t forget the way I cried

The day our old friend Flanny died

And will they ever win again nobody knows

I hate you…Angelos

 

The O’s they now have MASN,

And it’s sure to bring the cash in

They’re even making money off the Nats.

But they still blame the Sox and Yanks as yet another season tanks.

And down on the farm they’re not growing arms and they don’t buy bats.

 

We’re talking baseball

Cabrera and Bedard

Orioles baseball

Ponson fighting in a bar

And where does all that MASN money go?

Not to the team, it goes to Angelos

It’s barely baseball, ’cause Peter killed the O’s.

 

We’re talking baseball…baseball and the O’s

(the birds, the birds, the birds)

We’re talking Peter…Peter Angelos

(the crook, the bum, the louse)

He hood winked us all

And stole our baseball.

(the pain, the blame, the shame)

It’s barely baseball

(the birds, the birds, the birds)

He purchased the team,

And ruined our dreams

(the crook, the bum, the louse)

We’re talking baseball…and Peter Angelos.

 

 

 

 

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Your Monday Reality Check-If Pitchers And Catchers Report And No One Cares…

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Your Monday Reality Check-If Pitchers And Catchers Report And No One Cares…

Posted on 20 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Stop me if you heard this one before.

If Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training but no one has ever heard of them before, did it actually happen?

To at least some extent, that was the case in Sarasota this weekend. Baltimore Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to Ed Smith Stadium for an opportunity to prepare for a run towards the AL East crown introduce themselves to the men they now call teammates.

A year ago, there was a level of false hope about what a full season under manager Buck Showalter and the arrivals of veteran MLB players like Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds could do for baseball in Charm City. There is of course none of that in 2012, but you already knew that.

To be fair, I’m as surprised as you that Endy Chavez fever simply hasn’t spread throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

The start of Spring Training (most O’s pitchers had actually arrived in Sarasota in advance of this weekend’s report date) produced neither excitement nor as much as a batted eye to baseball fans in Baltimore this year. I will admit that I did not miss the insufferable “Happy New Year” updates on Facebook and Twitter from snobby baseball fans who are unaware their favorite sport is no longer our national pastime, but that’s the only good thing to be said.

It strikes me on this Monday that I honestly find myself pining for a year in which expectations (or at least hopes) for mediocrity fizzled into just another miserable summer at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I’m not pining over memories of a World Series run or even a relevant game on Labor Day. I’m pining for a team that mattered…at least a little bit…on St. Patrick’s Day.

It’s that bad.

Some of you will likely use the comments section here to accuse me of wasting hundreds of words on taking a shot at the Orioles. I don’t know that I’ll really bother to argue much with you.

There will be plenty of storylines between now and Opening Day, it’s just that none of them will be interesting.

Someone will have to start against the Minnesota Twins on April 6. Zach Britton is the easy fan favorite, but will have to show his shoulder is 100 percent to even get into the competition. The team will reportedly have to line up four more starters behind whoever goes out for Game 1, despite the fact that you’d be hard pressed to name three quality pitchers in the group of 30 that showed up this weekend.

They also need one of those pitchers to finish games. Jim Johnson is the guy fans most want to see get the role. Fans’ second choice? Anyone not named Kevin Gregg.

Brian Roberts’ health will be the closest we come to seeing something compelling in March. A healthy Roberts would by no means guide the team towards contention, but it would be nice to see the veteran second baseman return to the field instead of being ushered into retirement. Barring injury all other starting positions on the field are set. That’s of course part of the problem, as even with talented players like JJ Hardy, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones suiting up there’s little hope of producing enough against the staffs in Boston, New York and Tampa Bay.

There will be some competition for bench jobs, but that excitement will wear off before I can finish typing the names Matt Antonelli and Jai Miller. But hey! Look over there! It’s Nick Johnson! I’ve heard of him!

We’re going to attempt to have some relevant baseball conversation over the course of the next few weeks. All of it will involve the phrase “not like it really matters, but…” at some point. If it doesn’t, the conversation will probably be started by someone asking “have you heard anything more about those rumors that Peter Angelos is thinking about selling the team?”.

We can only pray that at some point Dan Duquette makes an off-color comment about Brian Cashman’s off-field exploits to momentarily make the Birds interesting. If you’re not, rest easy knowing I certainly am. I’d settle for a rumor that Oil Can Boyd was going to get coked up and make a start at OPACY to promote his new book.

(Now that I’ve typed those words, I actually think it’s a hell of an idea. Please pass it along to someone.)

Yes, it’s baseball season again in Baltimore. Anyone wanna talk about Justin Boren’s future in purple?

-G

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Evict the Orioles

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Evict the Orioles

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

I wrote this a few months back, but am talking about it on today’s show, therefore I felt that a reprisal was in order.

 

As the inevitability of a 15th straight losing season hangs over the Orioles like so many other dark clouds, the realization occurs that Baltimore has now dealt with a less than mediocre baseball team for longer than the NFL’s exodus from the city lasted. And from where I sit today, the former has been far more painful than the latter.

While Bob Irsay has always been the default answer to the most detestable man in Baltimore sports history, Peter Angelos has now entered the argument in a very big way and threatens to quickly run away with the title (although likely not with the team).

 

Like Irsay, it seems that Angelos has simply decided that it’s a better proposition to bank the inevitable riches inherent with owning a professional sports team while spending as little as possible in fielding that team. The Orioles could spend with the big market clubs if they chose to do so, but history has seemingly taught Angelos that spending big still doesn’t guarantee success on the field, spending small however and owning your own TV network guarantees profits no matter how pathetic your on field product may be.

 

The trump card that Irsay had (and ultimately wielded) that Angelos never will was the willingness of another city to provide better facilities and the promise to sell them out. While the NFL had (and still has) markets clamoring for and capable of supporting their product, baseball has no such luxury. If baseball did, there never would have been a need to move the Expos to Washington or create MASN in the first place.

 

If there were a better deal out there, you could bet that Angelos and the O’s would explore it…provided of course that it didn’t compromise the Orioles’ stake in MASN.

 

It’s too bad the fans don’t have recourse.

 

It’s too bad we can’t simply evict the O’s.

 

Before you decry me for sacrilege hear me out. (And realize I know it won’t happen)

 

The O’s have a lease with the city of Baltimore that runs through 2024. So maybe the city’s hands would be tied until then. Or maybe they could find a way out early, a way to evict the O’s for operating in bad faith, for defaming a local and national institution and for completely misusing the grandest of attractions in baseball…Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

 

If the city simply had enough of Angelos and closed the doors to OPACY, where would the Orioles go? What city is ready to provide anywhere near the facilities and support for the Orioles and Angelos than Baltimore has? Who would welcome this cheapskate joker with a bad team in a stacked division with anywhere near the reception that Baltimore has given him and them before and are dying to truly care about again?

 

Precedents now seem to exist that would allow Baltimore to retain the name and legacy of the Orioles leaving Angelos to rename his team in addition to relocating it. Even if that weren’t possible, the Ravens have proven that it’s possible to splice together a city’s sports legacy with class and pride and dignity.

 

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Could Baltimore Evict the Orioles?

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Could Baltimore Evict the Orioles?

Posted on 31 August 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

As the inevitability of a 14th straight losing season hangs over the Orioles like so many other dark clouds, the realization occurs that Baltimore has now dealt with a less than mediocre baseball team for longer than the NFL’s exodus from the city lasted. And from where I sit today, the former has been far more painful than the latter.

While Bob Irsay has always been the default answer to the most detestable man in Baltimore sports history, Peter Angelos has now entered the argument in a very big way and threatens to quickly run away with the title (although likely not with the team).

 

Like Irsay, it seems that Angelos has simply decided that it’s a better proposition to bank the inevitable riches inherent with owning a professional sports team while spending as little as possible in fielding that team. The Orioles could spend with the big market clubs if they chose to do so, but history has seemingly taught Angelos that spending big still doesn’t guarantee success on the field, spending small however and owning your own network guarantees profits no matter how pathetic your on field product may be.

 

The trump card that Irsay had (and ultimately wielded) that Angelos never will was the willingness of another city to provide better facilities and the promise to sell them out. While the NFL had (and still has) markets clamoring for and capable of supporting their product, baseball has no such luxury. If baseball did, there never would have been a need to move the Expos to Washington or create MASN in the first place.

 

If there were a better deal out there, you could bet that Angelos and the O’s would explore it…provided of course that it didn’t compromise their stake in MASN.

 

It’s too bad the fans don’t have recourse.

 

It’s too bad we can’t simply evict the O’s.

 

Before you decry me for sacrilege hear me out. (And realize I know it won’t happen)

 

The O’s have a lease with the city of Baltimore that runs through 2024. So maybe the city’s hands would be tied until then. Or maybe they could find a way out early, a way to evict the O’s for operating in bad faith, for defaming a local and national institution and for completely misusing the grandest of attractions in baseball…Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

 

If the city simply had enough of Angelos and closed the doors to OPACY, where would the Orioles go? What city is ready to provide anywhere near the facilities and support for the Orioles and Angelos than Baltimore has? Who would welcome this cheapskate joker with a bad team in a stacked division with anywhere near the reception that Baltimore has given him and them before and are dying to truly care about again?

 

Precedents now seem to exist that would allow Baltimore to retain the name and legacy of the Orioles leaving Angelos to rename his team in addition to relocating it. Even if that weren’t possible, the Ravens have proven that it’s possible to splice together a city’s sports legacy with class and pride and dignity.

 

One could only guess what that would do to MASN and Angelos cushy arrangement with MLB designed (we thought) to ensure the O’s ability to stay competitive with the AL East’s big spenders.

 

What wouldn’t be tough to guess is that Camden Yards wouldn’t sit empty for long. Baltimore might be left to sway in the breeze for some time, maybe as long as a decade as teams use the prospect of OPACY to hold their own cities hostages, but sooner or later baseball would return to Baltimore, maybe in the NL or the AL Central, with a renewed chance to compete.

 

While it’s surely an unrealistic measure and one we’re unlikely to ever explore, as it relates to seeing a realistic effort at baseball in Baltimore being competitive consistently the current O’s don’t look to be getting their act together anytime soon. A ten-year exile from Major League Baseball followed by a genuine effort to compete is starting to sound a little more tempting then waiting for Angelos to start trying again or to sell the team. Even 2024 doesn’t seem too far off when viewed through the prism of the Angelos regime.

 

The only point really being that Angelos owes and needs Baltimore far more than Baltimore owes or needs him, yet somehow we standby heartbroken and powerless as he gets rich running our beloved institution into the ground.

 

And maybe too, that desperate times call for desperate measures. These are clearly desperate times.

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It’s time for the Orioles to stop catering to out-of-towners

Posted on 28 April 2011 by Drew Forrester

I flipped out a little bit this morning.

Actually…I flipped out last night when I got THIS text from listener/friend-of-the-show Chris:

“Drew, they’re updating the Bruins/Montreal game here at OPACY for all the Sox fans that are here.”

I didn’t believe him.  I sent a reply that basically said, “C’mon man…don’t try pulling that one on me.”

He shot back, “I’m serious.  They’re giving updates of the game on the scoreboard.  Seriously.”

Enough is enough.

I won’t go ballistic again like I did this morning.  You can hear it HERE if you want to listen to me go off the deep end about the Orioles and their obvious and consistent efforts to appease both New York and Boston sports fans whenever they visit the cozy confines of Camden Yards.

Like I said at the outset of today’s “Cheap Shot”, I’ve been bleeding black and orange more than usual this spring, because I’ve said since January I think the team is improving and they have a reasonable chance to at least reach .500 this year and show a little progress in the win/loss column.

I’m on board.

But I’m not on board with catering to those out-of-town creeps.

Selling Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano shirts IN BALTIMORE?

Are you kidding me?

Putting the Bruins score up on the scoreboard to keep the masses up-to-date with how the Boston hockey team is faring?

Really?

We’ve sunk to that level in Baltimore?

Yeah, yeah, I know “it’s nothing new”.  Yeah, yeah, I know we’ve been catering to them for a long time.  Yes, I’m quite aware that the main reason they charge “premium game prices” is to extort money from those goofs in Beantown and the Bronx.

I get it.

But I’m tired of it.

And you know what, I guaran-friggin-tee you the players are tired of it too.

It’s time to “Baltimore up”.

I don’t really care what they think in Boston or New York, frankly.

Stop selling “their” gear in Baltimore.

That’s a start.

The Orioles need to take this issue seriously.  And please understand, because given the situation in Los Angeles earlier this month, it bears repeating and stressing.  I’m NOT saying for us – as fans and human beings – to be disrespectful to opposing fans who buy a ticket and enter the ballpark.  No, no, no.  I’m not saying that at all.  What I’m saying is that the ballclub should stop bowing down to them and making them feel “at home” when they come to Baltimore to root for their team.

You’d never see the Ravens sell a Hines Ward jersey in Baltimore and gobs of those miscreant Steelers fans slither their way into M&T Bank Stadium every year.

This is about the Orioles making a stand, not the fan base making a stand.

And if Major League Baseball tries to pull rank and questions them on why the merchandise sales are lower, they need only tell the truth.  ”We got tired of seeing half the stadium prance around the place in a Dustin Pedroia shirt, acting like their poop doesn’t stink.  In Baltimore.  In our stadium.  Making it difficult for OUR players to perform to their highest level.”

We all know the dirty little secret here.  Hell, I’m a dummy and I can figure this out.  Those 18 home games that bring in New Yorkers and Boston-folk are the Orioles meal ticket.  Tickets go through the roof, revenue is generated and, for one of the few homestands in the season, a large profit is turned.

But, as you’ve seen with the two crowds in the Red Sox series thus far (18k, 16k, approx), they’ve chased so many Orioles fans away by giving the Boston people back rubs over the years that the ONLY people brave enough to go to Yankees or Red Sox games are THEIR fans.

Something has to give.

A decision has to be made.

When those two teams come to town, treat them like you would if they were the Rangers or the Mariners or the A’s.

They’re just a baseball team.

With a different uniform.

And stop pretending like we – Baltimore people with a brain – don’t know what’s going on, because we do.

We know the truth.

And we also know this:  They’d NEVER, EVER do anything for us in New York or Boston.

And that’s even more reason to stop french-kissing THEIR fans in Baltimore.

They all have cell phones.  Let them find out the hockey score the way most of us do, by going to our phone.

They all have the internet.  Let them buy their David Ortiz or Mariano Rivera t-shirt on-line.

Enough is enough.

And by the way, as a 2011 season ticket holder, I have even more of a reason to be angry about what happened during this recent homestand where the Orioles again laid down the red carpet for the out-of-towners.

As a Baltimorean, I’m offended.

And so were the 33,000 who didn’t show up last night.

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