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Fidel Castro Albert Belle

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 9) – Albert was not the Belle of Baltimore

Posted on 03 August 2017 by Nestor Aparicio

(Author note: This is Chapter 9 of my book “The Peter Principles,” which I was working to finish in March 2014 when my wife was diagnosed with leukemia the first time. I will be releasing the entire book for free online this summer – chapter by chapter. These are the true chronicles of the history of Peter G. Angelos and his ownership of the Baltimore Orioles. If you enjoy the journey, please share the links with a friend who loves the team.)

 

9. He was not the Belle of Baltimore

 

“We know [the media’s] intentions are good, but we can’t let you substitute your judgment for ours. We don’t think you know it all. We think there are times when you’re wrong just like we know there are times when we’re wrong. I tell you what: You can trust in our judgment. It’s pretty good. We’ve gotten this far. We’re going to go even further. Just be a little patient, I think you’ll be delighted with the results.”

Peter G. Angelos

  October 1999

 

 

IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG FOR the Orioles and new general manager Frank Wren to feel some foreboding bumps en route to the 1999 season-long collapse. First, Albert Belle was thrust into the situation ­– signed, sealed and delivered totally at the whim of owner Peter G. Angelos. This complicated matters for literally everyone on the team, including manager Ray Miller who was told to figure out how to manage an unmanageable personality. Then, during the first week of spring training, newly signed second baseman Delino DeShields suffered an injury.

Then, the losing began almost immediately in April.

It wasn’t anything specific for the 1999 Orioles – it was everything. But it all started with poor pitching and the ominous tone that surrounded every move of the team’s new poster boy: No. 88 in your scorecard program and No. 1 with his middle finger, Albert Belle.

The Orioles still had a vibrant national hero in Cal Ripken, and stalwart mostly quiet All Stars like Mike Mussina, Brady Anderson and Scott Erickson, but it was Belle who set the tone and who made the news seemingly every week for some infraction or some social behavior that was less than exemplary. But Wren had been around baseball and knew to expect this from Belle. Miller knew the day of Belle’s signing that there’d be a change in the demeanor of his locker room, which wasn’t particularly stellar to begin with in 1998 after the noisy and disruptive departure of Davey Johnson the previous fall. But Peter Angelos believed that a MLB player making $13 million per year would be better behaved and easier to control because of the investment ownership made in him.

Once again, it showed that Angelos didn’t know much about people and he certainly didn’t know much about Albert Belle or the egos of baseball players.

It didn’t take long after signing Belle on Dec. 1, 1998 for the saga and drama to begin.

On Christmas Eve, as a goodwill gesture to his new city and attempting to play

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 1): So, just how did Angelos become ‘King’ of Baltimore baseball?

Posted on 19 March 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

(Author note: This is Chapter 1 of future book “The Peter Principles” that I was working to finish in March 2014 when my wife was diagnosed with leukemia. I have released the first three chapters of the book, which chronicles the history of Peter G. Angelos and his ownership of the Baltimore Orioles. I think you’ll find much of this already-reported information to be illuminating.)

Chapter 2 is available here.

Chapter 3 is available here.

Chapter 12 is available here.

 

 

IT WAS HOT AS HADES in that lower Manhattan federal courtroom. Jam-packed with bidders, curiosity seekers and baseball fans, the Baltimore Orioles franchise was up for grabs on August 2, 1993, and the bidding was as steamy as the air in the room once the price began to rapidly accelerate into the stratosphere.

The fact that there was any bidding at all was somewhat surprising to Peter G. Angelos, a Baltimore attorney who had begun a power play five months earlier to purchase the Major League Baseball franchise that was being sold off via an auction nearly 200 miles away from its home on the Chesapeake Bay. In the hours leading up to the auction, Angelos managed to turn his sole competitor from a previous suspended bid for the team during June into a partner. William DeWitt Jr., a Cincinnati native whose father once owned the St. Louis Browns in the 1940s and a minority investor in the Texas Rangers, joined Angelos’ celebrity-led local group from Maryland just hours before the bidding was to begin in the sweltering Custom House. DeWitt was promised a role in the operations and management of the club.

It was an amazing coup for Angelos to pull DeWitt from being a worthy, legitimate competitor into a teammate that morning, after convincing him that he’d be involved and an influential part of the eventual winning group. It was shocking that DeWitt had pulled out because several times over the previous eight months, he was convinced that he was already the winning bidder and new owner of the Orioles.

In February 1993, after six months of lengthy, arduous negotiations on a fair price, DeWitt had entered into a deal with Orioles majority owner Eli Jacobs to buy the team for $141.3 million. Jacobs, who was in his final days of semi-liquidity and quietly on the verge of bankruptcy, didn’t have the legal authority to close the deal with DeWitt once the banks seized his assets in March. Instead, the Orioles wound up at auction five months later and suddenly Angelos – with DeWitt now shockingly a member of his ownership team – believed he would emerge victorious without breaking a sweat in the summer heat of The Big Apple.

But that afternoon, after entering the courtroom in what he believed would be a rubber-stamped win, instead he found himself embroiled in a bidding war with a stranger he never strongly considered to being a worthy foil in the fray.

Jeffrey Loria, a New York art dealer and Triple-A baseball team owner, wanted badly to be a Major League Baseball owner. Baltimore native and former NFL player Jean Fugett represented a group led by TLC Beatrice, which featured a rare minority bid for an MLB franchise on that day in New York. One bidder, Doug Jemal of Nobody Beats The Wiz electronics stores, had early interest but bowed out before the steamy auction.

That August day, the bidding began at $151.25 million, which included a “stalking fee” of $1.7 million which was originally awarded to DeWitt’s team because of his vast due diligence and legal work done months earlier when he thought he had won a deal to secure the Orioles in the spring.

George Stamas, who represented Angelos’ group during the bidding process, opened the bidding at $153 million, which was seen as a good faith gesture from the combined bid with DeWitt, which could’ve been perceived as artificially deflating the sale price by judge Cornelius Blackshear. Loria, who was a stranger to the Angelos group, immediately raised it by $100,000. Stamas barked out, “One million more – $154.1!”

And for the next 30 minutes, the bids drew north from the $150 millions into the $160s. With every bid, Loria would raise by $100,000. Stamas, on behalf of Angelos, raised it by $1 million at a time. After 13 rounds of back and forth money, Angelos had the leading bid $170 million. Fugett, who had been completely silent during the auction, asked the judge for a recess.

The request was granted and the judge headed to his chambers.

And, suddenly, it got even hotter in a blazing courtroom on a sweltering day in The Big

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Orioles, Ravens hope to accommodate smokers after Stadium Authority ban

Posted on 25 February 2013 by WNST Staff

The Maryland Stadium Authority is implementing a ban on smoking at the Camden Yards Sports Complex, which includes both Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium. Effective March 4, 2013, the ban will apply to all games and events held within the stadium structures at Camden Yards.

The ban prohibits the “the burning of a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or any other matter or substance that contains tobacco” within the stadiums–whether such spaces are covered or uncovered, walled or exposed, or open or closed to public access. The ban will also prohibit smoking within 25 feet of any entry, outdoor air intake, or operable window of the stadium structures.

Roy Sommerhof, Vice President of Stadium Operations for the Ravens, said the team will make accommodations for those attending football games and other special events held at M&T Bank Stadium who wish to smoke.
The Orioles will announce a similar policy to accommodate smokers prior to Opening Day.

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Orioles are finally in pennant race — but where are Baltimore baseball fans?

Posted on 08 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve argued with WNST morning show host Drew Forrester for a decade about this. He’s always said – much like everyone in the Angelos family – “When the Orioles win they’ll ALL come back!”

Well, in case you haven’t noticed while you were dusting off your purple gear this week for tomorrow night’s meaningless and mostly unentertaining Ravens game in Atlanta, the 2012 Baltimore Orioles are just about everything you’d want in a MLB team in a “small market” where the owner is pocketing over $100 million in profit every year.

They have young stars. They are exciting every night – including last night’s 14-inning marathon victory over the Seattle Mariners that unfolded like The Ilyiad. They seem to play sudden death baseball a lot. It’s almost like they WANT you to fall asleep on them.

And these days, it appears, that most Baltimore sports fans have in fact “gone to sleep on the Orioles.”

By and large, most of you are not coming to Orioles games right now. The Orioles haven’t inspired you to buy a ticket, despite their good fortunes and entertainment value on the field.

This is a perfect day for me to write about going to Orioles games because I’m going to the game tonight.

Why?

Well, I got free tickets.

My complaints and reasons for not giving Peter Angelos my money are legendary and well-documented. The incident when the team stiffed me on a $30,000 sponsorship, then attacked me at a game in 2004 and sent an apology note signed, “The Bird.” Then, after 21 years of covering the Baltimore Orioles through three ownership groups, they took my press pass in 2007 and have summarily lied about why, which is standard operating procedure from the Angelos family.

Hell, four months ago at a charity cocktail function, Brady Anderson told me I “should leave Baltimore if I don’t like the way the team is being run.”

But I still watch them every night – which either makes me a sucker, a fool or an eternal optimist. Or maybe just someone who loves Baltimore and the Orioles and remembers how much fun baseball was for the entire community before Angelos wrecked the franchise for anyone who takes the time to examine all of the facts.

Oh, here’s one more warm and fuzzy — this Friday will mark the one-year anniversary that one of their legendary players, broadcaster and caring front office man Mike Flanagan put a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger.

The Orioles have played 110 games this year. I’ve watched about 95 of them in their entirety. The other 15 I’ve either fallen asleep (like last night) or kept track via my mobile device on WNST’s live box score feature.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might find five games where I haven’t been live tweeting most of the evening from my couch. So, I’m qualified to bitch in many ways because I’m the biggest Baltimore Orioles fan you’ll ever find.

And, again, I’m not giving Angelos my money – not tonight or any night.

In Dundalk, we would simply call him a scumbag and leave it at that.

But he doesn’t care about whether you or I come to the ballpark. He’s sucking that $3.00 per month from my cable bill and yours, 

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Orioles banged up with Toronto in town

Posted on 24 April 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — On the heels of an encouraging 6-4 road trip, manager Buck Showalter spent most of Tuesday’s pre-game press conference providing updates on a number of health concerns as the Orioles open a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Left fielder Nolan Reimold is once again out as he continues to deal with neck spasms that forced him out of the final two games in Anaheim over the weekend. Manager Buck Showalter said the spasms affect the outfielder’s throwing more than his ability to swing the bat, leaving the door open for Reimold’s ability to pinch-hit with Toronto having three southpaws in the bullpen.

Showalter remains confident that Reimold will not need to go on the disabled list but admitted he hasn’t progressed as quickly as the club originally hoped. Endy Chavez will once again start in left and lead off for the Orioles in the first game of the series.

“Nolan is kind of day-to-day,” Showalter said. “He was in [Monday] for treatment. It’s getting a little better, little by little. The problem is playing has set him back. He’s OK for maybe half to three-fourths of the game and then as the game goes on, it gets worse. When you have that type of spasm, you also have a strain. We’re trying to resolve it completely so that the game doesn’t set him back to square one.”

Closer Jim Johnson is also doubtful to be available on Tuesday night after spending the night in the hospital with flu-like symptoms. Showalter said most of the club dealt with the virus in the final days of the 10-game road trip.

The Orioles will also be without starting second baseman Robert Andino following Tuesday’s game as he will fly to Miami to be with his wife for the birth of their third child on Wednesday. Andino will miss at least one game and possibly two before returning to the club later in the week.

With Andino going on the paternity leave list, the Orioles are allowed to add another player to the roster, which would likely be someone with the ability to play the outfield with Reimold’s short-term status up in the air. Matt Antonelli would be a possible candidate for the promotion from Triple-A Norfolk.

Japanese left-handed pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada underwent an MRA on his pitching elbow on Tuesday, but Showalter did not have the results from Dr. John Wilckens. The swelling in the arm has subsided, but the Orioles will wait to see if there is any structural damage after the pitcher’s rehabilitation program was shut down over the weekend.

Showalter didn’t offer anything new on Dontrelle Willis’ bizarre situation in which he left Triple-A Norfolk without permission, simply stating he expects the ordeal to be resolved and hopes Willis will ultimately remain with the organization.Willis has filed a grievance against the Orioles, claiming he received permission to leave from director of baseball administration Tripp Norton and that they are preventing him from signing with another organization.

One thing is clear: plenty of energy is being expended on a guy who’s won four games since the 2007 season.

Here are Tuesday night’s lineups:

Toronto
SS Yunel Escobar
2B Kelly Johnson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
1B Adam Lind
3B Brett Lawrie
CF Colby Rasmus
LF Marcus Thames
C Jeff Mathis

SP Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 4.66 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Endy Chavez
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
1B Chris Davis
DH Wilson Betemit
3B Ryan Flaherty
2B Robert Andino

SP Tommy Hunter (1-1, 5.79 ERA)

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the evening as I bring live updates from Oriole Park at Camden Yards and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear Buck Showalter’s pre-game press conference here.

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Live from Camden Yards: Orioles try to solve Sabathia in Yankees series finale

Posted on 11 April 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — With the hopes of salvaging a win in a three-game set with the New York Yankees, the Orioles will have to accomplish something they’ve only done twice in CC Sabathia’s career.

And that’s hand a loss to the 290-pound southpaw.

While struggling against the Yankees ace is a common theme among American League teams, the Orioles are responsible for Sabathia’s third-highest win total in his 12-year career. The left-hander is 16-2 with a 2.74 earned run average in 22 career starts against Baltimore.

Manager Buck Showalter will present a lineup full of right-handed hitters, with right fielder Nick Markakis the only left-handed bat scheduled to start against Sabathia.

The big topic of discussion prior to Wednesday’s game was the defensive struggles of third baseman Mark Reynolds, who committed a critical error in the Yankees’ three-run six inning and failed to catch a foul popupin Tuesday’s loss. Showalter is sticking with Reynolds at third base for now, preaching confidence that the 28-year-old will begin hitting — and fielding.

Reynolds’ inability to corral a Russell Martin grounder in the sixth eliminated the possibility of a win for Taiwanese lefty Wei-Yin Chen in his major league debut.

“We had plenty of opportunities in that game last night to not make anything like that matter,” Showalter said.

Much was made over Reynolds’ commitment to get into better shape in the offseason and the improvement he showed in spring training. His defensive start strongly resembles last season through the first five games of the year, but Showalter isn’t going to mess with the slugger’s psyche quite yet by making a change.

“That’s part of the reason that he’s in there [at third base] today.”

The Orioles have struggled mightily with runners in scoring position so far this season, going just 6-for-41 through five games. Showalter was aware of the numbers but compared it to a basketball team struggling at the free-throw line, pointing out the importance of not placing too much emphasis on it with his club.

“You’ve got to stay away from emotional at-bats,” Showalter said.

The Orioles manager was also asked if he would go to former closer Kevin Gregg in a save situation if Jim Johnson were to be unavailable on a given night, and his answer wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.

“We have multiple options,” Showalter said. “Every club has to think about that. A lot has to do with how much they’ve been pitching and where they are physically. We have really three guys down there who have some experience pitching in that part of the game.”

Of course, Showalter is referring to Johnson, Gregg, and newcomer Matt Lindstrom, but it was interesting how general Showalter was in his response when asked specifically about Gregg.

Second baseman Brian Roberts continues to take batting practice and to work with the team, but Showalter said the veteran is still getting back into the rhythm of a big-league environment. There is still no timetable for a possible minor league rehab assignment, and Showalter was unsure whether he will travel with the team on the road trip.

“We’re going to lean on him and the doctors,” Showalter said. “I’m not going to walk by him every day [saying], ‘What about today?’ … He knows what the next step is. The next step is he goes and plays somewhere. And when it happens, it happens.

“It’s just such an inexact thing.”

(Update 6:30 p.m.: The Orioles have signed veteran pitcher Joel Pineiro to a minor-league contract. He will report to extended spring training before likely reporting to Triple-A Norfolk.)

Here are tonight’s lineups:

New York
SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
DH Raul Ibanez
C Russell Martin
LF Brett Garnder

SP CC Sabathia (0-0, 7.50 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Nolan Reimold
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
3B Mark Reynolds
DH Ronny Paulino
1B Wilson Betemit
2B Robert Andino

SP Jake Arrieta (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Buck Showalter’s pre-game press conference and follow WNST on Twitter for live updates and analysis from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Patsos Honored With First Pitch at Camden Yards

Posted on 10 April 2012 by WNST Staff

Strike! Patsos Throws Out First Pitch Before Orioles Game

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland Head Coach Jimmy Patsos was recognized Tuesday night and threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Oriole Park at Camden Yards before the Baltimore Orioles took on the New York Yankees.

Patsos threw a belt-high strike over the outside corner of the plate to Orioles relief pitcher Luis Ayala. He was honored by the Orioles, along with senior captain Shane Walker, prior to the pitch.

The eighth-year coach was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and National Association of Basketball Coaches District II Coach of the Year, and he was later honored as the 2012 recipient of the Skip Prosser Award as college basketball’s Man of the Year at the Final Four.

“It was a great experience tonight, one that I am going to remember forever,” Patsos said. “Shane and I got a chance to meet (Orioles manager) Buck Showalter, and I said I had a chance to do what he has done with the Yankees and Diamondbacks, and what he’s doing here: build a program. It’s a small thing that we have in common, but his work is something I have admired.”

Patsos guided the Greyhounds to a 24-9 record and their second-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament this season. He took over a program in 2004-2005 that had won just one game the season before. Earlier this year, he became the third coach in the last 20 years to win 100 games at a school after taking over following a season after the team won zero or one game.

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Live from Camden Yards: Orioles ready for potential carryover with sign-stealing accusation from Yankees

Posted on 10 April 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — As Yankees closer Mariano Rivera recorded the final out of the Orioles’ 6-2 loss to New York on Monday night, you may have missed the fireworks between his catcher Russell Martin and Baltimore second baseman Robert Andino.

Martin accused Andino of trying to relay signs from second base and the two barked at one another as the ninth inning concluded. Both Andino and Martin are in their respective lineups, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter is downplaying what happened while maintaining his club will be ready for any potential fallout or retaliation in the second game of the three-game set.

“We’ll deal with it if it happens,” Showalter said. “I know where I think the right and wrong in the sense of the reality. It’s not exactly like Mariano [Rivera] is featuring a curveball and a changeup and a split. Certainly didn’t work out too well [for us] if that was the case.”

In typical Showalter fashion, the manager quipped that the best way to prevent the opposition from trying to steal signs is to keep runners off second base.

Orioles catcher Matt Wieters always assumes the opposition is trying to relay signs and makes adjustments to prevent that from happening.

“That’s why you do sequences; that’s why you try to move late,” Wieters said before Tuesday’s game. “You’re not going to like it if you do think someone is stealing pitches, but at the same time, it’s where you go to disguise it.”

Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen makes his major league debut tonight as he takes the hill against the Yankees. Showalter acknowledged the extra excitement in the air with Chen’s debut and pointed to how the game will be broadcast live in Taiwan, joking that many people will be late to work with the early-morning start in Chen’s homeland.

The 26-year-old features a fastball, changeup, splitter, and curveball and depends on command and location to retire hitters. His fastball averages roughly 90 or 91 miles per hour, so he isn’t the type of hurler to overpower the opposition.

Wieters is in the lineup for the fifth straight day and will start again on Wednesday, according to Showalter. With his starting catcher fresh and the start of the season, the manager wanted Wieters behind the plate for every starter’s first turn through the starting rotation.

The Orioles are off on Thursday and Wieters will receive either Saturday or Sunday off in Toronto, depending on the pitching matchups.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

New York
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
CF Curtis Granderson
DH Andruw Jones
C Russell Martin
LF Brett Gardner

SP Freddy Garcia

Baltimore
LF Endy Chavez
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
DH Nick Johnson
3B Mark Reynolds
1B Chris Davis
2B Robert Andino

SP Wei-Yin Chen

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Buck Showalter and Matt Wieters and be sure to follow WNST on Twitter for live updates throughout the evening from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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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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