Tag Archive | "Peter Angelos"

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

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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

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 staffer Barlow loses long battle with lung cancer

Posted on 28 February 2014 by WNST Staff

STATEMENT FROM PETER ANGELOS ON THE PASSING OF PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR MONICA BARLOW

Orioles Managing Partner PETER ANGELOS issued the following statement regarding the passing of Orioles Public Relations Director MONICA BARLOW.

“It was with deep sadness that I learned of Monica’s passing this morning. In her 14 years with the club, she was a beloved member of the Orioles family, starting as an intern and becoming Director of Public Relations. Over the past four and a half years, the work Monica did to raise awareness and funds for cancer research was a testament to her dedication to helping others. The strength and resiliency she displayed by not letting her illness define her was a great inspiration to all who knew her. Her loss will be felt deeply by not only our front office staff, but also our manager, players and coaches, with whom she worked on a daily basis. On behalf of the club I extend my condolences to her husband, Ben; her parents, Wayne and Ramona Pence; her brother, Jonah; her sister, Natalie; and her family and friends.”

–orioles–

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#WNSTSweet16 list — Who broke our hearts in Baltimore?

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#WNSTSweet16 list — Who broke our hearts in Baltimore?

Posted on 11 February 2014 by Drew Forrester

I guess that’s why they gave this week’s list to “the varsity”, huh?

Seriously — this thing was tough.  Lots of angles to play in the “Heartbreakers” edition of the Sweet 16 list we’re compiling on a weekly basis here at WNST.net.

Teams?  Players?  Specific plays?  Other “issues” like teams moving, etc.?

How do I rank them?  How do I consider one over the other?

It wasn’t easy.

But I nailed it.

——————————————————————

Let’s start at #16 with an incredibly heartbreaking moment from the 2011 Preakness.  Why was it heartbreaking?  Because your’s truly had the boxed exacta of Shackleford and Astrology with a boatload riding on it.  How much is a boatload?  Try $5,700 worth of cold, hard cash if those two just wind up 1-2 in either order.

Wanna see how close ol’ Drewski was to $5,700?  Watch below and weep along with me as those two horses pull away from the field in the last 500 yards, only to see that scumbag Animal Kingdom come out of nowhere to steal $5,700 from me.

 

(Please see next page)

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Here are #WNSTSweet16 people who had a dream in Baltimore

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Here are #WNSTSweet16 people who had a dream in Baltimore

Posted on 21 January 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

These are people who’ve inspired, led, built and left or are leaving a legacy that affects people in Baltimore or elsewhere in the world. Some of them dreamed their whole lives, some had one big dream or act that keeps giving, producing and growing. Most of these “dreamers” have an eternal gift to have given something that transcends their initial efforts, legacy or life. Dreamers see the end before many see the beginning. I always think of guys like Walt Disney and the founding fathers of the United States of America, who built things.

Let’s start our list, page by page and go through our rationale and rankings. Feel free to share, feedback or comment with your own lists and ideas.

 

#WNSTSweet16 Dreamers

 

16. John Ziemann

There’s no doubt that John Ziemann had a dream of seeing the NFL back in Baltimore from 1984 through 1995 but unlike many local football fans, he actually did something about it. Something profound and beautiful and well-told by local film rock star Barry Levinson in The Band That Wouldn’t Die, Ziemann’s ability to keep the marching band of the Baltimore Colts together and see it through to the Ravens and two more Super Bowl titles makes him a dreamer who saw his vision to its fruition.

How many times did Ziemann think or hear that his band would die long before – and hell would freeze  before the NFL would return to Baltimore? The Marching Ravens tie the community and its roots back to Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts of 33rd Street more than any other local tradition.

Just for the record, Carroll Rosenbloom and Bob Irsay didn’t make our #WNSTSweet16 cut. They were a part of taking the Baltimore Colts from our city. Ziemann was the loudest and most authentic part of bringing the NFL back.

See next page for No. 15

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To honor an American hero, this week’s #WNSTSweet16 is about “dreamers”

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To honor an American hero, this week’s #WNSTSweet16 is about “dreamers”

Posted on 19 January 2014 by Glenn Clark

We’re into the third week of our year long #WNSTSweet16 celebration, recognizing a remarkable 16 years of WNST.net as Baltimore’s sports media leader.

To mark the occasion, we’re spending the year looking into the biggest “water cooler” topics in Baltimore sports history. If you’ve missed our first couple of lists, take a look back on them. Last week Luke Jones celebrated the NFL Playoffs by looking into the greatest postseason moments in local sports history. We introduced #WNSTSweet16 the week before when I took a look at the greatest debuts in local sports history.

As a country this week we’re recognizing one of our greatest Americans. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an incredible visionary and leader of the civil rights movement. We recognized the 50th anniversary of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington just last August and continue to recognize the role he played in bringing social justice in our country as we celebrate MLK Day Monday.

It’s with that in mind that this week’s list is about “dreamers” as well. “The Nasty One” himself Nestor Aparicio will take on this week’s topic, the “#WNSTSweet16 Local Sports Figures Who Had A Dream”.

This is where we need your help. Nestor certainly has an idea of which 16 dreamers should be included in this list, but he wants your help to come up with those he might not have thought of and where these dreamers should rank on this list. Like in other weeks, we’re looking to make a “definitive” list, not just a personal opinion list.

As I thought about the possibilities for this week’s list, a number of names came to mind. William Donald Schaefer had a dream for downtown Baltimore that was heavy in local sports. Former Maryland football player Kevin Plank had a dream for a product that would help athletes in tough conditions that would ultimately lead to one of the biggest companies in the world. Lefty Driesell had a dream to make Maryland “the UCLA of the East”, Gary Williams had a dream for a new basketball facility in College Park.

Art Modell had a dream to re-create a football culture in Charm City, Steve Bisciotti had a dream to take that franchise even further. Daryl Hill had a dream to integrate the ACC. John Rallo had a dream to bring Mixed Martial Arts to the state of Maryland, Bob Bowman had a dream to coach Olympic swimming champions. Peter Angelos had a dream to…well…I’m not entirely sure.

Who else? What other local sports figures were “dreamers”? Where should they rank? Let us know here in the comments. We’ll be discussing our “dreamers” throughout the day Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. We encourage you to discuss the topic Monday via social media by using the hashtag #WNSTSweet16. On Tuesday morning, Nestor will unveil the list here at WNST.net and he will discuss it with Luke Jones on “The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction” Tuesday morning at 8am. He’ll then check back in Tuesday afternoon at 4pm on “The Reality Check Driven by Jerry’s Chevrolet” to discuss the list with me.

Give us your thoughts. Whose dreams most shaped local sports?

-G

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How are the Ravens and Orioles different?  You’ll see today at 10:00 am

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How are the Ravens and Orioles different? You’ll see today at 10:00 am

Posted on 08 January 2014 by Drew Forrester

Of all the days that separate the two professional sports teams in Baltimore, today is the one that stands out the most.

No games get played.

No one wins.  No one loses.

No players signed.  No money spent.

Today is the day that tells you everything you need to know about the Ravens — and at the same time, reminds you of what you already knew about the Orioles.

Some might also consider that today shows why one of the teams is a perennial winner and the other isn’t.

This morning at 10:00 am, the football team will hold its annual “State of the Ravens” press conference at their facility in Owings Mills.  They don’t do this occasionally.  They don’t do it only after a successful season.  Since Steve Bisciotti assumed full control of the team, they’ve hosted this event every year a week or two after the season concludes.

It’s called, in a word, “accountability”.

The Ravens ooze it.

The Orioles need a transfusion of it.

The only person who faces the media regularly for the Orioles is Buck Showalter, and that’s typically only in pre-game or post-game form.  Buck hasn’t had any sort of pre-season en-masse sitdown with the Baltimore media since he took the job and, likewise, hasn’t had a post-season presser for the media in town to pepper him with questions about the season.  That said, I bet you anything you want that Showalter would gladly sit down with the media if presented the option of doing so without the natural interference provided by the stuffed suits at OPACY.

Dan Duquette hasn’t had a press conference – other than when he was hired – in…well…ummm…forever.

Hilarious, right?

Repeat this to yourself at least once to completely absorb the amazing lack of responsibility on behalf of Orioles management: Dan Duquette is entering his third season with the Orioles and he’s never, once, faced the Baltimore press corps for a “bring it on” press conference where we’re all allowed to ask questions about the way the baseball franchise is run.

Go ahead, read that again.  Unreal.  Right?

This, of course, is in direct contrast to the Ravens, who will welcome any and all media members into their house today and allow questions to be thrown at Bisciotti, Team President Dick Cass, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh.

None of the questions will be dodged, unless some goof in the room says something like, “Yeah, this is for Ozzie.  Are you guys interested in trading for Justin Blackmon of the Jaguars?  He’s really good you know.”  Ozzie, of course, can’t answer any question about a player currently under contract with another team.  But he’ll answer any other REAL questions thrown his way today.

There’s no list of “off-limits-topics” distributed beforehand.  And, unlike the Orioles, who specialize in not allowing their critics to question them, the Ravens don’t “hand-pick” who is allowed in the room and who asks questions and who doesn’t.

The Orioles are so afraid of their critics they take away their press credentials and display a picture of the suspect at the main entrance behind home plate the same way the FBI posts pictures of their Most Wanted List in post offices.

The Ravens say, “Come on in, everyone, and ask whatever you want.”

The Orioles say, “You — you, right there.  You can come in.  You, though, you can’t come in.”

Accountability.  It’s what fuels today’s “State of the Ravens” gathering.

As long time Ravens P.R. Vice President Kevin Byrne said to me once, “We like this sort of review.  We appreciate the questions and the challenges.  We constantly evaluate ourselves.  We’re not worried about having people ask us why we do what we do.”

After the press conference, all four of the men will routinely hang around for some “off-the-record” discussions in the event you wanted to press an issue that was touched upon during the “open” portion of the event.

Yes, it’s true.  Steve Bisciotti simply stands in the corner and you ask him whatever you want.  One year, I asked him, simply, “How much money did the team make this past season?”  And, he stood right there and answered it.

Can you imagine asking Peter Angelos that question?

Wait — can you imagine Peter making himself AVAILABLE, first of all?  Then, what if that question got posed to him?  You can only imagine the result.

(Please see next page)

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Orioles Need to Practice What They Preach

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Orioles Need to Practice What They Preach

Posted on 13 December 2013 by Brett Dickinson

We have heard it all offseason; we have heard it for the past decade. After Orioles owner Peter Angelos was quoted saying Baltimore is a “limited market.” GM Dan Duquette has reiterated those sentiments, discussing the minute “resources” and trying to stay “competitive” against the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox.  

 

We all know the real story there; the owner refuses to open his wallet, knowing he is going to take $3.50 from every household in the Baltimore area for his MASN network. The reports circle every offseason how much Angelos grosses from his TV deal, but we all know that money will never be re-allocated to the roster, while he is in charge.

 

In the end, he is the owner and that is his prerogative; he can basically run his “business” however he so chooses (even if that means spitting in the face of those who fatten his pockets; but that’s a different story, which is already well reported by the WNST staff). If Angelos is going to stick to that “business plan” (if you want to call it that), then the team must operate as such.

 

Every offseason for the past ten or so years, we hear about those players that the Orioles are “interested” in acquiring.  Whether it is Mark Teixeira or Zack Greinke or Nelson Cruz, everyone knows the real story; the team will not pony up enough to garner their services, but cry that those players would not sign in Baltimore. So as a fan base, this is a plea for the the organization to stop with this nonsense.

 

It is time for the Orioles front office to embrace the “limited market” mantra they have been spewing for years. Stop acting as if the team will be actual players in the offseason; start acting like the team that will build from within.

 

Andy McPhail started that idea years ago; after moving Erik Bedard for Adam Jones (a move that panned out pretty damn well).  But those are the smart (and tough) decisions the organization has evaded, since their resurgence in 2012.  Take emotion out of your moves; basically make decisions with your head and not your heart.

 

The team traded away Closer Jim Johnson, one year too late and could not capitalize on his value at the time.  A contending team like the Dodgers or Tigers or Cardinals (I know I’ve said this before) would have given up an everyday player or at least some top level prospects in return if they would have pulled the trigger last offseason. Instead, the Orioles received a struggling 25 year, who was demoted to Triple A in 2013.

 

The same goes for fan favorite Matt Wieters; he’s been a gold-glover and an All-Star, but is he really worth the $100 that his agent (noted Orioles pain in the ass, Scott Boras) will ask for. The question is now what can you get in return for an overworked catcher, who is slow and cannot hit above .250?  If they would have considered moving Wieters before last season, they would have returned several top prospects and MLB players, while his value was at an all-time high.  Now, no one can even be  sure Wieters can get back even one everyday player or starting pitcher.

 

The point is that if you want to pretend that Baltimore is such a “limited” market than put your business plan in place as such.  Do not keep stringing along the hopes of fans holding out that the team will actually sign a Shin Shoo-Choo; start following the same model of successful “limited” market teams, like the Tampa Bay Rays.

 

Before last season, they traded away a pretty good top-of-the-rotation starter in James Shields. In return they only received…the top prospect in baseball in OF Wil Myers and the Royals best pitching prospect, Jake Odorizzi.  

 

David PriceNow the team is in the same bind with former Cy Young Award Winner, David Price.  Since their actual resources are limited, they understand they cannot retain him under their budget.  In turn, the Rays, a perennial winning franchise in baseball, is looking to deal one of the top five best pitchers in the entire MLB.

 

And why? Because they understand value and have a business plan in place for the next several years.  They are stocked with young talent on throughout their farm system and continually replace players, like Price or Shields, with more top prospects.  

 

The Orioles brass seem to have little grasp of this concept, especially after standing still for the past two offseasons.  The tough moves are always the hardest, but will always help in the long scheme of things.  If the front office has no intentions of keeping around some of the team’s “star” players in the not too distant future, (i.e. Chris Davis) then why not make the tough decision now.  

 

Chris Davis ShirtIf the slugger is not in your future plans or budget, then why not recoup as much as possible for players the Orioles will have control over for the next seven-eight years.  Teams would be lining up with their best offers to acquire the services of a power-hitting first baseman with two years left of team control.

 

But then again this is the Orioles we are talking about. They will bank you parking your butt in the seats at Camden Yards for the next two seasons, to watch “Crush” hit bombs towards the warehouse.  All the while, you handing them money for tickets and hot dogs and beers and merchandise.

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The Sun gets the treatment I said they’d get from The Orioles

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The Sun gets the treatment I said they’d get from The Orioles

Posted on 06 December 2013 by Drew Forrester

If my Thursday edition of Drew’s Morning Dish here at WNST.net was a post-touchdown-celebration, this is what you’d be hearing from the referee.

“There are two penalties on the play, both occurring after the touchdown.  There’s a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration AND a 15-yard penalty for taunting.”

Did I call that one, or what?

As you can read RIGHT HERE, I opined on Thursday that the Orioles would reach out to Peter Schmuck of The Sun by nightfall to chastise him for his Wednesday column in which he wrote, essentially, that the Jim Johnson trade on Monday night “had the fingerprints of ownership all over it.”

Reach out they did.  They had the owner AND the general manager get a hold of Schmuck to “straighten him out”.  In fact, they straightened him out TWICE on Thursday.  His Thursday piece at The Sun was edited twice yesterday (and the headline changed, too) when Peter Angelos and Dan Duquette both contacted him to make sure he got their story right.

I’m a Peter Schmuck fan, by the way.  I think he’s very well sourced in town.  Actually, I know he’s very well sourced.  And, I think Peter knows sports and knows the way things work in this city when it comes to matters of the Orioles.

I also know – with all due respect to Brett Hollander who is doing a fine job as the host at WBAL – that Schmuck would be hosting a lot of WBAL’s nightly local sports coverage if the Orioles approved it a few years ago when the opening first existed.

Yesterday, though, was so “Orioles-ish” it’s remarkable.

I’ve certainly experienced it ten-fold over the years.  Greg Bader once told me in the Camden Yards press box “only one person listens to you”, but whenever they wanted my access restricted (twice, now, in the last six years) they simply took my media credential away and said, “You can’t come in and cover the team…”

Schmuck got different treatment yesterday.  Once he posted his piece on the The Sun website, the Orioles THEN reacted to it.

They’re as easy to read as a copy of Playboy in the men’s bathroom at your local athletic club.

You try to reach out to the Orioles to get some sort of comment from them on any matter and they don’t return your calls or your emails because…well, because they just don’t feel like wasting their time with you.

Until you write or say something they don’t like.

Then, suddenly, their phone or email works.

It’s reprehensible, really, that a “professional” organization operates in such a fashion, but the Orioles have showed over the years an amazing ability to do things completely on the other side of Planet Professional.

This, by the way, is just beginning.

What I mean by “this” is an uprising of sorts from a fan base that is starting to put pressure on the baseball team to step up to the next level and operate their franchise at a level commensurate with the revenue they’re generating from the community.

It’s not that different than what’s going on in the country these days with regard to President and the government in general.  Folks have grown tired of this charade that’s been going for five years and are starting to demand real answers and real accountability.

We, here, at WNST have been demanding answers and accountability from the baseball franchise for about seven years now.

Throughout that time, we were the subject of scorn from “real” baseball fans in town — those at Orioles Hangout, season ticket holders and die-hards alike — who criticized us for our supposed “agenda”.

Now, the worm has turned.

Orioles Hangout looks like it’s been set on fire with a huge number of their sheep having discovered what WNST knew and communicated all along.  There’s outrage over there as they now – in 2014, almost – are starting to hold the owner’s feet to the fire for the on-field product.

Peter Schmuck held the Orioles accountable this week and look what it got him.

Phone calls, revisions and, in general, an orange finger wagged in his face that said, “Don’t you be writing those things…”

I love it, personally.

If the Orioles were more honest from jump street – with the media, the fans and themselves – this sort of stuff wouldn’t happen.

But, they’re not.

And, so it now begins.

The Orioles vs. everyone else.

Only this time, there’s a lot more of “everyone else” than there has been in the past.

Weird how that works, huh?

 

 

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There’s a new three-word theme for Orioles 2014

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There’s a new three-word theme for Orioles 2014

Posted on 05 December 2013 by Drew Forrester

Seven years ago, the three-word theme for all things Orioles was “Free The Birds”.

On September 21, 2006, nearly 2,000 die-hards of the team strolled upstairs in Camden Yards and watched the first few innings of a meaningless Orioles-Tigers game from the upper deck to show the baseball team there are still people in town willing to put their money where the mouth (and feet) is, as the saying goes.

Later on that afternoon, the upper deck was empty when everyone walked out to show their protest for how things were going with our beloved Birds.

There will always be varying opinions on whether or not that one-day rally made any impact on Peter Angelos and his disciples at Camden Yards, but there will never be a doubt about the fact that it got pulled off in All-Star fashion and got folks both in Baltimore and across the country interested in a bubbling fan rebellion.

We’re all “big boy enough” to also acknowledge that the Orioles got their feelings hurt that day and essentially pulled the plug on any future professional treatment of most things WNST Radio.  Funny, though, WNST has survived that bush-league treatment from the Orioles and the Orioles have survived “Free The Birds”.

Well – we’re now coming up on 2014 and it’s time for a new three-word phrase to be the bumper sticker for those of you in Baltimore who still care about the team, buy the merchandise and go to the games.

Three new words — Open. The. Books.

It’s time for the Orioles to man-up and open their operating books and give the public a real glimpse into their day-to-day operational costs, revenue, expenses and financial obligations.

I am NOT saying to literally have a press conference and distribute a 9-page booklet with every single line item on the revenue and expense side exposed and explained.  I wouldn’t expect that.

What I am saying, though, is the club should provide a “general overview” of their revenue and expenses to give everyone in town an idea of their business approach and why, for example, the (insert team here) will be able to give Shin-Soo Choo $90 million for six years but the Orioles can’t afford to do that.

Tell everyone — the people in town who keep your business afloat — how much you’re spending on scouting.  Is it $8 million?  $15 million?  $22 million?  Tell everyone what your travel costs are.  $3.2 million?  $6.1 million?  Give us an idea of what you’re spending in the minor league system.  $11.5 million?  $14.2 million?

Give us a general update of the revenue:  Tickets, sponsorship sales, concessions.  We already know the TV money.  Those numbers ARE public, which I’m quite certain drives the Orioles completely bonkers.  They’ll be taking in somewhere around $85 million in 2014 just from television revenue alone when you combine their national “take” ($55 million) and local haul ($30 million).

And, for those of you who are going to say “no team in baseball would open their books” you better READ THIS RIGHT HERE  from the owner of the Colorado Rockies.

Why is “Open The Books” important?

That’s easy.

No one believes the Orioles when they say, “We don’t have the RESOURCES (that’s the word Dan Duquette uses these days when referring to money) to compete with these BIG MARKET franchises.”

I know I certainly don’t believe it.

Unless you’re from Old Mill High School or you’re naive or you’re a dummy or you’re an apologist, you don’t believe it either.

Some baseball fans in Denver didn’t think the Rockies were doing all they could do to win based on their financial formula, so their owner said, “Well, we’ll show you how our business works.  If you don’t believe us, we’ll prove it to you.”

I’ll remind everyone that about twelve or so years ago, Peter Schmuck of The Sun floated this idea about “opening the books” and the Orioles brass went completely ballistic.  They cold shouldered Schmuck, refused to do interviews with the Sun, tongue-kissed the Washington Post and, in general, did what they always do when things don’t go their way — treated him unprofessionally.

Speaking of Schmuck, the piece he wrote yesterday at The Sun will absolutely result in a phone call (already has, likely) from Greg Bader of the Orioles who will go to great lengths to point out where Schmuck was wrong in his opinion that the Orioles look like they don’t know what they’re doing.

If you think that’s just Drew being paranoid or picking on the Orioles, get a glass of wine with Schmuck one night and ask him how many times the Orioles PR folks have accosted him over the years about something he wrote in the newspaper.  I know the truth.

I implored the Orioles to put BALTIMORE on their road uniforms for the better part of two seasons (they angrily called it a “crusade” in-house) and they took my daily press credential from me in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

That’s what they do.

And yes, there’s a risk that being the self-called campaign crusade-manager for the new “Open The Books” request might get me mistreated even more than I already have been…but they stole my press credential in September and I didn’t even do anything wrong, so I’m not in danger of losing anything else of importance.

The Orioles should open their books and show the people who FUND THEIR BUSINESS where their money goes.

If they spent money on baseball players and tried to compete with the rest of the big boys, we wouldn’t need to peer in their closet.

The baseball team in Baltimore has gobs and gobs of money.  A lot of it comes from you and I.  We’d just like to know what they’re doing with it, that’s all.

Open the books, Orioles.

We’ll officially call it:  Open the books 2014.

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Johnson Trade Too Little, Too Late

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Johnson Trade Too Little, Too Late

Posted on 03 December 2013 by Brett Dickinson

Its official; no one will get that queezy feeling at Camden Yards in the 9th inning, when hearing “The Pretender” anymore.  Jim Johnson was moved to the Oakland Athletics for second baseman,  Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later.  What a difference a year makes.

Jim JohnsonIf the Orioles moved Johnson before last season (like I said here and here), they would have had a pick of the litter of players from several different contending teams.  What would have the Tigers or Dodgers or Cardinals have done to sure up their closing roles before 2013? It sure as hell would have been more than a 26 year old second baseman with “potential.”

The lack of proactive nature by the organization has cost the Orioles a great deal, in terms of on-field production.  Johnson has been a good relief pitcher for years, but his value was at his highest at the end of 2012 playoff season.  For a team that wants to build with youth, to sustain success for the future, making tough decisions, with generally likeable guys, is simply a must.

Jemile WeeksAs for the return, Baltimore receives a player, in Weeks, that could be the everyday second baseman (but confidence in that actually panning out has to pretty low at this point).  After being called up in 2011 (which he played 96), he posted a .303 average and .421 OPS, with 22 stolen bases. But following his stellar first MLB season, things went awfully wrong for the 12th overall pick in the 2008 draft.  Hitting just .211 in 2012, leading to a demotion by the A’s; playing in only nine games in the majors in 2013.  Though he had decent numbers in the minors last season (.271 avg, .376 OPS, 17 stolen bases), Weeks could not have foreseen his career path heading in this direction.

But what could Orioles really expect to recoup in a trade for a player everyone in the MLB knows they will not pay $10 million?  Johnson was one of the most inconsistent relief pitchers in baseball last year; leading the league in saves and blown saves. He never had dominating “stuff” to finish out games, did not have enough strikeouts as a closer and put too many runners on base.

Could Johnson have contributed for the Orioles in 2014? Absolutely.  If Buck Showalter would move him back into a less-volatile role, in the 7th or 8th inning (like he was pre-2012), there is a good chance he could regain his form.  But with the manager’s loyalty, Buck would probably be too tempted to throw Johnson into a game with a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth.  The team simply had to move on and got the only thing possible in return; potential.

Jim JohnsonThe same fans that wanted to DFA (designate for assignment), essentially releasing Johnson for nothing, halfway through last year, now are complaining about the balance of this trade.  As for the organization “saving” all that money, this is baseball, there is no salary cap, teams can pay players whatever they like. There is no cash limit in baseball that teams have to adhere to and the Orioles are no where near the luxury tax threshold. And with an organization that has a successful television network, cost-cutting on a contending team is inexcusable.

Did the Orioles clear some dead money off the books? Yes. Will they use that money to acquire much needed depth on the big league club? Only the next couple weeks will tell. Of course, Peter Angelos could just pocket that money and let his “baseball people” make the baseball decisions, with the roster as it stands.

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