Tag Archive | "Peter Angelos"

Tags: , , , ,

MASN has gobs of money but they don’t want to give any of it to the Nationals

Posted on 12 June 2012 by Drew Forrester

You would think the prospect of the Orioles getting $75 million or more annually via TV rights fees would make the ballclub happy.

It might also make them better.

But that’s not the case.

It’s not the case because the same guy who owns the Orioles also happens to own the TV network that pays that rights fee to the team.  Confused?  Conflict-of-interest, you say?  Perhaps it is, but that’s what the story involving MASN and the Washington Nationals has become — one giant conflict of interest.

Sadly, it’s the Orioles on-field product that could suffer the most during this time of uncertainty.


The short version of the story is this:  The Washington Nationals currently receive $29 million a year from MASN for a rights fee.  They are allowed to “challenge” that rights fee figure every 5 years.  The Nationals believe they should receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million per-year in exchange for MASN televising their home and away games.  MASN feels like $35 million is a fair number.  Therein lies the conflict, one that has remained unresolved for so long that Major League Baseball had to step in to arbitrate the situation and award a new rights fee figure to the Nationals.

Oh, yeah, the Orioles also receive $29 million annually from MASN.

Peter Angelos owns MASN.

And he also is the majority stockholder of the Orioles.

You get it, now?

MASN receives roughly $14 million a month (yes, a MONTH) from Xfinity (nee Comcast) according to a source familiar with the financial agreement between those two.  That $168 million alone would be more than enough for MASN to generate nearly a $70 million profit according to the source.  Add in payments from Verizon, DirectTV and other cable carriers in the Mid-Atlantic and the sports network could be pocketing more than $100 million in annual profits.

So what’s the issue at hand?


The Nationals  – currently receiving $29 million – think their fair value is more like $100 million a year.

MASN doesn’t want to give it to them.  In fact, they’d rather just hand over $35 million annually to the DC franchise.

Wrapping this up and making it into a real barnburner is the added situation involving the Orioles and their rights fee.  When Peter Angelos (MASN) negotiated with Peter Angelos (Orioles), Peter made Peter agree to a clause that stipulates the Orioles will always receive the same amount of annual rights money as the Nationals receive from MASN.  Pretty tricky, huh?

Now, though, Peter doesn’t want to pay the Nationals $50 million or $75 million or $100 million because…yep…he’d also have to pay the Orioles the same amount.

It’s not quite as intriguing as “50 Shades of Grey” but it’s a helluva story.


When the TV network originated back in 2006, it was done so almost purely to provide the Orioles with enough additional revenue to compete with big market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox.  There’s the still-legendary story that Angelos handed to then-fledgling “Press Box” in which the owner claimed the only way to compete with the beasts of the AL East would be to spend with them for free agents using a RSN (Regional Sports Network) as the catalyst for such spending.

Interestingly enough, it’s the Nationals – not the Orioles – who have become players in the free agent market over the last few years.  Whether or not you like Jayson Werth as a player, one thing is for sure:  the Nationals weren’t afraid to put money on the table for him a few years ago.  They made a legitimate effort for Mark Teixeira in 2009 and reportedly made overtures to Prince Fielder before he signed on in Detroit.

That Washington is in first place right now isn’t really part of this story.  That the Nationals aren’t afraid to spend money – lots of it – on baseball players most certainly is, though.

Therein lies another reason that MASN (Angelos) doesn’t want to inflate the rights fee paid out to the Nationals.  He knows the Nats will spend it on players.  He knows, in stark contrast to what his club has done since MASN hit the scene in 2006, the Nationals will improve their team with his money.

And if Washington spends their (just for for argument sake) $70 million on players and ups their annual payroll to the $125 million or so mark, what will the Orioles do with the $70 million THEY receive from MASN?  Will they spend that extra money (roughly $45 million more than they receive right now) on players, too?

(Please see next page) 

Comments (15)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I hope contract helps Jones keep Birds accountable

Posted on 27 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

I’ve already used both space on Twitter (@WNST, @GlennClarkWNST) and on AM1570 WNST.net to opine about the significance of the Baltimore Orioles giving CF Adam Jones the richest contract in franchise history.

We now finally know all of the details and Jones is set to discuss those details Sunday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

I won’t be attending Sunday’s press conference. I would, but our WNST.net Ballpark reporter Luke Jones has been denied the right to ask questions at previous press conferences and I don’t want to run the risk of causing a scene at what should almost certainly be a day of celebration.

Adam Jones’ contract extension is as much an event to celebrate as almost anything we’ve seen in the last 15 years of baseball in Charm City. The Birds have perhaps addressed both their present and their future and made a major statement about their willingness to do things differently than they have for more than decade while losing many more games than they won.

I’m aware Jones perhaps took a hometown discount in signing the contract a season and a half shy of free agency. I’m aware the team still appears to need more pitching than they currently have to be an annual contender. I’m aware that the team now needs to shift attention to catcher Matt Wieters when it comes to contracts.

There was something bigger than jumped out at me though.

As I was given more time to dissect what Jones’ deal really means, I thought back to December 1997. For O’s fans around my age, Brady Anderson was about the coolest thing to ever happen to the Orange & Black. He had young female fans worship him and young male fans…well…basically worship him. He had it all. Sideburns, muscles, personality, charm, speed, defense and an amazing 50 home run season.

(I didn’t mention anything about performance enhancing drugs. You do what you want there.)

After Anderson’s 50 home run campaign in 1996 and the Orioles’ run to the ALCS in ’97, young fans like myself lived in fear of waking up one morning to be informed that Anderson had signed a major deal with the New York Yankees or Atlanta Braves or Cleveland Indians.

Anderson was certainly not the commodity at 34 that Jones would have been had he reached free agency at 28, but he still had market interest. He ultimately passed on shorter deals with more per season to accept five years and $31 million from Peter Angelos and the Orioles. Anderson’s best seasons were clearly behind him, but it still meant quite a bit for the franchise to make the move.

I also thought back to January of 2009, when Andy MacPhail locked up OF Nick Markakis for six years and $66 million, the richest contract extension the franchise had given to a player until Jones’ deal. (SS Miguel Tejada had received the overall most lucrative contract in team history until Jones.) While certainly not reaching superstar status, Markakis has given the Birds stellar defense and a mostly consistent bat.

But beyond the significant contracts, there is a more important similarity between the two players whose time has spanned much of the team’s “Rock Bottom Era.” The issue is that neither player was able to use his major contract to help keep the team accountable.

A baseball player with a rich contract is in a unique situation with the franchise paying the deal. Because the money is guaranteed, the player has the right to get away with certain things a player in another league might not be able to. In the case of the Orioles, they’ve really needed a player who has been willing to stand up and say “we need better” as the team suffered through losing seasons after losing season.

Allow me to be fair to the two players involved. Anderson was only part of the club at the very beginning of their lean years, and the team was still making at least some attempts to improve by bringing in the likes of Albert Belle and others. (Anderson however has become a well known defender of the Angelos regime in recent years, which has helped him find his way back into the organization.) Markakis has never been much of a vocal type, but he did publicly question the direction of the organization. His participated in a dinner with Angelos that season to discuss those very issues.

Perhaps there is an argument to be made that Markakis’ 2010 outburst DID lead to accountability, as two years later the Orioles have shown themselves (at least for two months) to be one of the better teams in baseball.

But moving forward, I hope it’s a role that suits Jones well. I hope the fire, drive, passion and determination to win that have made Jones an emotional figure in recent years will translate both on field and off. I hope that if the Birds make questionable decisions, he’ll call them out for them. It doesn’t need to be something he does publicly, just a statement made privately from the player slated to receive more money during his tenure than any Oriole before.

I hope Jones embraces not only the responsibilities of an on field leader and star, but as a bit of a caretaker for an organization that has so desperately lacked the right man for the role. I hope he puts pressure on the organization to make the moves necessary to stay in contention every season. I hope he never takes the easy way out and thinks “Mr. Angelos (or insert future owner’s name here) has made me a rich man. It’s not my place to stand up to him.”

I feel as though Jones can be a significant part of the solution for the Orioles. I hope he’s up for everything that comes along with the task.


Comments (2)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Monday Reality Check-Horse Racing, Orioles in similar spot for three weeks

Posted on 21 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

I’ve attempted to put events I’ve attended into words for years.

Baltimore Ravens football games, University of Maryland football and basketball games, a multitude of local hoops and lacrosse games and even a press conference or twenty have quickly turned into 600-1400 words worth of type off my fingers.

Almost every time I’ve written something, even the columns I’ve been particularly pleased with, I’ve looked somewhere else on the web and thought to myself “damn, that person can WRITE” after reading what they had to say about the same event.

Such was the case again this weekend. I had already decided my Monday morning column would be related to the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes, but I hadn’t exactly decided what angle I was going to take. It only took me a trip to my friend Kevin Van Valkenburg (of ESPN The Magazine/Hug It Out Radio fame and late Baltimore Sun)’s Facebook page for me to once again utter the phrase.

It wasn’t because of something KVV had written this time though. It was one of his colleagues’ stories he had linked, and it made me say “damn, Jeff MacGregor can WRITE.”

MacGregor scribed this exceptional postscript to an incredible victory from Kentucky Derby champ I’ll Have Another, celebrating the excitement of an underdog champ at the coming buildup to a Triple Crown chance in the context of a fledgling sport.

Many commenters on ESPN.com and throughout social media however were turned off by the nature of MacGregor’s tone, most notably this line…

“None of which matters, because horse racing is dead.”

MacGregor didn’t really say anything we haven’t already accepted as fact, we’ve just been more apt to use a kinder term like “struggling” or “suffering” instead of flat out placing the industry in a black bag and shipping it to the morgue.

Horse racing HAS been troubled for some time. The depth of the fall has been particularly evident in the state of Maryland, where “the sport of kings” has been all but nonexistent for years. Sure, the industry shines for a few days each spring at Pimlico and each fall at Laurel Park, but even on the brightest day the problems in the industry are obvious.

Unlike some, I have no interest in fighting with MacGregor. I think he’s absolutely right. I just feel as though the potentially monumental turn for horse racing in the next month can be celebrated whether or not the sport is staring into the face of imminent doom.

I’ll Have Another’s charge to the wire Saturday was breathtaking. 14 days earlier we had no way to know that an unknown trainer (Doug O’Neill) and jockey (Mario Gutierrez) had a longshot in position to track down the exceptional favorite (Bodemeister) trained by the Hall of Famer (Bob Baffert) and ridden by a Hall of Famer (Mike Smith) as well. On Saturday we knew it was possible but found it no less amazing.

“There’s no way this can happen again.”

You definitely heard me make the argument for Bodemeister throughout the week. “There’s no speed horse to take Bodemeister out to a dangerous speed this time. The race is 1/16 of a mile shorter. There are nine fewer horses to crowd things at the front and push the favorite too much early. There’s just no way things can shape up for I’ll Have Another as perfectly as they did in Louisville.”

Comments (3)

Tags: , , ,


Posted on 13 May 2012 by Erich Hawbaker

Well, the Birds overcame a 7-1 deficit and came within an out of sweeping the Rays on Mothers’ Day 2012. Quite a different story than the infamous Mothers’ Day Massacre up in Boston a few years ago (in case you’ve forgotten that one, poor Jeremy Guthrie took a 5-0 shutout into the bottom of the 9th inning only get pulled from the game and watch the bullpen give up 6 runs; it was also the beginning of the end for Sam Perlozzo’s managerial career). But thusfar, this Orioles team has made it easier to put that one and the 13 others like it behind us.

If you had told me in March that the Orioles would ever be 10 games over .500 this year or would have the best bullpen ERA in baseball, I would ask you when the mother ship was going to pick you up. Is it really that hard to figure out? When you have good pitching, you can win most of the time. Of course, a potent offense doesn’t hurt either, but as we’ve seen plenty of times before, hitting alone isn’t enough when your pitchers can’t hold the lead.

And so, the big question inevitably becomes whether or not the O’s can keep this up all the way thru the season. Your guess is as good as mine. It’s the same kind of nervous optimism you get playing poker when you have pocket kings and an ace comes on the flop. From the beginning, I’ve been enough of a cynic to believe that this phenomenally hot start is going to cool off sooner or later. But at the same time, I can’t deny that being an Orioles fan right now is more fun than it’s been in over a decade. They’re getting the big hits when they need them. They’re playing good defense. And perhaps most importantly, they’re NEVER out of the game until the last out is recorded.

Only time will tell. But if current trends continue, the Orioles are on pace to win 96 games this year. Maybe, just maybe, the baseball gods are finally smiling on Baltimore again. Heaven knows we’ve waited and suffered long enough. But I’ve also heard it said that the devil’s greatest achievement is making people believe that he doesn’t exist. And, although it’s easy to forget right now, Peter G. Angelos is still running this show.

Comments Off on Dämmerung

Tags: , , , ,

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Posted on 19 April 2012 by Erich Hawbaker

As usual, the Orioles have started the season strong and have thusfar played well and been fun to watch. But unless I and every other casual observer are dead wrong, the Orioles will hang in there thru May, falter in June or July, and be completely out of contention by August. It’s a really good feeling to look at the standings and see your team on top, but the last time I did that in the month of September was before I even had my driver’s license. And now this year, my 30th birthday will come and go while the Angelos reign of terror continues.

That may be a corny segue, but reigns of terror are tonight’s real topic. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen put both feet in his mouth again last week by telling Time magazine that he admires Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The history in a nutshell: As a young man, Castro and his lieutenant Ernesto “Che” Guevara led the bloody communist overthrow of Cuba’s government in 1959. When it was over, Castro made himself Cuba’s President, and still holds the office to this day. Tens of thousands of Cubans were tortured and killed during and after the revolution, and many others fled to the United States and settled in Florida. Today, the city of Miami is the epicenter of Cuban exiles and their descendants, many of whom still dream of the day when Cuba is free again.

The Miami fans were furious, and Guillen subsequently apologized and was suspended for five games by the Marlins (not MLB). Granted, if Guillen were the manager of the Mariners or the Twins or the Brewers, there may not have been such a level of anger from the local fanbase. But should there be?

As I started thinking about this, the first person that came to my mind was Marge Schott. If you’re younger than me, you may not even recall who she is, as I barely remember her myself. Marge Schott was the owner of the Cincinnati Reds from 1984 to 1999, and is noteworthy as the first woman to buy a major league franchise. In many ways, she actually parallels Peter Angelos in that her legacy of philanthropy and community involvement is mostly overshadowed by her pitiful management of her team and other controversies. She was alleged to have frequently thrown around the n-word, said that she didn’t like her players to wear earrings because it “looked fruity” (apparently that’s a gay slur), and stated publicly more than once that Adolf Hitler had been a good leader for Germany but “went too far”. Schott and Angelos also have the commonality of firing manager Davey Johnson after a season in which he took their teams to the playoffs.

Schott was suspended by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for the entire 1993 season (that’s over six whole months) following her Hitler comments, which brings me back to Ozzie Guillen. If there is anything in this world that I hate, it is double standards. If Marge Schott had the book thrown at her for praising a genocidal dictator, why does Ozzie Guillen get a pass for doing the same thing?

Stop reading. Google up “Angelos Castro Selig” and click the images tab. Can it be? For those who don’t remember, back in 1999 Peter Angelos and Bud Selig arranged to have the Orioles play two exhibition games against the Cuban national all-star team, one in Baltimore and one in Havana (the visiting teams won both contests). The events were touted as gestures of good will and attempts to create more friendly US-Cuba relations, but another main goal was undoubtedly to get more access to Cuban players for MLB teams (which never happened). Peter Angelos, having been one of the top campaign contributors in the country to then-President Clinton and Congressional Democrats, had no trouble getting the government’s blessing to do all this in spite of America’s longstanding Cuban embargo. The aforementioned photograph is of Fidel Castro sitting in the stands in Havana and chatting with Peter Angelos and Bud Selig, who are seated on either side of him.

So obviously, Bud Selig doesn’t exactly have the standing to condemn Ozzie Guillen for kissing up to Fidel Castro, which is probably why he relied on the owners of the Marlins to do it. Now, I am not one who believes that we should run around punishing people for being offensive. By its nature, offensive speech is what the First Amendment was written to protect, and the second thing that I absolutely hate in this world is political correctness.

But I want consistency.

Back in 1999, Bud Selig armtwisted Marge Schott into selling her controlling interest in the Reds following her second round or pro-Hitler comments. And then last year, he oversaw the ugly removal of Frank McCourt as owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The big difference between the two was that while Schott’s ouster was purely personal, McCourt’s was due to shady business practices; specifically that he was “siphoning team revenue for non-baseball use and had completely alienated the Dodgers’ fanbase.” according to MLB’s court briefs.

Does that sound like somebody we know?

MASN pulled in $159 million in revenue last year, so you can do a little arithmetic and figure out about how much it has made since its creation seven years ago. We all remember the promises Peter Angelos made about using that money to improve the team and how this was finally going to give the Orioles the resources needed to compete with Yankees and Red Sox. And yet, since MASN was created, the Orioles annual payroll has averaged just $78 million- not significantly higher than it was before MASN and less than half of what New York or Boston paid in that same time period. Of course, operating expenses and lots of taxes accounted for some of it, but one still has to ask “That money wasn’t invested in the Orioles, so where did it go?”

Bud Selig was willing to kick Marge Schott and Frank McCourt out of the owners’ club for conduct that was immoral but not technically illegal. What Angelos has done with MASN isn’t technically illegal either; after all, he is a lawyer and he brokered the deal with Selig’s blessing. But now that we’ve had time to see it in action, there can be no question that what Angelos has done is highly unethical. He’s siphoned revenue away from not one but two teams for non-baseball purposes. He’s alienated the fanbase. He’s fixed it so that Comcast customers who aren’t even baseball fans are paying for his channels. And all the while, Bud Selig stood by and let it happen.

It’s the same thing that happens when the government plays favorites with private industry; different entities are allowed to play by different rules. This leads to a lack of true competition, and the end result is that the consumer is denied the full potential of what the free market could produce. Those who benefit from the unlevel playing field think that it’s just fine and are happy to leave it that way, while those who suffer because of it either accept it and work around it or just stop caring. It’s why less than half of America votes these days, and why Camden Yards is usually empty unless the Yankees or Red Sox are in town.

Bud Selig is too chummy with Peter Angelos to hold him accountable for getting rich by wrecking the Orioles, the same way he’s too chummy with Fidel Castro to say anything about Ozzie Guillen. Selig has failed to enforce his own standards equally, and we Orioles fans have suffered thru 15 years of pathetic losing baseball because of it. We all know that Cuba needs to be rid of Fidel Castro and the Orioles need to be rid Peter Angelos, but Major League Baseball also needs to be rid of Bud Selig.

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Monday Reality Check-O What A Weekend

Posted on 09 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

I receive plenty of ridiculous messages via Facebook, Twitter, email, text, phone and here at WNST.net every week. I have a soft spot in my heart for those many messages and those who send them.

On Sunday, one of the more ridiculous messages I’ve seen was brought to my attention on Twitter.

bet ur pissed Os are 3-0 and ur boycott isnt working

I won’t say who sent me the note because I have no idea if they’re an actual listener/reader or just a troll who was sent my way during my brief spat with Baltimore Orioles OF Adam Jones last week. There’s no particular reason to allow this person any attention anyway.

The statement here is so ridiculous that I will need a minute to address it. I’ll start with the notion that I’d be “pissed” about the O’s starting the season with a sweep of the Minnesota Twins. The note implies one of two things-either I’m not a fan of the Birds at all or I’m a fan who for some reason doesn’t want to see them win.

I’ll start with the notion that I’m somehow “not an Orioles fan”. Here’s a picture from Chase Field in 2007 when the Orioles visited the Arizona Diamondbacks and I was working at The Fan 1060 (KDUS) in Phoenix…

I looked almost exactly like that all weekend. I could probably post about 1,000 more pictures here-but you can check my personal Facebook page for your own proof. As Nestor Aparicio knows all too well, somehow asking for a team to get better translates into “not a fan” in the minds of folks who likely also believe their favorite band WANTS to be known as a sellout. I’m a Baltimore Orioles fan, plain and simple.

The next thought would be that I for some reason don’t want the team to win. This is an all-too-often misconception related to WNST’s “Free The Birds” campaign that I have openly supported since its’ inception in 2006. I’d like to come back to this in a second.

The final part of the statement “your boycott isn’t working” reflects an absolute lack of knowledge about “Free The Birds” in general. To some, it is incomprehensible that I can both believe a current regime is incapable of creating a quality product but yet appreciate the product when it shows to be of quality.

Before heading in to see the Birds open the season against the Twinkies Friday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I wandered across Pratt Street to chat with fellow fans at Luna Del Sea. I had a great time hanging out, talking baseball and promoting FTB. Two listeners in particular approached me to say “thank you” for defending those who believe in our cry (and also the cries of groups like “Occupy Eutaw Street”) on my show last Thursday. I engaged in a great back and forth in which I reiterated a statement that I feel must be repeated.

“Free The Birds to me has only ever been about one thing-making the team better. It’s not anything personal about players, managers, general managers or even (wait for it) owners. If the Orioles can get better and baseball can become relevant in Charm City again with Peter Angelos as owner I will owe a debt of gratitude to the man. I just don’t really believe it will happen.”

Free The Birds isn’t a “boycott”. Free The Birds is ABSOLUTELY not a statement that we don’t support the Baltimore Orioles when they take the field. Those misconceptions will exist in the minds of some forever, but it won’t make them true. Free The Birds (for me) is simply a belief and statement that losing is NOT okay.

That concept alone is apparently not even enough for all to agree. That’s fine. Not every fan has to demand quality from the entity they support. The fact that Bon Jovi has managed to sell plenty of concert tickets over the course of the last decade is living proof of that.

The fact is, I want quality from the Baltimore Orioles and I don’t believe it will happen with Peter Angelos as owner. But my belief/expectation will never be cause for me to “hope” or “root” against such an occurrence. As many of you are aware, I don’t pick the Baltimore Ravens to win every football game they play. There hasn’t been one time in my life however that I wasn’t rooting for them to show me just how little I know.

I root against my own belief that the Orioles will fail to succeed under the control of Peter Angelos. I OPENLY root against it.

Like many years during what I’ve called “The Rock Bottom Era” here in Baltimore, the Birds got off to a hot start this weekend. Pitchers Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter and Jason Hammel combined to allow ONE run over 22 innings pitched. That number seems so impossible I’ve actually quadruple-checked it.

After an Opening Day sellout, another crowd of 30,000 plus took in Saturday night’s game (there was even a buzz about it at Power Plant Live as I was leaving the Alabama Shakes show at Rams Head Live). Sunday’s crowd looked all too “Baltimorean”, but the Easter holiday clearly had something to do with it.

(Oh and I didn’t even mention the awesomeness of the orange uniforms Saturday night. The last time I’ve wanted an article of clothing so badly was the first time Stone Cold Steve Austin donned a knee brace.)

It was an awesome weekend that left the city buzzing. It makes Monday a happier day to be in the state of Maryland than it would have been otherwise.

It doesn’t mean things have changed with the Orioles organization. It doesn’t mean the Birds will be 6-0 when the New York Yankees leave town. It absolutely doesn’t mean the AL East should be on notice. It means we’ve had way more fun as fans for three days than we would have otherwise.

Of course, maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe this weekend marked an official turnaround for the Orioles. Maybe the excitement of eliminating the Boston Red Sox last September truly carried over and this type of baseball will be a reality for the Birds all season.

Maybe the Orioles truly are better despite an offseason that made us believe they might be worse.

Let me repeat that. Maybe this weekend was a sign that the Orioles really are better. I don’t believe it, but I’d love to be wrong.

If they are, Free The Birds is a success. This is all we’ve ever wanted.


Comments (7)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Your Monday Reality Check-The Only Word I Can Think Of Is Embarrassment

Posted on 02 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

Despite a couple of you who really struggled with the idea of “having fun”, Drew Forrester and I managed to pull off a semi-decent April Fools’ Day prank Sunday.

(Did you miss it? Check my personal Facebook page by searching for “Glenn Clark” and adding the guy who is “Zaching” or check my personal Twitter @GlennClarkWNST for the details. But to make sure we’re clear, Drew and I are NOT leaving WNST. You could probably tell that by )

It was a fun Sunday for those who were able to chuckle about it. For the gang over at CBS Radio Baltimore-I could sense they were in a bit of a panic.

One CBS Radio Baltimore (they operate our “competitor” 105.7 The Fan by the way) employee was particularly panicked about the whole gag, using it as an opportunity to take personal shots at members of our company. It’s not surprising and really doesn’t bother me that much. It just served as a nice reminder (or “Reality Check” if you will) about the differences between “us” and “them”.

Here at WNST this week we’re not going to be particularly busy worrying about our competitors. Not that we’re always this way, but we have some much more pressing issues to deal with this week.

This week we’re going to do what the gang at CBS absolutely does not have the cojones to do.

We’re going to stand up to the Baltimore Orioles and we hope you’ll be a part of it.

There’s some great symbolism to the various events we’re going to do here at WNST this week.

You see, on Monday night we’ll be at Bill Bateman’s in Perry Hall hanging out with Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco. It’s easy to imagine that every fire code in Baltimore County will be violated by our event. On Thursday night, we’re gathering by the Brooks Robinson statue downtown to mark the start of the Birds’ season with a “Free The Birds” candlelight vigil. In all honesty, I’m particularly worried that there will only be a few of us hanging out as the O’s tend to elicit nothing more than apathy here in Charm City.

The Ravens haven’t played a game since January and we’re worried about having enough security for Monday night’s event. The Orioles play their first game Friday and we’re worried about tumbleweeds Thursday night.

I think Ian Eagle would describe this as “not a low blow, but just a fact.”

Of course I’m not leaving WNST. Part of the reason why I’m grateful for every day I have with the company is because I get to say and do the right thing this week. I couldn’t imagine how I’d feel about myself if I had to spend the week discussing “hope for the future” or something about how we should just celebrate the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards and not be too hard on the team that gave us such an iconic part of the Inner Harbor.

I don’t know that I could do it.

Some will think of it as “Bashing Barbaro” week around here (I’ll just let you think about that one), but we’re not going to stop telling it like it is when it comes to the Orioles. In the spirit of equine conversation, theirs is a “horses***” organization.

Cue Ian Eagle again.

Theirs is an organization that will once again force it’s own fans to suffer through the embarrassment of six months of meaningless and mostly terrible baseball. They’ll continue to spit in the collective faces of the people of our city and they’ll do so without much in the way of concern. I’d keep telling you about it but the fact is…you’re already aware.

I’m going to be a part of Free The Birds this week because Opening Day is a reminder of the embarrassment that comes with being a Baltimore Orioles fan.

I’m rarely embarrassed as a Baltimore Ravens fan. I’m only sometimes embarrassed as a Maryland Terrapins fan. I’m almost always embarrassed as a Baltimore Orioles fan.

That’s why I’m going to grab a candle and wander down to the statue Thursday night. What a fitting place to recognize the embarrassment of being an Orioles fan…the statue that the organization refused to support recognizing one of their greatest players in franchise history.

How many times have I put the word “embarrassment” in this column already?

I’m going to stand up and be counted. I’m not going to allow the message to be mixed. I’m not going to simply say something along the lines of “this isn’t that big of a deal” or “I just don’t really care all that much about Orioles baseball.”

I care a LOT about the Baltimore Orioles. I just simply can’t stomach the state my relationship with them. I have to do something.

Thursday night will be my counseling. I’ve tried talking to them about it and they’ve ignored me. I can’t leave our relationship because my love for them is too strong. Gathering with other battered and bruised fans is about the only recourse I have at this point.

I hope to talk openly about how I’ve been mistreated by the Orioles Thursday night. I hope that you as a fan will do the same thing.

This is why we exist as a local sports media organization. There are people in this town who won’t stand up to the Orioles because they really DON’T care. They DON’T have the stories you and I do. They AREN’T staring at a framed autographed Brooks Robinson print hanging above their TV as they type like I am. They have no reason to fight back because the fight is meaningless to them.

It isn’t meaningless to me. I’m going to fight. I’m sick of being embarrassed year in and year out.

I hope you’ll join me.

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , ,

Fans against Mussina’s Orioles Hall of Fame induction misguided with anger

Posted on 29 March 2012 by Luke Jones

The announcement of former pitcher Mike Mussina being elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame was predictably met with a variety of emotions on Wednesday.

Even Mussina’s biggest supporters in Baltimore have a difficult time overcoming the awkwardness involved with his departure for the hated New York Yankees and cannot forget the countless games he pitched against the Orioles over his eight seasons in the Bronx. There’s no overcoming the feeling that Mussina was supposed to be a “lifer” in the same sense of Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken, and Jim Palmer after he was drafted and developed by the Orioles in a similar manner.

However, a vocal minority of fans have voiced displeasure in his inclusion, citing him becoming a traitor for joining the Orioles’ biggest rival at the time. Even a few personal friends whose opinions I respect in regards to baseball and the Orioles shared this sentiment, in fact.

My only reply was, “Seriously?”

I covered the topic in more depth and offered my history lesson of the circumstances surrounding Mussina’s exit during Thursday’s edition of The Morning Reaction, which you can find in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault:

Luke Jones offers his thoughts on fans opposed to Mike Mussina’s Orioles Hall of Fame induction

Though I would never go as far as saying anyone should lose sleep over the end result for Mussina — an $88 million contract and eight years of winning in New York obviously go a long way — nor would I take issue with fans’ decision to boo Mussina as a member of the Yankees, holding a grudge against the third-winningest pitcher in Orioles history is a simple case of misguided anger.

In researching his departure following the 2000 season, I found a quote made by the pitcher about the Orioles’ effort to keep him in Baltimore.

“Waiting as long as I did with nothing happening, it was just disappointing. If they really wanted me to come back, I think they would have done a little more.”

Reading that poignant comment nearly 12 years later, it’s the same general feeling shared by many who’ve witnessed the demise of a once-proud franchise and by others who have ultimately turned their backs at some point along the way.

Comments (2)

Tags: , , ,

Do we REALLY still blame Mike Mussina for leaving Baltimore?

Posted on 29 March 2012 by Peter Dilutis

I haven’t been writing too much lately.

Part of that has to do with not totally being over the way the Ravens season ended in New England. After all, like most of you, I’m still just a normal Baltimore sports fan. Unfortunately with the Orioles being the Orioles and with the Terps being down, there just hasn’t been too much else to be excited about around here.

Yes, Brian Matusz has looked good this spring, and that’s such a big positive for an organization trying to find its way in the now absurd American League East. The quickest way to the top is by finding pitching, and more pitching, and more pitching, and more pitch….you get the picture. So, I guess I could spend more time talking about Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta and J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis and Adam Jones, but will the performance of any or all of those players really make a difference when the optimism of spring subsides and the dog days of July and August (aka swoon time) arrive in Charm City? Probably not.

Once upon a time, however, the Baltimore Orioles had many players that could be described as difference makers on a championship contending team. Mike Mussina was one of those players.

Mike Mussina was a home-grown product for the Birds. Drafted out of Stanford with the 20th pick in the 1990 draft, Mussina went on to spend 10 seasons in Baltimore. He was the unquestioned ace of the staff, compiling a record of 147-81 with a 3.53 ERA during his time with the O’s. He played 10 seasons in Birland, ultimately leaving for between three to five million more per season (depending on whether or not you count the last-ditch effort the O’s made to sign Moose after he had already decided he was leaving for the Bronx) to play for the most prominent, historic, and successful team in MLB history.

Mussina made this career move as the Orioles were three years into their now 14 straight (15 if you cheat and chalk 2012 up as a lost cause already) losing seasons. He jumped ship after he witnessed Peter Angelos run off Davey Johnson, whose two years in Baltimore happened to coincide with the only two years the Orioles made the playoffs during Mussina’s tenure.

In other words, Mike Mussina jumped off the Titanic and landed on a billion dollar yacht headed for nothing but sunshine. Did I blame him then? Honestly, I did a little bit. I was young and I felt betrayed by one of my favorite baseball players. And the Orioles were still a pretty legitimate franchise back then, even if signs of their eventual demise were starting to appear.

But do I blame him now, looking back? Absolutely not! Are you kidding me?

Comments Off on Do we REALLY still blame Mike Mussina for leaving Baltimore?

Tags: , , ,

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.





Comments (1)