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Dear Manny Machado: Don’t let the door hit you between 1 and 3 en route to City X via City Y

Posted on 19 July 2018 by Nestor Aparicio

Dear Mr. Miami:

I’ve written a lot of #DearOrioles notes this summer ­– with many more coming to everyone in management and some of your poor teammates who shall remain on the S.S. Angelos for at least three more hours of the tour – and I needed to move yours a little earlier in the batting order than I wanted.

Let’s face it, you might not be here by the time I hit “publish” on this old-fashioned love letter.

So, if I stray off into the future tense or refer to your Orioles sweater in the past tense, well, that’s just me keeping it real.

You indicated earlier this week that your bags are packed but your head has been in the future here for a long time, Manny.

I’m not really sure how much time you ever spent thinking about remaining with the Baltimore Orioles after 2018 – my guess is you didn’t lose a lot of sleep over it because it never was a reality in the moment or a “decision to make” because my other guess is that the Angelos family never really approached you with anything you’d take seriously.

That’s the Oriole Way. As you can tell from my #DearOrioles letters, I’ve been at this a long time.

I honestly had to look up your birthday to put it in perspective.

I didn’t realize the week you were born was the worst week of my life.

I was sitting in the Oriole Park at Camden Yards press box on July 1, 1992 when I took an urgent call that my father had a stroke in Dundalk. You were born on July 6. My Pop died on July 11, 1992. I was sitting in a hospital watching my father leave the planet as you were in one in Hialeah, Florida entering this crazy sphere.

It’s really weird that you were born AFTER Camden Yards opened. You’re a baby, bro!

There’s no way you can understand what my eyes have seen professionally here in Baltimore as a sports journalist.

I’ve seen, talked about, written about and heard about everything except the story where the future Hall of Fame franchise every day player – the modern day Cal Ripken or Brooks Robinson – walks off at 26 to a rival franchise leaving behind whatever remnants that a desperate July fire sale will bring a MLB team with a lame duck leadership group.

I thought I had seen the worst of Orioles tragic in those 14 years of losing that made up your life from age 5 until you walked on the field in Texas that night in 2012 as a 20-year old. And when you lost in Game 5 in New York in the ALDS, you probably thought the playoffs would be a pretty regular occurrence around here just like Ripken did in 1983.

But here we are six summers later, your timer is about to go off and the franchise is 40 games under .500 in the summer of 2018 and holding an open auction for eight weeks of your services.

And we all sorta know that by Opening Day 2019, you’ll probably wind up with the New York Yankees, which as you witnessed with Mark Teixeira will make you a “special” kind of visitor here in Camden Yards in the future.

But as you’ve learned, there’s no one “special” in the Baltimore Orioles organization except the owner himself. (Well, and maybe Chris Davis and Brady Anderson, but I’ll save their #DearOrioles love letters for long after you’re gone. They ain’t going anywhere.)

Manny, you’re unique – but you’re not “special.”

If I had my press credential and really knew you, we could talk all about the history of free agency and the decisions of Peter Angelos. I’ve only met you once – in the clubhouse at CitiField in New York before the 2013 All Star Game. You seemed like a decent, unassuming fellow then when I introduced myself. Like I said, a baby – you turned 21 that week!

Ten minutes later, Adam Jones asked me on the field why Peter Angelos hated me so much. It took me a book to explain it. It’s called The Peter Principles. You should check it out.

There’s certainly a lot of history in there that pertains to you as to why you’ve done what you’ve done and never been offered a couple of hundred million of Angelos money to stick around and be a part of something “special.”

I’m sure someone around there not named Brady Anderson has told you all about when Mike Mussina was invited by Peter G. Angelos very publicly to leave for the Yankees – and then Moose did! Mussina even refused a July trade, which is what Jonesey is gonna is going to be considering during his All Star break while you’re in Washington, D.C. figuring out the itinerary for the rest of your summer and fall plans for a rent-a-ring.

And, honestly, if these Orioles folks weren’t so crazy petty and vain and paranoid, you’d be wearing a Dodgers or Yankees or Brewers or Diamondbacks hat when you come out to tip it in D.C. next week. I’m betting the “over” on July 18th being your trade date.

The Orioles are gonna milk you for one more sideshow on the way out the door.

I don’t get it.

You are one rolled ankle or hamstring pull away from being a

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For one night, the “Magic” of Orioles baseball returned to Baltimore

Posted on 07 September 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

As much as we can credit any number of factors on the field – the Matt Wieters home run, the Adam Jones home run, the Mark Reynolds home run, the Chris Davis home run – what everyone in the ballpark at Oriole Park at Camden Yards will always remember about Sept. 6, 2012 was the energy of the crowd.

 

Last week I wrote about Adam Jones’ Twitter pleas for more support from Baltimore’s baseball fans amidst an embarrassing number of empty seats for a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox last week. Yesterday, I predicted the special nature of last night’s game simply because of the sheer volume of Orioles fans that would engage with the team inside he stadium.

 

As the Orioles Magic song says: “You make the magic happen…”

 

And last night the heroics on the field and the outcome better represented the weary and jubilant fan base more than anything that Peter Angelos has repeatedly done to extinguish the fire and passion of Baltimore Orioles fans around the world.

 

On a personal note, this is exactly why I led the “Free The Birds” walkout in 2006. It’s why I’ve been so vocal regarding the demise of the franchise and have illuminated the many reasons for the great emptiness in the city, stadium and in our hearts as Orioles fans.

 

Last night was what Baltimore Orioles baseball was about for two generations. It’s the finest example of what’s been missing since 1997 amidst a circus of mismanagement, mean-spirited and petty behavior and a flat-out awful product on the field that this city has endured.

 

The last chapter of the 2012 Baltimore Orioles is far from written and we’ll continue to chronicle it here at WNST.net and our many social media resources during the games – even the ones the Orioles won’t win during this stretch run.

 

The ballpark is sure to be electric again tonight and all week as the 2012 Baltimore Orioles have a chance to be, in the words of manager Buck Showalter, “pile divers.”

 

But Thursday night will live in the minds of fans for a long time. What a night to have a ticket for a Baltimore Orioles game and be a part of that kind of a local sporting event!

 

I’ve been doing sports media for almost 29 years and I’ll never forget the wide-ranging emotions of Thursday – from the death of Art Modell before sunrise to the emotions and love for him in Owings Mills in the early afternoon to the Cal Ripken statue ceremony to every pitch in a rollercoaster ride of a game vs. the New York Yankees.

 

It was the most exciting night of Baltimore baseball since 1979 at Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street when Doug DeCinces ignited a two-decade love affair with a huge home run to beat the Detroit Tigers.

 

You can argue for any of the Cal Ripken 2131 proceedings in 1995 or the Rick Sutcliffe Opener in 1992 or any of the playoff energy in 1996 and 1997. Obviously the 1989 Why Not? season – led by the Mike Devereaux foul-poul homer – and the 1983 World Series win will have memories to mark on our baseball journey.

 

But for a single game on a single night with the impact and the stakes being first place against the New York Yankees? And the statue dedication of Cal Ripken replete with every living legend in the history of the franchise being inside the jammed, overflowing ballpark?

 

I’ve been an Orioles fan since 1972.

 

I’ve never seen anything or been a part of anything baseball-oriented in Baltimore that was more special than Thursday night at Camden Yards.

 

The only thing that could top last night would be some playoff games next month and a parade down Pratt Street. As I wrote last week, anything is possible with this new-found Orioles Magic.

 

Onto Day 2 of a week of Baltimore sports magic.

 

Who says it’s Purple Friday?

 

Maybe, for one day at least, it’s Purple and Orange Friday?

 

And as a lifelong fan of the Orioles and the Ravens, that’s beautiful music to my ears.

 

 

 

 

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Time to “Buckle up” — there’s Orioles Magic in air for Baltimore tonight

Posted on 06 September 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

All of these wins and hours of scoreboard watching for fans of the Baltimore Orioles – and finally – tonight the city will fill Camden Yards with the “magic” that only a Cal Ripken event can exert for the Charm City.

Alas, no scriptwriter in Hollywood or even a “Major League” movie redux could’ve dreamed up the juiciness that this unexpected Baltimore Orioles pennant run has facilitated this weekend.

Last week, the stands were empty as the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox came to town.

This weekend, with the New York Yankees on the ropes and the Orioles surging and trailing the Evil Empire by just one game in the AL East, Camden Yards will be buzzing with orange energy for the first time in eight years despite the “premium pricing” methods of Peter Angelos’ staff.

In the land of pleasant living, we call it “Orioles Magic.” Berthed in 1979 under Wild Bill Hagy with Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Rick Dempsey and Earl Weaver, brought to life by a World Series win in 1983 and resurrected duing the “Why Not?” campaign of 1989, the city’s enthusiasm and genuine love for the Baltimore Orioles has been dormant for the better part of 15 years at Camden Yards under the weight of last place and its own evil ownership regime.

But tonight none of that will matter because the Orioles can beat the Yankees and go back into first place in September.

Hard to believe it was 17 years ago tonight that Cal Ripken ran his victory lap amidst the confetti and “One Moment In Time.”

And make no mistake about it, a statue ceremony and a fancy giveaway item would’ve brought plenty of people to Camden Yards tonight no matter the record of the 2012 Orioles.

But what we’re going to witness – or in my case, be a part of – tonight should truly be “magical” for any longtime fan of the Baltimore Orioles.

Despite falling out of first place with last night’s loss in Toronto combined with a Yankees win in Tampa, tonight’s game once again has first place on the line and the 46,000 who are holders of these lucky tickets should be expected to bring full O-R-I-O-L-E-S voices tonight as Camden Yards should erupt with sound where previously it’s been a bunch of excuses and reasons for why the seats are empty.

I’m going to the game tonight. And, yes, I bought a ticket.

Other than “Free The Birds” events, it’s the first ticket I’ve purchased since 2004.

It’s worth going tonight to feel the civic energy and I’ll be bellied up to the centerfield bar soaking in the energy and enthusiasm that I wrote about in 2006 when WNST led the “Free The Birds” movement.

And in as much as some have twisted my words, I’ve never wanted anything more than what we currently have in Baltimore – a relevant baseball team that brings together the community for a common cause.

I’m not sure some fans are really prepared emotionally for what tonight will look and feel like inside Camden Yards.

Internally, many of the longtime employees certainly couldn’t have had any fire drills for this. And the players on the field – Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, the core guys who have only seen the stands full of Yankees or Red Sox fans over the years – should especially soak in the noise tonight because they’ve earned the right to Baltimore’s cheers with their solid play and the excitement they’ve filled our living rooms with this summer.

I think even Derek Jeter will be taken aback because he hasn’t seen anything like this since 1997. Usually, it’s 40,000 Yankees fans beating on the home team.

It won’t be that way tonight.

This is the Baltimore Orioles chance  – players, coaches, employees and ownership alike – to drastically move the needle on the fan

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Earl Weaver says he’s staying outta the way of 2012 Orioles Magic

Posted on 05 September 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

Earl Weaver was kind enough to spend a some time with me today discussing his managerial career and the inspiration that led him to become a Major League Baseball manager and Hall of Famer.

We had a long chat that will be included in my long-researched book on coaching and leadership. I’ve now sat with 23 of my 100 targets. Earl was on point today discussing his disdain for the hit-and-run, his respect for Paul Richards and why trading Doug DeCinces was a mistake.

When we concluded our chat about the old versions of Orioles Magic and how Cal Ripken became a shortstop, I asked The Earl of Baltimore about the current orange fever sweeping Baltimore via Buck Showalter’s 2012 squad.

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