Being Thrift with mounting debt and wringing the Belle with an insurance policy

August 16, 2017 | Nestor Aparicio

the offseason as a pre-emptive attack on the players, who would lose 50 jobs if those two anemic franchises with poor fan support were shuttered. Part of the negotiation with the MLBPA would be to keep those teams in business – but only if certain terms were met by Don Fehr and the union. Angelos wanted to nurture a closer relationship with Selig, who he didn’t speak to for several years after the 1994 fracture, feeling that the commissioner would be less likely to move the Expos to Washington if there was trust in the relationship.

Selig asked Angelos to serve as a goodwill gesture. Angelos saw the long-term benefits of that and it suited his strengths, so he used his vast skills as a seasoned labor attorney on behalf of himself and his partners.

The contentious negotiations went down to the last week of August again but this time a work stoppage was averted and Angelos received great credit from the other owners for his work in keeping the players on the field and getting the new CBA to the finish line. The owners claimed some small victories in this round, including the first-ever steroids testing policy and revenue sharing that would make the game more fair and balanced.

On Aug. 23, 2002, the Orioles hit .500 after a four-game winning streak and big win over the Toronto Blue Jays and then simply collapsed. With the strike averted a week later, the Birds fell apart, ending the season with a horrific 4-32 run when the team simply couldn’t hit the ball in September. The Orioles lost their last 12 games of the 2002 season.

The disgusting 67-95 finish marked the end of a third miserable season for manager Mike Hargrove, who came to Baltimore as a decorated manager who twice led the formerly woeful Cleveland Indians to the World Series. He still had one year left on his contract and Angelos made it clear he wouldn’t be buying him out of the deal despite the poor outcome on the field.

Hargrove came in 2000 with the promise of Albert Belle, Mike Mussina and Cal Ripken and was now trying to win games with Jason Johnson and Chris Singleton. The farm system was simply not turning guys like Luis Matos, Jerry Hairston and Larry Bigbie into star players or the kind who could compete with the powerhouse Yankees who were spending money and winning championships.

But Hargrove wasn’t the only one frustrated with the lack of young talent in the system. As she promised the previous year, Rochester Red Wings owner Naomi Silver fired Angelos and the