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

August 16, 2017 | Nestor Aparicio

was OK – as long as you announced it at 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon when the local sportswriters and public were too busy to watch the news, read the newspaper or react to the upcharges the team was passing along to the public.

But despite another hike in ticket prices in 2000, Steadman defended the honor of Angelos in his final written words in The Sun about his friend:

He says the Orioles will improve immeasurably over the next two years and prefers to think of them as a surprising element in the playoff mix. He said Mike Hargrove is a firm manager, and that the players realize his ability and won’t try to test him.

What Angelos is doing on two fronts, in baseball and within the city, is to restore lost glory.

A difficult undertaking, one that merits respect and applause from an audience that too often doesn’t realize the full merit of his lofty ambitions, on and off the field.

Armed with $88.5 million that he didn’t give Mussina and the more than $9 million per year that the insurance recovery money from Belle’s hasty exit put back into the Orioles coffers, Angelos did what any business owner losing money would do under siege after three years of losing. He stopped spending, at least for a season.

Despite re-signing shortstop Mike Bordick and bringing former Orioles farmhand David Segui back to the team in the offseason, Angelos lowered the club’s payroll from $84 million to $74 million in the 2001 campaign. Of course, the Yankees buoyed by four World Series wins and armed with Mike Mussina, increased payroll to $112 million, up from the $88 million they’d spent just two years earlier.

In 1998, the Orioles spent the most in Major League Baseball on payroll. By 2001, with Angelos already nearly $100 million deep into his own pockets of personal checks to the team, the Birds would be 12th in payroll against the competitors in the sport.

The signing of Segui to a 4-year, $27 million deal was a bit bizarre and was a product of Syd Thrift’s poor evaluation of the player and the marketplace. By 2001, the word “steroids” had become a buzzword around the sport and Segui certainly was among many in the sport who didn’t pass “the eyeball test.”

It wasn’t until a Sports Illustrated story about the life and open use of steroids by former MVP Ken Caminiti penned by Tom Verducci in June 2002 that Major League Baseball was finally forced to reevaluate the pandemic of