Can the city of Baltimore deliver a wake-up call to the Orioles?

February 20, 2012 | Drew Forrester


For the last 5 years or so, the club has seen attendance diminish.  The 30,000 empty seats that are present at most home games haven’t done much to deter or change the club’s way of doing business.

Nothing has worked — in terms of getting the Orioles to shape up.

But what if even the people who had tickets for a game didn’t come?  What kind of statement does that make?  What happens when the club announces the attendance at 14,921 for the game but the TV cameras show the truth — 811 people in the seats.

I don’t know if this does anything.

I’m just throwing out ideas.

You can say “Don’t you think you’re jumping the gun?…the season hasn’t even started yet” and I can say, “I don’t need to see the season start.  I’ve seen everything I need to see since last November to know this club still doesn’t get it.  No off-season signings of note…no use of the fan’s money…and plenty of unprofessional “nuggets” from the team’s PR department.”

But that’s just me.

Maybe the losing and the lack of attendance and their laughable PR gaffes aren’t important to you.

I’m open to suggestions.  Really, I am.  Put your thinking cap on and come up with something.

I’ve offered my one idea.

I think taking one home game and doing some sort of city/state-wide campaign that says, “On XXXXX date, do NOT go to the ballpark” might have some steam to it.  Maybe not.  Most of you aren’t going now…that’s what you’re thinking, right?  But I bet you know someone who goes just about every game or two.  Think about it.  Do you know a season ticket holder?  I know a bunch.  I talk to a bunch of them on the air every day.  I was one of those last year.  They’re not bad people.  But if we could convince them to make a one-game statement along with the rest of the great unwashed who refuse to bankroll this mess anymore, maybe we’d have a unique civic event.

By hook or by crook, they’ll have 12,000 tickets pre-sold for just about every home game this season through season tickets and mini-plans.

What would happen if we could convince all of those 12,000 people to not show up for one home game?

Would it help?

I’m trying to find something that does.



19 Comments For This Post

  1. Allen Black Says:

    Face it, Drew, the people who are still going to the games are probably not WNST listeners… So it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to effect any noticeable change by promoting a “one game boycott”…

    On the other hand, I don’t understand why Nestor and WNST are so against promoting another “Free The Birds” game / walkout… I thought it was very effective in promoting “awareness” of the situation (locally and nationally)… I think it should be an ongoing thing (as often as once a month or at the very least once a year)…

    I started my personal boycott of “things Angelos” right after Davey Johnson and Jon Miller were run out of town… I used to attend about 10 games every year but since then I’ve only been to 2 (Free The Birds and once when family from Boston wanted to see the Red Sox play)… I thoroughly enjoyed the Free The Birds game and would love to “do it again”…

    Please think about doing it again… I mean, what does WNST have to lose any more (in their “relationship” with Angelos and the Orioles)?????


  2. eric Says:

    Nothing will help. I’ve said it for years, if Angelos woke up today and decided to change no one in the industry would believe him. Quality people don’t want to work for him or play for his team and there is nothing he could say or do at this point to change people’s mind. Hey Prince want 300 mil? No thanks I’ll take 220 to play for a good organization. Hey Epstein how about a blank check and total autonomy to run my club? Sorry I’d rather run a real organization sir. Only hope we have is to wait for somebody else to own the team.

  3. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    The Orioles’ ownership/management obviously don’t care, so why should we?! As I stated this morning, the sad, harsh reality is that even if they were to play to an empty stadium, “Ange-loser” will still make money because of the “sweetheart” deals he’s cut for himself over the years. So, they don’t really need us any more than we need them……..

  4. dennis Says:

    in the post on oriole hangout i suggested a social media campaign they overthrow governments don’t they and someone else suggested a social media blitz to comcast voiceing our displeasure and demanding thay we don’t want to pay our $3 per month sounds good to me hity them in the pocketbook

  5. Cliff Says:

    I agree with all the comments above and if anybody can add even more to an already depressing situation,, I agree with that too.

  6. over40Don Says:

    a complete waste of energy of thought, energy to type and post. I’m thinking any boycotts would lead to promotions for Jeter Jerseys and Pedroia jerseys when the real home teams come to town hell they could probably sell out those 12 games or is is 16?

    My solution is to embrace the Nats. Would love to hear you interview big league players. Mybe the real reason the Orioles won’t let you interview their players is, hey they are not real major league players.

  7. Vince Fiduccia Says:

    Unfortunately you are dealing with something worse than hate and anger. It is called apathy! You still care and want to see it right. I commend you for that. A large majority of people care more about the combine and draft, than who starts on opening day. This is very sad. Barring an incredible start that continues until August, you won’t see any passion in Baltimore, until the Ravens start strapping up the pads. A few thousand still believe, and a dwindling few still want to see it right, but most have been moved on to other things. We can only hope a Jeremy Lin story develops.

  8. John Says:

    I agree with the social media blitz as well another free the birds. After another walkout we could all fill up the local bars and give them some business! !

  9. crow Says:

    Not showing up will not work. As some of the people have already noted, there have been games where very few people were in the park. It doesn’t matter. The Orioles ignore it, and the broadcasters, of course, never talk about it.

    Here are the only things I can think of. First, stop talking about the present day Orioles. Instead, talk about the glory days of the past. Relive 1966, 1970, etc.

    Second, cover other teams and encourage listeners to “adopt” a team (preferably not the Nationals, since, through MASN, Angelos benefits from them as well). If Jon Miller is still covering the Giants, see if you can broadcast a few innings of their games.

    Third, encourage national reporters to investigate Angelos, his cronies, and this organization. I am sure if there were reporters with any courage at all, they would find all sorts of stuff that would embarrass the living crap out of Angelos. Angelos doesn’t care what local media say (he has bought off most of them); I think he would care if he became an object of NATIONAL ridicule.

    Fourth, tell sponsors we won’t buy from them unless they stop advertising with the Orioles.

    And then, when none of this works, count the days to football season.

  10. mortstiff Says:

    I’m all for O’s fans making a statement by boycotting a game, but I don’t think it would succeed unless it were possible to get business community support – i.e., instead of wooing their clients via tickets to company boxes, have local business box holders donate the tickets back to the community as you suggested this morning.
    (DF: Exactly. It would take a TRUE local, grass roots campaign to get people who have season tickets to abide by this DON’T GO game. It would take work. I think if 500 people showed up and 12,000 didn’t, that would say something.)

  11. mike oxbig Says:

    Finally, a great idea. A boycott could work. Let me know how I can help. (DF: Well, if you think it’s a good idea, then we should definitely scrap it.)

  12. Phil Says:

    Nothing will change this front office. This is the first time I feel it’s hopeless. I say doing something to protest against the Comcast extortion is the best shot at getting their attention. On a side note, I always have enjoyed opening day, it’s a great tradition; why hasn’t anyone complained that it is scheduled for Good Friday? I won’t go this year…they couldn’t have worked around that?

  13. unitastoberry Says:

    Until the owner comes out of his cave and confronts the problem on the field nothing at a press conference nothing will happen.Denial is not a river in Egypt.Baltimore is the laughing stock of baseball.Whats going on with Orioles fans now is exactly what made Irsay move to Indy but he didnt have OPACY or MASN.Right now its stage 4 and spreading.

  14. Marcus Halberstram Says:

    The date of the no show should be the game after the Orioles get to their 81st loss of the year insuring another losing season. It will take a while to get there but interest in going to games will certainly be at a low point by then anyway.

  15. Chris from Bel Air Says:

    I agree with those above that it wouldn’t really work. Also- there are too many things that people who like to dislike WNST can pick on- “But the players/hot dog stand people haven’t done anything wrong”, etc.

    The Social Media blitz is intriguing, though. And then the guy brought up that it has helped overthrow governments. What if somebody came up with a “Fan Takeover of Camden Yards” or a “Fan Takeover of the Orioles”. Think about the planking craze. What is something that could be done in the ballpark where people could take pictures of themselves and tweet them or something.

    The idea would be to come up with something that makes people want to come to the ballpark, have a good time, but it not under the control of Orioles Management. The public media aspect would make it possible that if it were fun- other people not associated with WNST would join in.

    What would be the point? We would show that there was a fanbase ready to go and cared- we just need to find another reason than the team.

    And it would make it fun to go to Camden Yards again.

    (DF: I must be missing something. You’re trying to create a strategy to get people to GO to the ballpark and have fun. That’s the ORIOLES job. Just like it’s their job to field a winning team, be kind to their fanbase and treat the community with decency. And when they DON’T do that, the fans and the community have to eventually say “enough is enough”. You and I are looking at this differently. You’re talking about doing planking in the stadium…I’m talking about getting the Orioles to run their team like a professional organization.)

  16. Cliff Says:

    Drew, I’m thinking that if the anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 empty seats showing up, instead of being filled like in the past, doesn’t get the Orioles to run their team like a professional organization — then another 10,000 empty seats isn’t going to have that much impact either.

    If Royal Farms stopped selling their coffee, chicken, etc.,I’m NOT going there anymore! I would feel sorry for the workers that would be hurt by me and others not going there, —- but, that’s just the way it would be.

    If the Orioles can survive without all the fans that are now NOT showing up, apathy, and all the criticisms being heaped on their organization; is a little bit more bad publicity going to sway them one way or the other??? (DF: If it’s a national story, maybe. If MLB is embarrassed, maybe. If NO ONE goes to a game as a city in protest, it’s a national – one day story.)

  17. Chris from Bel Air Says:

    We are seeing this different ways- and that is because everybody knows it is not going to work. Local protest is not going to work, national embarassment is not going to work (it has and is already happening). Its our team, our stadium- OCCUPY CAMDEN YARDS! (DF: Well, good luck with your idea. I hope you pull it off.)

  18. Chuck Says:


    Good Lord, what specifically was so different about this off-season from the previous last several off-seasons that made you not re-new? Was it not bringing back Vlad?

    So, only 683 people attend a Tuesday game vs. Seattle than 7,413. I agree with “Over40Don” above- support the Nats.

  19. Alex P. Says:

    Hey Drew,

    I just read this original article, and I heard your audio clip from this morning about standing up to the Orioles. I think you’ve got some good merit in your “Not going to the game day.” There WILL be collateral damage. The peanut vendors won’t make any money, they’ll understand that their bosses in the warehouse obviously don’t care (how much you want to bet Angelos gives these guys minimum wage?). I would certainly participate in your event. This year, I plan to go to less than zero games this year.

    I do have a suggestion for you, though–take your idea an extra mile. We go to the game that night, and not buy a ticket, or go anywhere inside of the stadium. Just sit out there and not do anything, but scream and yell. What about bringing your own food and beer to the event? Let the front office know that we are (as quoted from Network) “mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore.” What will they say when there are only 80 people in the stadium, but 2,000 people openly refusing to buy a ticket, and not coming in? Think of it as “Occupy Camden Yards.” I also think this would get on the national media, on ESPN.

    In conclusion, I think your idea has merit, and count me in, but take it to a more vocal level.

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