The Peter Principles (Ch. 8) – That time Peter Angelos tried to buy the Washington Redskins

June 28, 2017 | Nestor Aparicio

to Cuba and end the embargo. He and Armstrong found a sympathetic ear and big supporter in Angelos, who sensed the ability to do something that had never been done.

Two days before the trip, Landau spoke to The Sun about how this historic event came to pass. “Peter expressed sympathy for Fidel Castro,” Landau said. “He said, ‘For crying out loud, Kennedy tried to invade the island and tried to kill him.’ ”

Despite working so vigilantly to pull off this unique “baseball exchange,” Angelos refused to speak openly with the media regarding his intentions at this point given the political heat that it was inspiring but his children, who were becoming increasingly involved in the baseball side of the Orioles, instead spoke to David Ginsburg of The Associated Press.

“He’s always had an interest in politics, especially foreign policy. That, and his involvement with baseball, made it a natural thing,” said Orioles executive vice president John Angelos. “It’s always been a nonpolitical issue with him.”

“He felt that something could be achieved by the people getting together and playing a baseball game,” said Louis Angelos, who worked in his father’s law office. “He said, ‘Why not just go and play? Nothing bad can come from it.’ ”

Selig loved baseball and seemed to think it was logical to “recruit” Cuba in some way given the love of beisbol that was symbolic of the strength of the island in Castro’s eyes. Castro adored beisbol, and bragged of his skill at the game as a younger man, although many had questioned his true abilities on the diamond.

But on that sunny day in Havana, Castro got to show the world that his players were of Major League Baseball caliber. It was a political gold medal for him in Cuba. Jayson Stark of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote:

To the Orioles, this is only an exhibition game, dropped into the midst of an otherwise meaningless spring-training march to April. But to Cuba, this is Super Bowl I. This is the World Cup finale. This is the heavyweight championship of the world. This is historia.

The crowd was hand-selected by the Cuban government – 50,000 beisbol-loving Castro supporters gathered for a “once in a lifetime” event.

Despite the protests in South Florida and the obvious discomfort of seeing Fidel Castro flanked by two, fat cat American capitalistic imperialists in their own rights in the world of Major League Baseball, the game went off without a hitch and the Orioles managed to save face and win in 11 innings.

Angelos and the Orioles organization would not be so lucky as to escape quite so easily or without national embarrassment six weeks later when the Cuban team returned the favor and came to Camden Yards amidst massive protests in downtown Baltimore.

But Angelos wasn’t concerned about that in the hours after his team’s win over the Cubans.

“You just saw 55,000 Cubans stand at attention while the American national anthem was played and while the American flag fluttered in the Cuban breeze,” he told Business Week. “We’ve made our peace and established relations with countries like Vietnam where we lost 55,000 soldiers and spent billions…. If Vietnam was acceptable, why isn’t a resolution of our differences with this country? We didn’t lose any soldiers in Cuba that I can recall.”

Spoken like a true American. Only Peter G. Angelos could wrap himself in red, white and blue while extolling the virtues and legitimacy of one of the most corrupt, abusive and restrictive governments on earth.

Only Peter G. Angelos could paint Fidel Castro as “misunderstood.”

 

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AS DRAMATIC AS THE EVENTS in previous seasons had been and as tiresome as the fallout and never-ending drama and lawyerly explanations and faxes had become, there was nothing worse for loyal, local baseball fans than