There’s a new three-word theme for Orioles 2014

December 05, 2013 | Drew Forrester

Seven years ago, the three-word theme for all things Orioles was “Free The Birds”.

On September 21, 2006, nearly 2,000 die-hards of the team strolled upstairs in Camden Yards and watched the first few innings of a meaningless Orioles-Tigers game from the upper deck to show the baseball team there are still people in town willing to put their money where the mouth (and feet) is, as the saying goes.

Later on that afternoon, the upper deck was empty when everyone walked out to show their protest for how things were going with our beloved Birds.

There will always be varying opinions on whether or not that one-day rally made any impact on Peter Angelos and his disciples at Camden Yards, but there will never be a doubt about the fact that it got pulled off in All-Star fashion and got folks both in Baltimore and across the country interested in a bubbling fan rebellion.

We’re all “big boy enough” to also acknowledge that the Orioles got their feelings hurt that day and essentially pulled the plug on any future professional treatment of most things WNST Radio.  Funny, though, WNST has survived that bush-league treatment from the Orioles and the Orioles have survived “Free The Birds”.

Well – we’re now coming up on 2014 and it’s time for a new three-word phrase to be the bumper sticker for those of you in Baltimore who still care about the team, buy the merchandise and go to the games.

Three new words — Open. The. Books.

It’s time for the Orioles to man-up and open their operating books and give the public a real glimpse into their day-to-day operational costs, revenue, expenses and financial obligations.

I am NOT saying to literally have a press conference and distribute a 9-page booklet with every single line item on the revenue and expense side exposed and explained.  I wouldn’t expect that.

What I am saying, though, is the club should provide a “general overview” of their revenue and expenses to give everyone in town an idea of their business approach and why, for example, the (insert team here) will be able to give Shin-Soo Choo $90 million for six years but the Orioles can’t afford to do that.

Tell everyone — the people in town who keep your business afloat — how much you’re spending on scouting.  Is it $8 million?  $15 million?  $22 million?  Tell everyone what your travel costs are.  $3.2 million?  $6.1 million?  Give us an idea of what you’re spending in the minor league system.  $11.5 million?  $14.2 million?

Give us a general update of the revenue:  Tickets, sponsorship sales, concessions.  We already know the TV money.  Those numbers ARE public, which I’m quite certain drives the Orioles completely bonkers.  They’ll be taking in somewhere around $85 million in 2014 just from television revenue alone when you combine their national “take” ($55 million) and local haul ($30 million).

And, for those of you who are going to say “no team in baseball would open their books” you better READ THIS RIGHT HERE  from the owner of the Colorado Rockies.

Why is “Open The Books” important?

That’s easy.

No one believes the Orioles when they say, “We don’t have the RESOURCES (that’s the word Dan Duquette uses these days when referring to money) to compete with these BIG MARKET franchises.”

I know I certainly don’t believe it.

Unless you’re from Old Mill High School or you’re naive or you’re a dummy or you’re an apologist, you don’t believe it either.

Some baseball fans in Denver didn’t think the Rockies were doing all they could do to win based on their financial formula, so their owner said, “Well, we’ll show you how our business works.  If you don’t believe us, we’ll prove it to you.”

I’ll remind everyone that about twelve or so years ago, Peter Schmuck of The Sun floated this idea about “opening the books” and the Orioles brass went completely ballistic.  They cold shouldered Schmuck, refused to do interviews with the Sun, tongue-kissed the Washington Post and, in general, did what they always do when things don’t go their way — treated him unprofessionally.

Speaking of Schmuck, the piece he wrote yesterday at The Sun will absolutely result in a phone call (already has, likely) from Greg Bader of the Orioles who will go to great lengths to point out where Schmuck was wrong in his opinion that the Orioles look like they don’t know what they’re doing.

If you think that’s just Drew being paranoid or picking on the Orioles, get a glass of wine with Schmuck one night and ask him how many times the Orioles PR folks have accosted him over the years about something he wrote in the newspaper.  I know the truth.

I implored the Orioles to put BALTIMORE on their road uniforms for the better part of two seasons (they angrily called it a “crusade” in-house) and they took my daily press credential from me in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

That’s what they do.

And yes, there’s a risk that being the self-called campaign crusade-manager for the new “Open The Books” request might get me mistreated even more than I already have been…but they stole my press credential in September and I didn’t even do anything wrong, so I’m not in danger of losing anything else of importance.

The Orioles should open their books and show the people who FUND THEIR BUSINESS where their money goes.

If they spent money on baseball players and tried to compete with the rest of the big boys, we wouldn’t need to peer in their closet.

The baseball team in Baltimore has gobs and gobs of money.  A lot of it comes from you and I.  We’d just like to know what they’re doing with it, that’s all.

Open the books, Orioles.

We’ll officially call it:  Open the books 2014.

10 Comments For This Post

  1. unitastoberry Says:

    Never in a million years going to happen. The whole accounting system of the big pro sports leagues is boarder line criminal. Google their tax status and think about that when you buy a 8 dollar hotdog and 9 dollar beer and then when you have to pay up on April 15.

  2. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    Truth of the matter, they probably would have 2 sets of books, that would not surprise me at all. Like I said before, same crap different year, good luck with your crusade !!!

  3. Ralph Says:

    Taking a philosophical albeit wistful turn at the events over the last week I feel a bit of poignant sadness over the passage of the years and that it is already 2014. Thats frightening! However, its been a tough week for all of us, especially the Orioles. There is a picture ala Dorien Gray somewhere in the Angelos mansion and it isnt spending money on the team. The Orioles have some great players but they are putting the proverbial “lace on a bowling ball” with some of these ‘non-moves’. When will the nightmare end and Ebenezer Thinskin Angelos start paying?

  4. John in Westminster Says:

    How about “Pay The Birds”? Isn’t that what we’re really after here?

  5. OVER40DON Says:

    Here’s an idea. Quit covering the Orioles. Want to cover baseball? There are 3 adult baseball leagues alone in Baltimore county. There is the LTRC OVER 30 LEAGUE 12 teams. The TRC over 40 League ( Senior Baseball) 8 teams. The EBCO40BL in Dundalk 11 probably 12 teams for 2014. Most of these teams have 14-17 players. Then you have A.A. County , Harford County etc. Plenty of Baseball to cover

    I say” F’ the O’s” ( there’s a 3 word slogan for ya) boycott ALL coverage of them.

  6. Robert Says:

    Bot withstanding the request for the O’s brass to release their financials, I don’t see any reason whatsoever (from the teams view point) for them to do so. Attendance increased by 10% and 20% over prior years in 2013 and 2012 respectively. Until the sheeple stop being fleeced at the turnstiles, the O’s have little to gain and much to lose by disclosing their financial position. Cheers.

  7. randy Says:

    Your on point nestor,but until the fans as a whole steps up we are doomed fans.The true fan base in baltimore(the ones who did whatever it took to get to 33rd st.bus car plane train)would be right with you nestor.Its the fans that become fans because camden yards was the hip place to be.yea they go to games,but could not tell you who’s on first,but can tell ya how tasty a certain food is at the yard or they would say something like the ball park is so nice and modern before they would mention the orioles got blowed out again by 8.In boston the fans are aware of every pitch and how it could or could not impact a the game there at.Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of fans like this in Baltimore however there are the fans that could of been at one of the best games the orioles had all year and when they leave they don’t evenknow what the score was.If this were boston or ny,old peter would of been hung years ago.I am a fan from way back,and willing to join your movement.I just don’t see the modern fan base as a whole jumping on ship.especially when a lot of the young fans are use to losing for 15 years.The young fans whole life.

  8. CNC Orioles Fan Says:

    Drew, no offense but your long-winded opinion is a wordy joke if you think the Orioles would pull such a publicity stunt to “open the books.”

    There are days I wish God would pull Peter Angelose off his beloved Earth. The stunt dump of Jim Johnson is one of these days. (DF: Nothing about this is a publicity stunt. Do you think what the owner did in Denver was a publicity stunt? I don’t. I think he wanted the fans to know how he’s running the business and how the money works.)

  9. Will Says:

    Hey Randy, Drew wrote this. Not Nestor

  10. Bill Says:

    Im sure Randy knew what he was doing.

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