floor of the American League East.
Your family needs to acknowledge that this needs to greatly improve and that you are responsible for improving it. You need to speak up and say that this isn’t good enough. You need to reset and reestablish what your brand is and who will be a fan of your franchise in the future – and why they will want to support your baseball team?
As a fan, a citizen and taxpayer and one of many semi-unwitting MASN-paying participants who have lined your family’s pockets for half of my life, I have a lot of questions about the Baltimore Orioles and the franchise’s role in the community.
And here is the first one: moving forward, who is going to run the show and be held accountable in a franchise that has sorely lacked that public attribute and human touch for a quarter of a century?
Is that John Vidalin? Is that you? Is that your brother? Is that Brady Anderson? Or whoever replaces Buck Showalter and will lose 100 games in the dugout next year and perhaps long beyond if you don’t choose wisely and find better human beings to be a part of your organization?
Every one of our mutual friends – and you’d be surprised at the company I keep, fellas – tells me that I should portray you two sons in an extremely sympathetic light. Lord knows, my son should never, ever be held accountable or responsible for any of my words, actions or deeds. (Or vice versa if you’ve seen the color of his hair lately!)
As far as I’m concerned, you gentlemen are your own men.
I’ve always heard you are nice, quiet people and greatly removed from your father’s philosophies in many ways. I know for a fact we are very politically aligned so that’s one fight you’ll be having with 90% of your current fan base that you won’t be having with me.
And if I’ve already admitted that I feel sorry for your father at this point, well, at least you guys have enough time, money and power to fix this shitshow if you have the competence, patience and fortitude to pull off a miracle and make the Baltimore Orioles something even I can be proud of moving forward.
That would begin with my legitimate media credential and access to ask legitimate questions to the people who run your baseball team on behalf of the community.
That would be the day I know you have the integrity aligned with the NPR speeches and YouTube videos in front of City Hall discussing free speech and civic responsibility.
It’s your show now.
The Baltimore Orioles are your responsibility.
This is a letter and a challenge for you to seize the day!
Maybe one day you guys will get the statues downtown that your father so sorely craved for himself?
You don’t own the past but you’ll control the future. And my guess is that you have cringed many times when your positive, well-intentioned suggestions have fallen upon the deaf ear of your father – hell, just like all of the rest of us.
I have no idea – nor should I guess all of the politics, family-related disagreements, money, power struggles, egos, etc. inside the walls of your code of arms – what goes on in your world or what ghosts you have as your parents age and leave you guys as very wealthy men. Clearly, from that aspect, you have been well cared for because your father made a fortune suing people.
And, who knows, maybe you’ll just very wisely sell the damned team and move on?
If that’s the plan, to bleed the team of money for another couple of years and flip the team to some billionaire scumbag who might someday pilfer the team to Nashville or Portland or Montreal once the MLB legal boogeymen finally catch you, then read no further.
If the plan is to “cash out,” then good for you and I suppose it’s good for us because the next owner will undoubtedly read everything below and act upon it because they will have invested a few billion in cash to make the Baltimore Orioles great again and to send you back to private citizen status with more money and less responsibility than any of us has ever dreamed of in our retirement.
You guys can spread out on the beach or pool or spend your days at the track, I can come back to the ballpark as a real media member, do my job and smile heartily when I see your family name on the side of building as I get onto I-83 at my worthless alma mater on Charles Street.
But if you and your family are intent on keeping and operating the Orioles in a better way, I hope you’ll take this letter to heart for what it represents: someone who is deeply vested and cares enough to write you a letter like this with the unfiltered truth even after being treated like absolute shit for 25 years by your family and everyone around the franchise you now control.
All Baltimore wants are honest, accountable, caring, transparent and COMPETENT people running the baseball team. Local people who treat the fans with a modicum of respect that, quite frankly, I suppose none of the people left currently coming to your games really care much about because they’re still coming despite the trail of the last 25 years of what anyone in the industry would call the worst leadership and ownership in the sport.
As one of your baseball leaders once observed: “Why feed them steak when they’ll eat hamburger?”
If this was about how your father has treated this community, you probably deserve far less people at the games than you’re already getting.
Let me make this clear and I’m not even being flippant: Baltimore owes you nothing!
Zero. Nada. Zilch.
You are waaaaaaaay ahead in this game and will always be way ahead.
And the worst thing you can do in the future is leverage the franchise and the taxpayers and politicians for another Camden Yards in the suburbs in a few years and abandon the city because it further enriches you. I assure you – that would not go well for you here, after seeing what that did to the Irsay reputation here for the last 40 years.
Hell would have no fury in this metropolis if somehow the Orioles wind up gone in 2028 because “Baltimore couldn’t support the team.”
I really hope your ethics are the polar opposite of Stan Kroenke but I’ve watched your father’s act for a quarter of a century here and the jury is out on your intentions moving forward because we haven’t heard a word from you about any of this.
This isn’t a letter berating you or blaming you for any of the crazy, mean-spirited, awful shit your father pulled during his 25 years here to me or anyone else who loved the Baltimore Orioles who has been kicked to the curb and mistreated. I’m sure there are many, many things, words and deeds that you have witnessed during your adulthood that you similarly disagree with in many ways.
(I’ve been told as much by our mutual acquaintances who care about you so I’ll just accept this as gospel. I also know the many reasons you haven’t been around the place all that much over the last quarter of a century and the various segments of “time spent elsewhere” after legendarily not-so-silent disputes. Nights in the Caribbean. Days in Fort Lauderdale. Afternoons at Saratoga. Fellas, I couldn’t care less about any of it!)
But there’s going to have to be a point where you run this thing – or someone competent runs this thing – in a professional and community-minded manner.
Maybe that is John Vidalin? I can only hope. I’ll write a #DearOrioles note to him later.
And judging from what I’ve witnessed over the last quarter of a century given that you are civic ghosts, I’m not sure that you gentlemen and/or your mother are the best-suited folks to run the Baltimore Orioles without some serious professional help surrounding you.
One person who was closely associated with your organization at a high level for a long time once told me: “If John and Louis were going to be running the place, they would’ve been doing it a long time ago. It’s been two decades. They’re in their fifties. Baseball is not going to be their life’s work.”
But since this $2 billion entity has landed at the feet of you and your mother, that is where the Baltimore Orioles responsibility is headed until such time that the leeches at Major League Baseball come lawyered up and looking to oust you – don’t worry, only a rumor at this point – and/or Mark Lerner’s legal team finally gets into your family for the $400 million they think you owe them and your other 29 MLB partners.
I saw the Jeff Barker story you had planted that no one read in The Baltimore Sun earlier this month. You have offered a “peace branch” where you still try to keep all of the money. The Lerner family is now going for broke the way your father did. I have always predicted that this will not end well for you or the Orioles – going to war with all of your MLB partners after they essentially gifted you about a billion dollars to put a team in Washington D.C.
Your father got the cold shoulder. You might get the shaft. And Baltimore might get screwed out of the Orioles in the end.
I hope I never live to see that day.
It’s the reason I did the Free The Birds walkout on your father back in 2006 because I saw the apathy. I still see it today. And it’s far worse! At some point, you need fans. At some point, you need to make money that isn’t off the sweat of the fan base of the Washington Nationals or the MASN miracle money tree, which as you know has started to wither.
The people at Major League Baseball hate everything about you and they barely know you.
For a dozen years, I’ve approached them about getting my media credential back for games involving the Baltimore Orioles. I’m a credentialed media member for virtually every other sporting event in America and have been since last century. It’s how I feed my family.
One MLB official summed it up thusly: “We don’t get any further with those people than you do.”
And they allegedly sanction your Major League Baseball games.
The MLB offices screw you on dates, on scheduling, on travel – on anything they possibly can to give you gentle reminders that your family is suing all of them for tens of millions of dollars and embarrassing them. You could care less about the All Star Game but