going down 295 to watch the game in Washington, D.C. two weeks from now is a more-than-subtle reminder that Baltimore is getting screwed because your father went to war with Major League Baseball. And the perception that you suddenly desire peace with them means you want them to forget your father was ever around – and that’s probably not gonna happen unless you show some competence that, quite frankly, they don’t think you have to run this better than it’s been run over the last 25 years.
And unless they eventually freight train you for all of the money you’ve made over the last 12 years, I’d be shocked if they let you continue to run the Baltimore Orioles once your father departs. They’d probably prefer to get Larry Lucchino back in here with some real baseball management minds to try to resurrect the franchise for the community before Camden Yards becomes as old as Fenway Park.
But, you do have the “here and now” and the time to do the right thing and actually make the franchise better. For you. For the fans. For your partners in MLB. For your family legacy.
I know how complex it is because I’m one of the only people in the media world who bothers to pay attention to how all of this works. Someone should be holding your family accountable because all of the money is in your piggy bank. I was here when Gov. Schaefer put his political reputation on the line to get the stadium built that your family has turned into a personal ATM over the last 25 years.
Your personal life paths with the Orioles – while it won’t affect what you’re eating for dinner tonight or what beach or racetrack you’ll be visiting in the future – is not easy because it stands in the full view of the public and will be judged by people like me.
I care about the Baltimore Orioles.
And from what I can tell, you dudes rightly like your privacy plenty these days. As Steve Bisciotti once told me: “Rich and anonymous is far better than rich and famous.” Your brother from another mother Brady Anderson even railed about his privacy in a big way a few years ago when he stuck his head above the fray for a public profile piece and some puffery from The Baltimore Sun.
And before I get into some personal information I want to share with you and your new friend John Vidalin in this #DearOrioles series, I’d like to wonder aloud whether your bellies are really into this running the Baltimore Orioles thing.
Is what you want different than what your father wanted for the team?
Do you want this to change, improve and become something you walk around town with massive pride in as you turn gray? Are you guys gonna roll up your sleeves 18 hours a day and suddenly become brand advocates for your family business after walking in the shadows of massive introversion for 25 years? Have either of you ever run anything that wasn’t controlled by your father?
And if it’s not you running it and making smart decisions, then who will it be?
John Vidalin? Brady Anderson? Buck Showalter?
Who is accountable?
Someone needs to do the work. And in this case, “work” is a verb not a noun. It’s an action word.
Some human being needs to be a major figure in changing the culture.
A real President and C.E.O.
A leader of men and women.
A recruiter of business and media and the community.
A transcendent person who will transform every corner of your franchise and change the perception and the reality of the Baltimore Orioles image for the next decade.
You need someone special OFF the field in order to find the right people ON the field.
It has been such a soulless, hollow place – Camden Yards and your franchise. It has been a dark reflection of its soulless, hollow and absentee-but-somehow-always-lurking and ready to pounce owner.
But, please, let’s not mince words here. I’m being real.
I haven’t made this shit up the last 25 years. I’ve lived it. Every day.
What this 2018 season for the Baltimore Orioles represents cannot be accepted as “good enough” or some anomaly because it hasn’t been a quality franchise for years. Even when you’ve won, you haven’t built your brand with any depth in the community. You must acknowledge that your family presided over all of this and that it hasn’t been good enough in many ways.
That’s not your fault.
But it’ll become your fault if you don’t take the prime mover role of changing it moving forward.
I don’t expect you to right all past wrongs. That would be impossible. But you should fix what you can – people like me who want to support your team but vomit at the notion of giving you one more nickel than you’re already extracted on your way to two billion dollars.
I expect you to function like normal citizens who hit a home run after being dropped off on third base and now have a chance to create your own path to treat people better than you were ever treated. John, you specifically, have shared your “man of the people” politics. You seem like you want to make the world a better place. You seem like you might’ve read an essay or two on emotional intelligence and some human development since your Gilman days.
Call your buddy George Stamas and Uncle Ted and tell ‘em to bring Tony Robbins in for some tough love like he did with the Stanley Cup down in D.C.
This is your chance to show you have the missing ingredients that could’ve changed your father’s legacy: a heart, a soul and authentic concern for the community and fans of the Baltimore Orioles.
Empathy. An ear. Brand repair. A sincere effort to recruit the community with a clearly communicated strategy. And, lastly and most importantly, a competence underneath the hood that produces a product on the field that reflects excellence.
I have seen and pointed to these success stories in sports where two guys like you take over their father’s mess and create a completely different narrative for their journey in life as rich kids.
Is your story going to be the next one on behalf of our community?
Your first phone call should be to Rocky Wirtz of the Chicago Blackhawks. And your next call should be out to Indianapolis and fly some crab cakes and music wisdom out to Jimmy Irsay in the friendly heart of the Midwest and talk to him about character assassination via family