wouldn’t spend big bucks anyway because they couldn’t give the tickets away the last time they had them and tried.
I don’t need to tell you: we have zero Fortune 500 companies in Baltimore.
And you need relationships and businesses and business leaders and community leaders to fall in love with your baseball team again.
After bleeding money at the turn of the century, your father has run this as a mostly break-even proposition on the baseball side. Now, even after miraculously winning for a few years, the team is somehow still bleeding revenue in the aftermath of real on-field success. No one is going to the games and the MASN money is starting to drift downward while the meter keeps going up on the disputed money over the past decade with your partners.
I’ll write tomes about this later but it’s been an incredible story how your family has managed to derive so much profit on the television deal and keep it away from not only its own baseball team but in turn away from the other teams in MLB via revenue sharing as well. The television network that pumps over $200 million a year into your family economy has done very little to actually fund the franchise – probably the biggest lie of all of your father’s lies.
If anything, MASN has artificially depressed the actual value of a regional sports network to the Orioles with the “poison pill” of a matching value to the Nationals. And why artificially suppress one team’s payroll when you can do it two teams?
And your father has essentially dared MLB to come and get the money for over a decade.
I wrote a series on how this works called MASN FOR DUMMIES so that everyone in seven states would understand how they were funding the Angelos family in the aftermath of Major League Baseball giving you the Washington media market.
Certainly, the selloff of the D.C. suburbs into perpetuity for about $2 billion in totality will never make Baltimore right in the future without Baltimoreans becoming spiritually, financially and actively supporting the Orioles. The days of 3.6 million fans from six states pouring into Camden Yards are long gone. Cal Ripken and Brooks Robinson ain’t coming back.
Someone is going to need to roll up their sleeves to bring local people back – on and off the field. And especially at the price point you feel you need to charge. You need to bring more value than the hot dogs races and a bouncy bounce for the kids.
And if it’s not you, I beg of you to just sell the team to someone who wants to be a part of that kind of energy.
Let a Ripken or a Plank or a Lucchino or a Leonsis or some billionaire we’ve never heard of not named Synder own and operate the team. Someone who can wipe out all of the bad vibes and bring a new mojo to the franchise and our community.
Lord knows, Baltimore needs something good.
I’m not sure the Orioles as a brand are ever going to fully overcome the aging white flight of its fan base and their lack of desire to come into the dreaded city for a night baseball game. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying to find more ways to resuscitate a dying, aging legacy brand in a dying, aging, violent and incredibly poorly-run city, where the riots began in the shadows of Camden Yards and your organization made an inexplicably ridiculous decision to lock the doors, un-invite the fans and play a baseball game while tanks circled downtown three years ago.
The Ravens have their own set of unique problems with white fans and black players and the suburbs and perception – especially those who still believe Donald Trump is a good, honest American and those unpatriotic players taking a knee with dark skin are all sons of bitches.
One problem the Orioles and Ravens will both face moving forward is the lack of growth in population and income in a community that is shrinking in size and apparently as well in energy and passion for the local sports teams.
I saw 30,000 empty seats every week at Ravens games last fall. Of course, those seats were sold so that’s different than the color of green in your mostly barren ballpark.
I turn 50 this year so I’m more your age and I’m a legacy Baltimore sports fan.
I’m still haunted by the real visions of Abe Pollin taking the Bullets south and Bob Irsay moving the Colts to Indianapolis in the middle of the night via Mayflowers. But anyone who has been paying attention to the demise of your franchise under your father’s reign knows it’s been a lack of a consistent support from its role in the Baltimore business community that is the real concern moving forward.
I’ll get to my personal story at the end of this and how my family, my friends and my very local and small business have been treated by the Baltimore Orioles.
I’ll leave those at the doorstep of John Vidalin in his #DearOrioles letter coming soon – why I don’t spend my hard-earned money with your franchise yet continue to watch and love baseball and report as a vocation on your team – but I think this whole thing gets better almost immediately with a sincere rebrand initiative and a formal apology.
Even though you aren’t responsible, you probably need to apologize.
You need to own this. You need to take responsibility. You need to fix it.
You don’t need to make excuses but you need to indicate that how all of this has been handled over 25 years has solely benefited your family – and not the citizens of Baltimore or the fans of