professionally by your franchise that I have kept to myself until now.
It’s the kind of treatment that would make any sane human being not want to be involved in supporting a franchise like yours – but that’s always been a big part of the arrogance associated not only with the Orioles but with baseball in general. The gateway to leave Camden Yards has always been an open invitation for anyone choosing to not buy into the bullshit and arrogance your franchise has peddled to its fan base over a quarter of a century.
“We are the Orioles – we don’t need you” has been a very clearly expressed communication from your organization. It was expressed that day you insisted on playing a baseball game when the city was shut down and tanks were circling Camden Yards. You told the fans to stay home.
Yeah, I would’ve liked to have had a real conversation about your batshit rationale on that one. That one certainly deserved an explanation and some accountability.
I really wish we could’ve discussed our mutual love of Baltimore and fans gathering and entrepreneurial American beliefs, and why you love horses and why you’d want to run a local baseball team and all the intricacies of your unique negotiating tactics and life philosophy on asbestos and the common man. I’d love to hear why you kept running for Mayor back in your power-starved youth. I’d love to hear why you irrationally think your 25 years of owning the Orioles “saved” the team for the city? (If anything, your ownership tenure will be the reason we LOSE the franchise after you’ve left the earth.)
I would’ve given you plenty of time and space and air time to lie some more to the fans while I called you out on it. Or, you could’ve been honest if you chose but I’m not sure you were really in touch with “truth” over the years. The “truth” became whatever words served your needs and whims at the moment.
Kinda reminds me of another con man who is presently running our society. You’ve sold your lies as the ultimate truth – no questions asked.
Over the past decade, you’ve chosen silence and brazen profiteering and constant litigation and continuous acrimony and ineptitude within the ranks of the baseball operation and how the fans are treated.
But, alas, I can only judge you on your actions and deeds and how I’ve been treated over 25 years – as a human being, as a local citizen, as a media member who held a press credential for 21 years and used it professionally, as a local business stakeholder and a promotional partner for the Orioles (whether you wanted me to be or not, I’ve been on the radio and in the media freely discussing your franchise every single day of your ownership) and as a local fan who has loved baseball, Baltimore and the logo that you own since I could walk, talk and think in 1968.
I’m sure when the time comes to write your epitaph, many in the local media will be encouraged to read the false headlines off the teleprompter about how you “saved” baseball for Baltimore. This is utter nonsense but it’ll humor me nonetheless.
For many people – and many people I’ve known all my life – you have wrecked the entire experience of Baltimore Orioles baseball as any of us knew it and fell in love with it.
And for the last 25 years you have demanded that anyone with access to the English language not criticize any aspect of the Baltimore Orioles organization. You are on the record with this:
I stand on a ledger with a lot of other really good and decent Baltimore sports people who have had nothing to do with telling your lies or defending the indefensible or supporting all of the losing with excuses and blaming “that old black cat” at Camden Yards.
Telling that story took a book.
I’ve gotten death threats for writing and speaking the truth about how you’ve run your team and how you’ve treated people.
Forcing the team and MLB into a public sale. Muscling out Lucchino and DeWitt. Calling Johnny Oates and telling him who to play. Siding with the players during the MLB strike of 1994. The embarrassing 2131 monologue that got you heartily booed off the field the one and only time you ever showed up to address the fans. The absurd and childish public fax war with Davey Johnson. Everything about Albert Belle. Blaming Cal Ripken for firing Frank Wren. Insulting Mike Mussina while trying to negotiate with him. And the 14 years of losing, harboring plenty of steroids abusers throughout the clubhouse, the death of Steve Bechler, the suicide of Mike Flanagan, etc. Everything about Chris Davis. Everything about not allowing the baseball scouts to sign Latin American or Asian players. Lots of managers. Lots of disappointing draft picks.
Not honoring the Ravens’ Super Bowl the first time. Forcing them to play on the road in Denver the second time. How the IRL was treated. How the lacrosse folks have been treated. Van Halen. Shania Twain. Jimmy Buffett. Lawsuits with vendors and the state. Threats to the Maryland Stadium Authority on the lease.
Fans notice this stuff.
As a fan, the result we’ve seen the most of – beyond litigation – has been quite consistent: losing.
There has been lots of losing. And this summer has been a brutal reminder of the 14 straight years of this shit.
You insulted Bud Selig and every MLB partner in the middle of a work stoppage.
You once called Ken Rosenthal a “character assassin” and his words were once deemed “the caterwaulings of an insolent twit.” The bizarre late-night calls to sports reporters at The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.
You had Albert Belle’s crazy ass brother calling my hotline and ranting about all sorts of racial crazy things back in 1999 when you threatened to not pay him the $65 million you signed him for before you broke the news to your general manager.
And I know you’re still furious that the NFL ever showed up in Baltimore with Art Modell after you had the highest bid in Tampa and they wouldn’t let you into their boys’ club.
You shat upon George Steinbrenner with glee.
You shat upon Davey Johnson on my show.
You shat upon Jon Miller and I watched him sob in my studio at the Towson Sheraton when you implicated his wife in his departure from Baltimore.
You shat upon John Lowenstein. He left Baltimore and never came back.
Mike Flanagan and I had two-hour coffees in Hunt Valley once a month for years – before, during and after he ran the baseball operations of the Orioles. I only know what he told me over a couple of hundred hours of conversations almost exclusively about the “strategies” of ownership. I also know he’s gone, and sadly, mostly forgotten by everyone around