wrecking the franchise at the turn of the century.
MacPhail managed what no one else could here over 25 years – he did the impossible, Pete! He deodorized the franchise – fumigated it for a while! He encouraged the fans to forget you existed and many did.
MacPhail even somehow managed to manage you. I’m sure he’d say that was the tallest task when he took over.
A few decent draft picks, a few deft trades, some massaging of contracts and signing the likes of Nick Markakis and Adam Jones and MacPhail quietly sanitized the stench you made in the aftermath of Pat Gillick and Davey Johnson. I’ll be writing a #DearOrioles letter to all of these folks in the next month but MacPhail is the one guy who changed everything and even he didn’t last long enough to see the seeds become fruit. Sixty days after Flanagan committed suicide, MacPhail departed and I’ve never heard him say a word on the record about his time in Baltimore expiring or his departure.
Like you, MacPhail just evaporated until he turned up in Philadelphia.
And then there’s your shining star – William Nathaniel “Buck” Showalter.
Buck made you a “winner” – gave you some pride you never had. He helped you “get even” with everyone who said you’d never preside over a meaningful October baseball game.
I still have no idea why Buck Showalter ever signed on to work for you but I have to give you both credit for figuring out a professional working relationship that allowed the team a chance to have some success at the rare confluence of the Yankees and Red Sox being fat, old, slow, lazy and expensive while MacPhail made a few deft trades and drafted and signed a few pretty good players. And, of course, you allowed Dan Duquette to dumpster dive for the rest until you got involved and completely fucked up the Chris Davis negotiations that your children will be paying for every year for as long as they own the team.
But whatever “bond” you and MacPhail and Showalter had it seems, in retrospect, laid the groundwork for the only beautiful outcome you’ve ever had beyond counting the MASN money every month since 2005.
Your five years of playoff-worthy relevance in recent times isn’t to be dismissed. People asked me how it would ever feel to watch you hold the Commissioner’s Trophy and be doused with champagne if the Orioles ever won the World Series. But to honest, after the Benitez-Fernandez homer, I never really believed this franchise was going to win a title.
I still don’t.
I spent those 14 years truly believing that one playoff game – ever under your tenure – would’ve felt like a long shot. So, for that, you proved me wrong!
It was a nice run. The fans of the Baltimore Orioles deserved any happiness that emanated from that Delmon Young double far more than you did.
Sadly, your moral compass and disposition certainly hasn’t matched your good financial fortune in life. The fact that owning the Baltimore Orioles was never a truly joyful experience for you is probably the saddest part of the whole tale.
There is a small part of me that even through all of the awfulness you’ve represented in my life feels really sorry for a man like you. Many around you have told me you are a pathetic soul that I should feel pity for and pray for.
You clearly hated my guts for asking questions and questioning the many discrepancies of your words and deeds. A few folks have offered to “patch things up with you” over the years. I laugh. Then, I’ve had the same handful of people report back to tell me that they brought up my name in your presence and the response was an over-the-top disdain for the mere mention of my name.
One of them said I represented your “personal Satan” – that you hate me more than you’ve ever hated anyone.
That’s a shame. A lot of legitimate, honest local people like me. My character, track record and integrity speaks for itself over three decades of discussing Baltimore sports with local fans.
But it has been very clear that you have very little regard for ANY fan at all – especially the ones with high standards or legitimate questions about the operation, intent and community commitment of the franchise to winning. Like the rest, I’m a “very unimportant” Baltimore baseball fan. You called me that after the Free The Birds walkout in 2006 and I really thought that was a perfect summation of your philosophy as a local sports owner.
And the lack of integrity, honesty and accountability over 25 years has been jaw dropping for a guy like me who has been asked about the Baltimore Orioles by your customers literally every day of my life since my radio career began in December 1991.
You answered to no one in this world and cared not one iota about anything over 25 years beyond making money and saving face in some sort of emperor-has-no-clothes way that seems like pure madness to anyone who doesn’t have a few billion dollars. After watching this for half of my life, I must say that I’ve been impressed with the resolve and depth of your meanness.
During your ownership of the Baltimore Orioles, you’ve hated everything that you can’t control and abused most of what you did control.
It’s been quite a life lesson. You’ve taught me so much about how NOT to be. What kind of life to NOT live.
I didn’t create your image. I simply held up a bright light, which you invited when you bought the team with plenty of bluster about greatness and doing the right thing and your community commitment because you were a “local” owner – and then I held up a mirror.
For a quarter of a century, the reflection has been pure