the work of Peter G. Angelos.
On December 13th, I’ll celebrate 27 years of doing sports radio in Baltimore. In 22 of those years, the Orioles haven’t just been an “also ran” – they’ve been a “never ran at all.” The reasons have all been well-documented and there’s only been one constant during that time frame and all roads lead back to the person who runs the franchise.
That person is – and has been since 1993 – Peter G. Angelos.
He can buy off a lot of people – and has – or intimidate them or try to banish them as he’s done with me. After 21 years as a credentialed media member from 1986 through 2006, this is my 12th season without access to ask the king or any his minions questions of any kind. Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette have literally run away from me at public events just as their predecessor Andy MacPhail did. I’ll be telling my one and only John Angelos story when he gets his chunky #DearOrioles letter later in the week.
But whoever is currently operating this franchise from the Angelos clan can’t – and shouldn’t – be permitted to run and hide from the empty city in the summers moving forward. Camden Yards isn’t forever. At some point, it’s the duty of ownership to do what’s necessary to fill it.
The Angelos family has made a LOT of money off the people of this city and state.
From any sane vantage point, the team has been poorly run yet incomprehensibly profitable in virtually every way for a quarter of a century while the “value” to the fans (aka the customers) has been constantly spiraling downward.
Angelos bought a team with $34 million dollars and its total value over 25 years has been nearly $3 billion. He’s personally pocketed nearly a billion dollars off of a local sports franchise that for nearly a quarter of a century has been bereft of any civic responsibility to the community. For many years, the Red Sox or Yankees fans would come into the city and increase the tax revenue for weekends when Camden Yards would buzz with Northeastern accents and families would leave millions of dollars behind for Angelos and downtown businesses.
When the local team sells and promotes the merchandise of the visiting team in order to turn a buck – and openly markets to the opposing fans and anyone in orange at Camden Yards has been shouted down by tens of thousands in red and pinstripe jerseys (as has been the case here for as long as anyone under the age of 35 can remember), well, it starts to add up.
Some of my listeners and local fans have been “offended” by the fact that I’ve had the audacity to postulate the facts surrounding the operation of the baseball team. Good grief, the things that I’m personally offended by after being near the team over the first 15 years could fill half a book. But my opinion is truly worthless. I’m a “very unimportant person with delusions of grandeur.” Or so said Peter G. Angelos 10 years ago after I led a completely peaceful, informational protest of the treatment of the fans.
My reward for demanding facts, accountability, less lies and better treatment?
Well, I was banned forever and still treated like garbage every time I’m in eye-sight of Camden Yards.
But the alleged “very important” Baltimore sports fans are speaking with their wallets, time, heart and energy. And they’re just not into coming to Camden Yards and spending money on the Baltimore Orioles. And the team is the worst club on the field in Major League Baseball by a pretty wide margin – even if they force the MASN broadcasters to call it “fifth place.”
And, certainly, the Orioles front office and Angelos himself have been personally offended by my observations that are based on facts and spending my life engrossed in covering the baseball team as a “very unimportant person” and independent local journalist.
But, I didn’t make the stands empty at Camden Yards – Angelos did.
Matter of fact, when the civic shit hit the fan after Freddie Gray – and tanks were surrounding my condo 24 hours a day for a week and CNN had helicopters circling the harbor – they “had to get the game in” and told EVERY fan: “We don’t need ya today. Stay home! We’ll play the game without you!”
That sends a pretty powerful message.
And the result speaks for itself.
The team managed a nice run of on-the-field success since 2012. Buck Showalter has been a helluva manager. He’ll get a #DearOrioles letter from me later in the week.
Dan Duquette has been quite an interesting character in the annals of Orioles history, that’s