was near me with a few gallons of cold water.
Needless to say, the coward in The Oriole Bird outfit nearly was killed on Eutaw Street. Cops raced in. If my friends hadn’t tackled me and literally dragged me through the gift shop and onto Conway Street, you would’ve been holding a funeral for a mascot.
The Baltimore Orioles and the Angelos family screwed me, my company, my employees and radio hosts on a $30,000 promotion that fed our humble families. You did it AFTER I sold about $50,000 worth of a promotion and spent $10,000 more on a spring training promotion.
And then your company sent The Oriole Bird to assault me in the fourth inning of a blowout in front of a thousand of my listeners for good measure.
This, John, is the Oriole Way I’ve come to know.
I went public with The Oriole Bird assault at that time because everyone in the outfield witnessed it. I didn’t go public with how your franchise was screwing me on a $30,000 business deal with ethics that only a Donald Trump could appreciate or Sarah Huckabee Sanders could justify.
After railing on the radio about an attack that was witnessed by everyone, four days later I received a certified piece of mail on Orioles letterhead with an apology that looked like it was written by a sixth-grader – and it was signed “Orioles Bird # 1” and “Orioles Bird #2” in cartoon autographs.
Your company of adults sent me an apology letter signed by two fucking cartoon mascots! A Major League Baseball team did this – twice!
They sent me a second identical letter a few days later because I didn’t acknowledge the first one.
And I never got a nickel of the advertising money owed me from the Orioles in the summer of 2004.
And the person in The Orioles Bird suit has never given himself up. But I know who he is. Sometimes he appears as a mutual friend on my Facebook timeline and I wonder if he knows he’s been outed to me? The Orioles have employed some cowards over the years. How lowe can you get?
Mike Flanagan called me 10 days later, thinking I might’ve cooled down and asked me if I got “the letter.” He had no idea it was signed by a fucking cartoon bird and not a human executive. He literally didn’t know what to say. He was ashamed of being on the phone with me and said as much. I chewed his ass for 20 minutes at BWI as I waited to board a flight – I called him a “motherfucker” about 30 times at a volume I’m not proud of and a tone that I don’t use often anymore – and I didn’t speak to him for three years, although he did send me an email after the Free The Birds campaign in 2006 to tell me I was doing the right thing.
You are entering a job in a building where the people who enacted and inspired this whole fiasco 14 summers ago are still down the hallway. And then think they run the place. But now you run the place.
They thought being completely horrible to the one media guy in the city that everyone knew grew up with the team and loved the team was somehow good business for the Baltimore Orioles. That it would somehow shut me up or make me go away after 15 years on the radio.
That was the summer of 2004.
In the summer of 2006 – or the ninth consecutive season of losing – I did the Free The Birds promotion as a form of civic gathering to make the Angelos family aware that this was a lousy way to operate a baseball team that was allegedly a “civic trust.”
I made nothing on that promotion. I still have a shirt left if you want one? I did it as a civic awakening for the community. The more than 1,000 people who came all bought tickets from the team so my gift on the way out of Birdland was to sell the Orioles a bunch of tickets on a Thursday in late September for a team that lost 92 more games that season. That was another $40,000 our listeners gifted your organization back in 2006.
At least Mike Flanagan appreciated it! He told me so many times.
Again, go read The Peter Principles. I had witnessed the franchise doing all kinds of people wrong over the first dozen years and reported the facts.
Go ask Frank Robinson how he was treated. Or Doug Melvin. Or Roland Hemond.
See how Frank Wren felt about being mistreated. Or Jon Miller. Or John Lowenstein.
Or Brooks Robinson. Or Larry Lucchino. Or why Cal Ripken has never put an Orioles bird on his chest again and lent his name to this embarrassment.
The list of managers, players, executives, agents and business leaders who have opted to avoid having the kind of business and personal experience I received in 2004 would break the internet.
All that came long before The Oriole Bird assaulted me and the franchise refused to honor the spirit of a relatively meager marketing deal with an authentic, young, local and not-going-anywhere media personality and his brand.
The legacy of “petty” and the Baltimore Orioles under the watch of Peter G. Angelos is a story you’ll find out when you hit the ground.
I have just told you MY story.
Most people will never tell you THEIR story.
No one likes to be shat upon or mistreated.
And I care more about your baseball team than I should.
Since 2006, it has been a never ending nonstop display of petty and mean-spirited everything throughout your organization toward me, my family and my company. And plenty of other people I know and respect.
Orioles employees have now called into two different countries to other MLB teams to have legitimate press passes that I’d already requested and been granted taken away from me on the day of the game – in Toronto and Tampa Bay, where I had flights, hotels and arrangements to cover games.
You have had hotels in Sarasota tell us we’re not welcome to broadcast from their facilities so we couldn’t have rooms at their hotel.
I live it every day – watching every single local media colleague of mine parade in and out of Camden Yards with their press credential, while your boss hung me for the rest of the world to see and to intimidate everyone else.
“Defy me and you’ll be banished! And the ‘privilege’ of asking questions that I’ll ignore or lie to you will be taken away! Accept this press pass and parrot my lies or else!”
Your guy Brady Anderson told me if I didn’t like the way Mr. Angelos was running the team that my wife and I should leave