Dear John Vidalin: Welcome to Birdland where baseball ain’t great and beer ain’t so cold anymore

July 08, 2018 | Nestor Aparicio

the city.

My wife has almost died twice over the past four years. In between two leukemia battles, we went to 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in 30 days for There Goes My Hero and the bone marrow registry. We swabbed over 4,000 people and have so far received three confirmations of matches we made on our #GiveASpit tour that was embraced by 18 different MLB teams.

I reached to your organization for support and heard crickets.

Every year, the folks at Major League Baseball credential me for the All Star Game or postseason because they know I’m a legitimate media member. But this isn’t about my press credentials as much as it is your corporate ethics and desire to be fair and community-minded people.

At one point, we were outraged by Peter’s antics locally. Then, somehow, it became the new normal. We all just bent over and became comfortable with how we were treated by the franchise. You might recognize this from the current state of our country. The new normal is somehow always a lower bar.

No questions! My way or the highway! If you don’t like it, sue me! I’ll never apologize! Fake news! Take his press pass!

And then there was the 14 years of irrelevance and losing and incompetence and insolence that is pretty well documented in The Peter Principles.

The Orioles have made life extremely difficult for the Ravens many times over the years in many ways. The Orioles did no favors to NCAA Lacrosse Final Four in Baltimore. They also found themselves in the pit stop of the IRL fiasco, where they got improvements in the deal while the city took on red ink and the deep water of a really, really stupid idea.

Then there are the concerts we’ve never had. Buffett. Springsteen. U2. Billy Joel. Van Halen, Shania Twain. And only some of them wound up suing Angelos for breach of contract.

There’s a thing at the foot of The Warehouse that used to be called the Sports Legends Museum. Ask around about how that went out of business…

Litigious everything. Difficult everything for everybody. The road through Peter G. Angelos could almost always assure you an unforgettable “win-lose” relationship.

I’m in the 25th year of one of those myself.

Look, I know you aren’t responsible for any of this horseshit and evil-handedness. You have inherited the remnants, residue and stench of dealing with people like me who want to love your baseball team but currently have no clue what you’re doing because there is no message or direction.

But, rest assured, I have a personal vested interest in your success.

I bought into sports and dedicated my life to it long before Peter G. Angelos woke up nouveau rich off the deaths of people like my father and stepfather, who died from the stench they inhaled down at the Bethlehem Steel. My family got pennies. His family got wealthy, hijacked the Orioles and then proceeded to fuck it all up for everyone while enriching John and Louis and their heirs for the rest of eternity.

You are their first hire.

No one in the city believes they have any clue what they’re doing.

Good luck with that!

Not everyone will have a story as long and lurid as mine but if they are 50 or older, they’ve watched this shitshow with a front row seat and every word in The Peter Principles isn’t some story they read about in my book or think is fiction. They were living it and feeling it and watching it unfold while you were in Canada or Houston or Miami.

And most fans my age have never left this movie. We’ve watched the franchise disintegrate every step of the way over the last quarter of a century. Anytime someone tells you they saw Brooks or Palmer or Eddie or Cal play, just know they remember when this franchise didn’t suck and when its owner didn’t use the fans as a personal ATM.

I’m just a semi-reformed “nasty” Venezuelan redneck from Dundalk with a Hall of Famer as a cousin and a radio show that no one has listened to for 27 years and a social media stream that about 100,000 follow but no one reads.

I’m just one pissed off guy on the internet with a story you might or might not even believe. But the crazy awful stuff I’ve witnessed and been a part of with this baseball franchise is not easy to forget. And it’s impossible to support as served.

And no one this winter will forget the 112 losses your franchise is going to absorb this summer.

There are a lot of people around town who aren’t going to tell you their story. They’re just not going to return your call or have any faith in what you’re telling them because they’ve heard it all before.

Peter G. Angelos has lied to Baltimore sports fans for 25 years.

It’s Small-timore. You’ll find that out.

Moving forward, your organization needs to take winning as seriously as it’s taken “getting even” with people like me.

People who love the team, who love the Orioles, who love Baltimore.

I’m a loving, loyal advocate that you’ve turned into a hated, dreaded adversary – for absolutely no reason.

I’m just the loudest one. You’ll see I’m not the only one.

Instead of using that Warehouse as a literal wall between you and the fans, you might want to build a coalition to make people who think last place and lies are unacceptable feel welcome, too.

I’ll be holding you to a higher standard, John.

The money in the marketplace will move toward success. It’s all moving away from baseball in Baltimore despite the fact that six million people in our area will pay for and attend a professional game this year. And if people want a baseball game, there are options in Bowie, Frederick, Aberdeen, Salisbury, York, Wilmington and certainly Washington, D.C.

You have to demonstrate that the long history of losing, meanness and ineptitude is over and this will turn into winning, honest, proud organization.

Sell me a story. Show me a plan. Invite me and others in.

I want to buy in to a world after Peter G. Angelos that feels like a new day for Orioles baseball.

I’m an Orioles fan.

Words, actions and deeds are being judged with my time and wallet.

There needs to be emotions involved. The community needs to care.

You can build solar canopies and sell sizzle all you want but this is Baltimore. You might want to “amplify the experience of the Orioles customer” by starting to make a few friends who are still alive and care.

You’re gonna have a harder time finding those kinds of people than you think.

You need people like me. You need a LOT more people like me moving forward.

People who have been screwed, offended by the losing, by the arrogance, by the lack of community involvement, by the lack of integrity and accountability of everyone to behave in the manner I listed above and then to take a higher moral ground through arrogance, lies and/or silence and punitive behavior.

I hope that changes.

You are a hill charger. I wouldn’t take the job you just took even though no one on earth would be more passionate about doing it than me.

You see, I love the Orioles.

You’re a simply a hired gun. This is your “next job” and “next stop” on the way to wherever your journey leads.

I’ve noticed the difference over the years.

I wouldn’t take the job because I’d have no way of knowing how to heal the wounds of people like me – and the countless others who’ve come up to me over the years with horror stories of similar ilk – if I didn’t have the full and honest support of ownership to fix problems that have festered here since 1993.

I’m not sure you’re really gonna have that, John. Certainly, over 25 years, no one else has had it.

Everyone you are gonna meet who matters in Baltimore has watched the deterioration of the Orioles brand and fan base.

I hope you have a plan for people like me.

Because you’re gonna need everyone on board to turn around the Titanic. That iceberg you feel will be Ravens season. Winters aren’t too cold around here unless you’re an Orioles fan.

But you’re from Canada so maybe your thermometer is better but you’re still gonna need a blanket.

As my haters around your floors come to you to tell you why I’m irrelevant and a guy with an axe to grind (well, duh…see above), just remember…

I am not your nuisance.

I am your customer.

I am your fan.

Respect me.

Be worthy of this community.

Or be subject to more of these #DearOrioles notes until you get it right.