O, say can you see a real lease for Orioles at Camden Yards by the dawn’s early light?

October 01, 2019 | Nestor Aparicio

sale. Because they all love Eddie Murray and Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken and believe this is a market that will come flying back to Camden Yards, especially if times got better on the diamond.

However, whenever this “next phase” of the “next ownership” or philosophical leadership is ramped up – whether it is the inept Angelos boys as real community leaders (highly doubtful since they are shopping it) or the group of people or conglomerate who buy it for well in excess of $1 billion from the Angelos family – there is going to be a lot of work to be done to resurrect a dying brand, in a dying sport, in a city that has many other interests and needs heading toward 2030 than a shitty baseball team that sits downtown and loses 100 games a year.

The scene below isn’t what Governor Schaefer fought for back in 1988 but this is where we are in 2019:

 

At some point, some dedicated humans are going to have to roll up their sleeves and make people care about the Orioles again and come back downtown to participate. And at some point, local businesses are going to have start ponying up tens of millions of marketing dollars that don’t currently exist to buy stadium ads that no one sees or television commercials for games that no one watches. And don’t get me started on that poor kid on the radio calling the games now that they chased Joe Angel and Fred Manfra off.

(And I am a radio guy.)

So, if you see Jon Meoli or Roch Kubatko or Tom Davis or Stan Charles or Peter Schmuck or any of the other “free” press around Baltimore, you can assure them that I have no further plans to stalk John Angelos at public events to ask about the future of the baseball franchise that I have supported since 1973 and built a business and a life around since 1991.

I’ll let them ask the questions and get the bullshit answers to get their own headlines.

They are the ones with the press pass and the one sharing the message that “all is well” in Birdland.

Look at the picture above and you tell me if all is well?

When is the last time you went the stadium? And when are you going back? And when are you going to write a check for season tickets and go multiple times a summer?

Exactly. And I don’t know anyone who wants to go to the games, either. And I live three blocks away.

If nothing else, my question forced Angelos to publicly leverage his own situation in Baltimore because he says he’s never leaving. (No player would ever say that in a negotiation with his baseball team.)

Now John Angelos is going all “Baltimore patriotic” on an orange promise but only a long-term lease for the Orioles at Camden Yards is the dawn’s early light that melds his empty words into a binding agreement – for him or the next owner.

I want dry ink on a real deal.

The hard part isn’t that he said it would happen. That came easy. The lies always did for his father.

The crazy part is that you’d believe it when the team isn’t hitched to this city or that stadium beyond September 2021.

I’ll believe things are changing when they do. I will believe the team is staying when I see dry ink on a long-term, binding lease – for whomever owns the team.

I did them a strange favor by showing up and being their worst nightmare: a person who asks a legitimate question. Now, I promise to hold John Angelos accountable for his words.

It has always been my goal to have competent leadership for the Orioles. That has been lacking for so long that the Stockholm Syndrome types that still inhabit Camden Yards by the hundreds don’t know the truth from a lie. I did Free The Birds in 2006. It’s far worse now than it was then in terms of interest and upside potential.

I hope to be the last man standing when the flag is still waving and Camden Yards is more than home to the brave who can stand a team that stinks, an owner who tanks and runs, and a franchise that has two years ticking on a lease and a completely checked-out fan base and a very small window and pocket of possibilities to raise the kind of revenue Major League Baseball would like for it to be contributing to the bigger pie.

In the end, the words are empty. Follow the deeds, actions – and, eventually, the money.

Baltimore and the people around the city are the ones who will have to support the team to keep it here and make it relevant again.

It won’t be because John Angelos knows where Fort McHenry sits in the harbor.