cheers with that soliloquy.
When asked if Washington, D.C. was inevitable (and it was):
“We have argued, I think to this point, successfully that there should not be another Major League Baseball franchise 30 to 40 miles away from Baltimore – for the reasons that I referred to a moment ago.
“It isn’t that we would deny the people that live in those areas the recreational pursuit of baseball. We think baseball is a great game for everybody. But when we look at the experience of Boston, Philadelphia, Oakland, San Francisco – Boston and Philadelphia and St. Louis had two ballclubs. The history of baseball dictates that you can’t put two teams that close together. We are opposing that. We think Orioles baseball is plenty good enough for us as well as the people in the Washington suburbs and we thank them for that support and we want to retain that support.”
Now, less than two years removed from walking away from his 29 partners in Major League Baseball, Angelos said that he had patched things up with fellow owners even though many in MLB insisted he was treated like a pariah for several more years at league events.
“Let me tell you, I have excellent relations with the other owners. I think, back then when I opposed what they called “replacement players” – many of them didn’t understand. Although, I made it clear that I was opposing the use of so-called replacement players because there are no replacement players for Major League Baseball players. That term means the best of all baseball players. So if you don’t have the best, it means you’re just going to have to try to work out an agreement until you can get the games started again.
“Had we agreed to do that – use replacement players – and the games had been played the Ripken streak would’ve been destroyed because Cal was not going to cross the picket line. Cal is a guy who’s going to stay with the other players – as he should. I knew if the Orioles had a replacement team playing other teams with replacement players, Cal would not play and his consecutive streak would be broken. That’s another reason I opposed it.
“But the real strongest reason – and as much as I love Cal and I wanted to protect that streak both for Cal and for the Orioles, and particularly for Baltimore and Maryland because that record will go down in history and will never be surpassed –but the reason I was opposed was that because the whole concept of replacement players takes away the right of a working person to strike for better wages and better working conditions.
“In America today it is permitted today – business or big money – can take the jobs away from people who are legitimately striking. And Americans have the right to strike – that’s the law in our country – in order to get better working conditions and better wages if they think they are being underpaid and they aren’t being treated properly. In this country, through certain court decisions, now employers have the right to replace workers who are on strike – not just temporarily, but permanently, which means someone on strike can lose their job and seniority and all that they’ve worked for – for many years –just because they exercised legal rights that they have to engage in a job action to improve their working conditions.
“America is the only country – we are the only country – where that is permitted and I see that as a stigma on our great country because if you have a right to strike you shouldn’t lose your job when you exercise that right.
“So when the idea of replacement players was broached by owners, I said ‘I don’t like the sound of that because that’s just like replacement workers who ultimately take the jobs permanently of the people who are on strike.’ I’m against that.
While in one breath Angelos said that he felt his relationship with MLB was in good standing, he then said that the Orioles were victimized by the league powers when the 1996 schedule sent his team to the West Coast four different times – an unprecedented amount of travel. Angelos said he thought that the commissioner and other owners were behind that “unique” situation.
“Yeah, I believe initially many of them were angry because I would not go along with that.
“Listen, in life, you have to stand for the principles in which you believe. And in that instance, that’s exactly with what I was doing. Now, I was threatened with the loss of the franchise, I was threatened with a $250,000 a day fine and I said, ‘You can impose all the threats you like. This is my position – I’m against replacement players. The Orioles will have none of it.’
“Do I think they were angry? Yes. I think that now, two years later, I think many of them recognize that I was right when I told them that what you’re going to do – is destroy baseball. You can’t tell the public that they should watch teams composed of mediocre players and call that Major League Baseball. That’s NOT Major League Baseball.
“I think as a consequence, many of the owners – being fair-minded individuals – recognized that I was speaking on principle. I felt that it was what I had to do. And if I had to do that over again, I’d do exactly the same thing.
“When there’s a principle involved, and you feel that you have to uphold that principle and you have to accept the risks that are part of standing your ground, and that it takes, determination, that it takes the willingness to incur the risk. And I incurred that risk.”
So would the previously grouchy owners ever pull a power play and attempt to move a