1998 World Series bid with Tony Gwynn, Kevin Brown, Ken Caminiti and led by manager Bruce Bochy.
Proctor later wrote a book called, “I Love The Work But I Hate The Business” and said that he and Angelos had a “good relationship and many sincere conversations” but that his producer Bill Brown said that Angelos thought that Lowenstein was “a wise ass.”
In less than 10 months the longtime crew that had been the voices and eyes and ears of Orioles fans for the better part of two decades was gone – all three of them – Jon Miller, John Lowenstein and Mel Proctor.
One for being a wise ass, one for not bleeding enough orange and black and another because he went to work for his old boss in the sunshine of Southern California.
The broadcasts were never the same. And the broadcasters were never credible again – simply shills for Angelos and his orange empire.
Mike Downey of The Los Angeles Times wrote in November 1996:
Taking it upon himself again to decide what the Baltimore public deserves, Angelos has forced out Miller, saying he preferred someone who would be more of an advocate of the team. That guy who spelled out O-R-I-O-L-E-S with his arms and legs atop the Baltimore dugout might be available, if Angelos checks.
Today’s broadcaster, we all know, is handpicked by the team, not by the executive who runs the station. This kind of obsequious pandering is the way business is done now in baseball, which has image problems and wouldn’t want an announcer to dwell on the fact that the second baseman is in the middle of a monthlong slump, or the shortstop is in the middle of a monthlong sulk.
Behind the scenes in Baltimore, people are saying Angelos is so pro-player, he sides with a Cal Ripken or a Bonilla on practically everything, thereby interfering with the way the manager and general manager run the club.
We chastised Steinbrenner for such behavior, ridiculed (Marge) Schott. Perhaps Vice Chairman Tom Clancy of the Orioles can title his next novel, “Another Clear and Present Danger,” about an owner who gives executive orders.
The danger was clear and present but the Orioles came three wins away from the World Series and were reloading for another run. Angelos couldn’t beat Steinbrenner on the field but he was attempting to beat him with chaos and in the game of headlines and wildly unpopular public decisions.
THE FINANCIAL SUCCESS OF THE Orioles was apparent to anyone who observed the team. The franchise was soaked in money in 1996 and 1997 and Peter G. Angelos was perfectly happy to spend it all on players in an effort to win and be elected “King of Baltimore.”
More than anything, the owner felt that winning a title would justify any and every move.
Angelos envisioned getting the last laugh on the dais with the World Series trophy in 1997. And the Orioles had key financial advantages that no other team in the industry could dream of manufacturing in their local markets. On the back end of the labor stoppage in 1994 and into 1995 baseball fans were universally pissed off and staying away from the sport. It was only in places that had a combination of a winning team and a rich tradition where seats were being filled. Cleveland, Baltimore, New York, Seattle, Atlanta all had no problems selling tickets because they had the best players and built a local brand on passion. And they also spent the most money in an effort to win.
Despite the disappointing ending to the 1996 campaign at the hands of the New York Yankees – and by now Angelos had developed a healthy disdain for everything about George Steinbrenner while mirroring many of his transgressions of meddling in ownership over the years – the future was still bright for the Orioles on the field.
The loss to the Yankees was further marred by one of the most infamous “fan in the stands” incident in the history of modern Major League Baseball. In Game 1 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium, a 14-year old boy named Jeffrey Maier reached over the right field wall to pull in a fly ball that was about to land in the glove of Orioles rightfielder Tony Tarasco. Umpire Rich Garcia called it a home run for the hitter, Derek Jeter, and Maier became an overnight hero in The Big Apple. The media called him “An Angel In The Outfield,” which was a popular baseball movie made during the era. Two weeks later, the Yankees won their first