Jon Miller. The broadcaster was aghast, crushed that Angelos would fabricate a tale about his wife and his family when it was clear that Angelos simply didn’t like him and didn’t want to pay him the market rate for his services, which were widely considered the best in the sport.)
Angelos was then pressed on the criticism he was getting in the media and the community and whether it was still bothering him nearly four years into his ownership of the Orioles.
“If you’re asking me whether or not a person who works for the ball club should be on the microphone criticizing ownership, criticizing management, knocking the players, the answer is ‘no’ – that’s not his prerogative. That’s the prerogative of the press. You!”
“You’re not on the Oriole payroll. You can say anything you please. You can express your opinions, you can criticize me and so on because, truly, you’re an independent of the Orioles and you’re performing a journalistic function. But once you’re on that Orioles payroll, then I think you owe a certain responsibility and duty to the Orioles. I mean when you’re paid by an organization, you’ve gotta be part of the organization.
“This is nothing more than propaganda being generated by some of these writers who say that a baseball announcer who is earning a half a million dollars a year should have the right to knock the team. Or have the right to criticize the owner or the right to criticize the fans.”
Angelos was immediately pressed on the legitimacy and credibility of the broadcasts by an ownership that wants an announcer to paint a rosy picture of a 10-1 rout.
“If he can’t be objective in the way of criticism, how can he be perceived as legitimate when there’s nothing but praise?” was the question.
“Now, wait a while. Number one, every fan has a right to criticize the team, condemn ownership, say that Davey Johnson should be fired or given a million dollar pay raise and so on and so far. What I’m saying is, that if you’re a part of the Orioles organization and you’re broadcasting Orioles games, it’s not your prerogative to knock the Orioles team. Everyone in this room works for some organization. They are not expected to go around knocking the organization that they’re working for. That’s a fundamental proposition. You don’t hear these baseball writers who work for The Sunpapers knocking The Sunpapers do you?
“They’re supposed to review what’s happening out there in the community. And they give their opinions. And we as readers of the paper are entitled to consider what they say and we accept it or reject it. But there’s a difference when you work for that organization. That doesn’t mean that when you work for an organization you should lie for the organization. It means that if you’re broadcasting a game, you should tell it the way it really is – but keep your opinions to yourself.
“You’re not hired to give opinions. You’re hired to give a play-by-play resuscitation of the game for the people who are listening to the broadcast.”
Local attorney Ron Shapiro, who praised Angelos publicly just two years earlier, was critical of the Orioles handling of Miller but also loomed large as the representative for Cal Ripken in the pending contract negotiation. Ripken’s deal was set to expire at the end of 1997 and he was a living, breathing civic hero and icon. Was it possible that Angelos’ now simmering feud with Shapiro would cloud negotiations to keep No. 8 at Camden Yards?
“The Ron Shapiro thing had to do with Jon Miller. Because Ron Shapiro said something to the effect of “I wouldn’t meet with him and Jon Miller.” I’ve known him a long time. It was he and Miller who didn’t want to meet. I’m a very available individual. If you wanna meet with me, I’ll meet you anytime, anywhere. I have plenty of time for everyone.
“Let’s just say that he misunderstood whatever it was that I was saying to him. This situation with Cal has nothing to do with Ron Shapiro.”
Angelos reiterated his offer to Ripken for over $20 million for four years. Someone in the