The Peter Principles (Ch. 6) – Wire to Wire, champagne and the Dumb Dumb divorce

July 04, 2018 | Nestor Aparicio

which you offer your immediate resignation and offer to forfeit any compensation, pursuant to the terms of your contract, for 1998.

In doing so, you request payment of outstanding expenses in a timely fashion and my commitment not to “block the efforts of any Clubs who might have an interest in [your] services as a field manager.” All of the conditions in your fax are, accordingly, agreeable and accepted by the Orioles. You are absolutely free to pursue any baseball position as a field manager, or otherwise, with any team in either League.

Regretfully, your letter fails to recognize the real issue posed by your imposition and handling of the Alomar fine and your divisive statement to the press in July that unless the Orioles got to the World Series, you would not be permitted to return for the final year of your contract. Such a statement, during a pennant drive, was ill-advised and potentially a harmful distraction. Your own actions and conduct — not mine — have produced the fulfillment of your prophecy.

I absolutely reject your contention that my strongly held objection to your directing the Alomar fine be paid to a charity by which your wife is employed was intended “more for public relations than mere disapproval.” I can assure you that my disapproval is deeply felt and consistent with what I insist be appropriate conduct on the part of all Orioles’ employees. It strikes me, as field manager, you should have been much more sensitive to such situations and to have avoided even what you concede “could create the appearance of impropriety.”

While this is a regrettable ending of our relationship, I wish you the best in the future.

Very truly yours,

Peter Angelos

 

On November 6th, the media chimed in on the absurd track record that Angelos had now assembled in four years, while miraculously being a World Series contender the past two seasons.

Tony Kornheiser of The Washington Post wrote:

It’s remarkable what Angelos has done to deconstruct the image of the Orioles in the past two years. He has gone out of his way to undermine the stature of Cal Ripken Jr., by publicly questioning Cal’s leadership ability — after the guy played in 2,300 straight games. He chased away Jon Miller, who’s only the best play-by-play man in baseball. And now he’s run off Davey Johnson, who not only has the highest winning percentage of any active manager, including Jim Leyland and Tony La Russa, but who, ironically, was named American League manager of the year yesterday, a few hours after he’d quit the O’s.

For reasons unknown, Angelos seems to have hated Davey almost from the moment he hired him; even when he’s praised Davey you can almost see a sneer on Angelos’ lips.

But Angelos has appeared to enjoy dangling Davey publicly. In 1996, Angelos couldn’t stop patting himself on the back after he countermanded Davey’s and Pat Gillick’s plan to jettison Bonilla and David Wells. After the season was over Angelos let it be known that he wasn’t too pleased with Davey, and wasn’t certain he wanted him back. You got the sense that Angelos was marking off his territory with his scent.

But Angelos wanted Davey to pay and pay. Angelos trumpeted the “serious” nature of Davey’s offense, like this was the Nanny Trial. Then, Angelos agonized, like Hamlet, whether he could forgive him. Finally, Angelos let it be known he wanted Davey to prostrate himself and make a complete apology (for everything in the last 70 years including selling atomic secrets to the Soviets) — and maybe then, maybe then, he’d let Davey manage again. Meanwhile, Pat Gillick was tip-toeing around breathlessly saying he was “hopeful” the two men could work it out.

It was a tour de force in humiliation. Angelos, who’s a Napoleonic egomaniac, hung Davey up like a pinata. He said to Davey, in essence: I want you to take off all your clothes and run bare-ass naked down Pratt Street. And if that sufficiently amuses me, I’ll let you come back and work for me this one last year.

Angelos wanted to see how much stuff Davey would swallow. Davey let it be known he would apologize. But he wouldn’t pull his underpants over his head. So he quit. He said he’d had trouble sleeping for days and he felt sick to his stomach about resigning.

The players were also recognizing the immense dysfunction under the ownership of Peter G. Angelos.

Mike Mussina told The Washington Post: “I’m disappointed. It’s unfortunate the way the situation happened. It’s unfortunate that Davey resigned because he felt he had to resign. I think everyone on the team felt he did an excellent job this year. Everyone was very comfortable with him. Now we are in a situation where we have to start over with somebody new. I’ve been in the league eight years and this is my fifth or sixth manager. It’s difficult when there is that much changeover.”

It was a day that Mike Mussina would remember three years later when his contract was winding down with the Orioles.

It was clear that Angelos was trying to do damage control but had no idea what he was even doing in the eyes