Friday, June 15, 2007
Regular Nats320 commenter Mike Edgar left a remark this morning that's always been on the tip of my tongue. Nothing could be more true. I feel sorry for The Baltimore Orioles. I feel sorry for their fans. Sorry for their players. Sorry to see such a middling team play in one of Baseball's Crown Jewel Parks. And, Sorry to see A ONCE PROUD FRANCHISE Ruined by terrible ownership. Nothing is sadder in sport these days.
Growing up in Alexandria, Virginia, I lost My Washington Senators at the conclusion of the 1971 season. They became The Texas Rangers. The following 1972 baseball season was a lost season for me. At the age of 13, no longer did I have a baseball team to call my own. Yeah, I followed the game, went to Memorial Stadium to see my beloved Former Senators in their return engagement to the DC Area. But, it was never the same.
Eventually, I adopted The Baltimore Orioles. They became my favorite team. I followed them closely. But, in no way near the level I currently follow Our Washington Nationals. Not even close.
Yet, I came to adore many of their players: Jim Palmer (Cy Old), Dave McNally, Doug DeCinces, Tippy Martinez, Rick Dempsey, Mike Flanagan (Cy Present), Storm Davis (Cy Future), Jim Dwyer (for my money, the finest Pinch Hitter, 4th Outfielder to ever play the game), John Lowenstein ("Brother Lo" the funniest man I have ever personally met), Eddie Murray, Manager Earl Weaver and definitely Cal Ripken, Jr. "The Orioles Way" I fell in love with. The Orioles were a professional organization. And, from 1964 through their last World Series Championship Season of 1983--They built THE FINEST Won/Loss Record in the Game. The Baltimore Orioles were special. I was on for the ride.
Some lean times came after that last Championship Season, but The Orioles were still a fun team to watch. In 1992, This Franchise changed the face of the game--giving baseball a fresh new start. The Opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards brought back long lost memories of a more innocent time in the game. When Baseball Players played for the love of the game. Their Fans a major part of the action. Retro Style was in. Overnight--Thanks to The Baltimore Orioles--the Re-Birth of Baseball Began.
Then, in 1995, their GREATEST FRANCHISE PLAYER, Cal Ripken, Jr--SAVED MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL by breaking Lou Gehrig's unthinkable consecutive games streak--less than one year after baseball turn its back on each and every fan--by cancelling their season and World Series over a labor dispute.
The Moment those famous numbers were unfurled on The Warehouse in Right At Camden Yards--Gehrig's 2130 to 2131 for Cal on September 6, 1995 was one of the GREAT MOMENTS IN MY LIFE. Not a sole in attendance or at home watching on television could not have been touched. A Working Man had made The Great Game Proud. Cal, Jr. jogging around Camden Yards slapping hands with fans, family, teammates and opposing players--The Finest Moment in Camden Yards History.
A History that since that date has slowly fallen deep into the depths of sorrow. All because of their Owner. A vindictive man that refuses to build from within. Always looking for the quick fix. And one, WHO NEVER WANTED TO SEE BASEBALL IN THE NATION's CAPITAL. For this Owner, its all about the money.
Yeah, he got that GREAT PAYOFF TELEVISION DEAL from Major League Baseball. A promise of a King's Ransom if he ever sold the team. All because Our Washington Nationals relocated here. But, to this date, refuses to properly spend that money to rebuild his once Proud Franchise.
In doing so--he has disenfranchised his own Fan Base--and just about every single person in the Greater Washington DC Metropolitan Area. If he could only look at The Big Picture? Both Our Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles could be League Powerhouses. There are 6 million people living in the DC/Baltimore Corridor. That's enough for EVERYBODY. Two strong franchises to make an entire region proud.
Hopefully, one day soon-This Owner will sell to a more Compassionate Person. One with the best interest of The Baltimore Orioles, their Fans, and the Entire Baltimore/Washington Area in his/her sights.
At one time, I called them my own. Today, The Baltimore Orioles are just another team. That saddens me.
Please Mr. Angelos--Do The Right Thing--Sell Your Team to a MORE WORTHY OWNER.
Only then will I stop feeling sorry for The Baltimore Orioles.