Allegany Communications Sports
For close to 30 years, it’s been said here that the mission statement of any business or operation owned by Peter G. Angelos is, “It doesn’t matter who gets the credit as long as it’s me.”
Since October 4, 1993 when the Baltimore Orioles were sold to Angelos’ group for $173 million and Cas Taylor, three months from becoming Maryland Speaker of the House, tried to tell me that it would not be a good thing, everything has changed and nothing has changed at all, as three decades of tyrannical ownership has now come full circle to one of Angelos’ sons, John Angelos, who is currently in charge of the baseball club and MASN as his father remains in grave health.
On Monday, it was learned that popular Orioles’ play-by-play announcer Kevin Brown was removed from the club’s television broadcasts on MASN a day after recounting statistics from Baltimore’s poor play in recent seasons in Tampa Bay.
If you’ve been on the internet for any length of time the past two days, you know entirely too much about it, because that it even “happened” is too much to know. Brown was merely using facts to make his compare/contrast on this remarkable turnaround of Orioles baseball.
Yet in the words of William Faulkner, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Thus, John Angelos continues to prove that the apple doesn’t fall far from the thin-skinned tree. In his brief time of being the ownership face of the Orioles, he has failed to sign a lease with the state of Maryland as he promised he would do by the All-Star break, he has failed to extend any of the contracts of the Orioles’ young stars and he has lied about opening the team’s books after foolishly promising he would.
Both the Orioles and the Baltimore Ravens were offered long-term leases by the state of Maryland with the deal calling for the teams to split $1.2 billion for stadium upgrades (which Oriole Park badly needs) and to make the surrounding Camden Yards campus more of an entertainment mecca to bring fans and new businesses into the city.
Naturally, the Ravens, the Good Son of Baltimore’s professional sports teams, agreed immediately, but the Orioles, despite the promises of Angelos, have yet to do so.
Now, with his petty and childish Angelosian bullying of Brown, the Orioles are a national story, but not for the reason they were this time last week, which is the remarkable play and function of this Orioles team.
On Twitter alone, John Angelos was trending. Dan Snyder was also trending and when you looked to see why it was because Orioles ownership was being compared to the ownership of Snyder. How’s that for a new low?
Orioles ownership has been blasted by seemingly every national broadcaster and talk show host in just a matter of 24 hours, with the most common indictment being “laughingstock.” If that’s not enough, even Larry the Cable Guy chimed in on the Twitter #FreeKevinBrown handle. Yes, the Angelos family has reduced the Orioles to the ire of Larry the Cable Guy. How’s that for laughingstock?
When word first broke on this story, the initial thought was there had to be something more to it than this; there had to be something else. But with the Angelos way, you understand it is what it is because there is such a history of it.
The Angelos men have a thing about bullying broadcasters, it seems – highly popular broadcasters at that. First it was John Lowenstein, then Hall of Famer Jon Miller because he “didn’t bleed black and orange.” So how did bleeding black and orange work out for unabashed Orioles cheerleaders Jim Hunter and Mike Bordick, who were also exiled by the Orioles and MASN? Next it was the popular and professional Gary Thorne who was shown the door.
We won’t even get into the mistreatment of the fine managers and front office people who have been run out by Angelos, but now the latest punching bag is Kevin Brown, who is scheduled to return to the booth on Friday and, if he decides to come back, will be wearing his Orioles polo shirt that wasn’t even issued, as Orioles broadcasters have to purchase Orioles swag themselves to wear on-air. Doesn’t that say enough?
We’ve seen this before, of course, not only from Peter Angelos, but from Robert Irsay before him, whose modus operandi was to create a stink over absolutely nothing, take outrageous and noticeable action in punishing nothing and then turn the entire town against himself, knowing full well that Baltimore is a city that never forgets. Then he used the this-city-hates-me chip to leverage the self-created hatred against signing a new lease. It’s Irsay 101 and it’s what we’re seeing from John Angelos.
These Angelos men are troubled little people. They can’t stand leaving well enough alone. They have to get their little handprints on all that is going right, not unlike the Munchkins creating havoc during the making of The Wizard of Oz. A screaming case of Little Man Syndrome runs strong and true amongst the men of Angelos.
Naturally, every Orioles fan would love nothing more than for the Angelos family to sell the team; it’s been a strong desire for more than two decades, but with each passing day without a signed lease, I begin to believe John’s brother Louis’ assertion that John’s intentions are to move the team to Nashville so he can be a big shot amongst his friends in the music business.
So John Angelos will not sell this team, even though it is valued at $2 billion. Big deal, he’s had money handed to him his entire life. If he sold the team he would be as meaningless as his self-esteem likely tells him he has been for most of his life.
John Angelos seems to be cut from the same cloth as his father, though his father is a self-made billionaire who has actually accomplished things in his life; John has not. He, like his father, though, has to control something that means a lot to a lot of people. Without that, he’s just the nobody he was before his father became ill.
John Angelos has said, “As long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor, the Orioles will remain in Baltimore.”
Of course, he also said he was going to open his books and that a new lease would be signed by the All-Star break.
I didn’t believe a word that came out of his father’s mouth and I don’t believe a word that comes out of his.
He has taken the first-place Orioles from best story in baseball to laughingstock of baseball. And somewhere in the city of Baltimore, Kevin Brown asks his friend Detective Jimmy McNulty, “What the (bleep) did I do?”
Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT