Saturday, September 16, 2006

This Bird Has Flown

I'm not much of an Orioles fan, and haven't been since the strike in 1994. In fact, the only two major league games I've been to since have involved the Chicago Cubs, mainly for my wife's benefit.

But I do know this: The franchise is right now listless and uninspiring. They've had nine straight losing seasons, unthinkable in the days of "Oriole Magic" when I was a kid.

Yank-me and Red Sox games at Camden Yards might as well be home games for the visitors. And I'm waiting for owner Peter Angelos to gripe that Camden Yards needs a facelift, or replacement, because it's now 15 years old.

Support for this sentiment here, here, here, and here, the last one being a publicity stunt protest set for September 21 and led by local sportswriter-turned-sportstalker Nestor Aparicio.

I can understand Aparicio's frustration, however. I went to gobs of Oriole games when I was a kid, including both of the first two World Series games in 1983. I saw the miraculous Doug DeCinces home run in 1979 which launched "Oriole Magic".

Now? No one cares, including me. And until I see changes, including if Angelos sells the team, I won't be shelling out any money for a long time.

And here's how much Angelos, a trial lawyer who is living quite comfortably off tobacco lawsuits, thank you very much, just doesn't get it:

We were concerned it would cause us severe economic problems . . . it already has caused us a certain loss of fan support. And we have lost fan support from the losing seasons. But we think we can restore that portion by way of investing more dollars in the club. We have a very low average ticket price. The Boston Red Sox tickets are over $45, ours $22. When [Fenway Park is] filled with 35,000 at $45 per and we are filled with 46,000 at $22, at the end of the day when the money is counted, that money is what ultimately determines how much one has [available] to spend on players. They are so far ahead of us, I can't do it in my head without writing on paper, but I would simplify it by saying in order for us to match what they take in [during a game] where they have a sell-out at 35,000 at $45 dollars [a ticket], we would have to have a ballpark that would hold 70,000 and sell that park out.
So what are you saying, Fishlips? That you're planning to raise ticket prices to Fenway Park levels? The Sox charge that much because they can. You? Cannot, because your product on the field is unmitigated carp.

Unfortunately, Orioles fans will have to suffer through Cygnus' First Rule of Sports Economics: You can't fire owners. That's a lesson we Colts fans learned all too well from Bob "If I were going to move the %$%damn team, I'd have told you" (see #8) Irsay, a far worse owner on his best day (assuming he had one) than Art Modell, even on the day Modell announced the Browns coming to Baltimore.


Anonymous said...

Yes, the Orioles are terrible. I think they need to go back to the old cartoon style logo on the hat. They used to win with that one at least. I guess we'll always have 1983. The O's also used to steal players away from the Yankees. We'd trade for good players and keep them for a while. Looks like the O's get a good player and get rid of him now.