It is difficult to fathom that 20 years ago the crown jewel of Major League Baseball opened its gates to the eager crowds of Baltimore. Camden Yards is the gold standard when it comes to baseball stadiums, offering the look and feel of days gone by while providing an up-to-date experience for today's fans.
It is equally difficult to fathom that the Baltimore Orioles have been perennial losers for nearly as long. As a lifelong baseball and Orioles fan, I am continually amazed, sickened and depressed by the path the organization has taken. Decades of hard work, dedication and instruction to create the premier farm system in baseball have been wiped away by bad deals, lack of leadership and mismanagement of talent. Cal Ripken Sr.'s life work has been washed away like the oyster beds of the Chesapeake Bay.
Oh, there was a glimmer of hope at the beginning of the 2012 season when our hometown boys swept the gang from Minneapolis in fine fashion, sending them home with their tails tucked between their legs. But then the evil empire flew into town, bringing along their devoted minions to "Yankee Stadium South" for three days, laying to waste the perfect season of the Orioles and realigning the American League East to its proper form. Yes, the Big Brother Yankees gave the Little Brother Orioles the noogie they deserved.
I'm tired of Orioles shoving the glory years of the 1970s, '80s early'90s and the 20th anniversary of what amounts to a museum down my throat. I'd like for my two girls to experience winning seasons and perpetual playoff appearances as I did at their age. But no, the Orioles are in another "rebuilding year" (is it 15 years now, I've lost track?), which is their constant state of being. It's mediocrity at its worst.
Peter Angelos has reaped nothing (other than the fans' hard-earned dollars), and ridden the coat-tails of Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson to the point where it has become a side show.
Instead of celebrating the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards and erecting larger than life statues to draw in crowds to recall the glory of years past, how about improving the product on the field? How about saying, "I'm sorry for making you endure my whims and making you watch utterly pathetic baseball for over a decade?"
The last time I checked Camden Yards was not a museum, and the Baltimore Orioles were a professional baseball team. It is time the front office treated the O's as such.
Keith C. Crum, Fairfield, Pa.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun