Washington College, Frank DeFord

Frank DeFord will be the commencement speaker at Washington College. (Baltimore Sun photo by Amy Davis / April 19, 2012)

Though he’s long since moved away, award-winning sports writer and Baltimore native Frank Deford feels the same way about the Orioles and owner Peter Angelos as someone who never left.
 
“He was great at asbestos,” Deford, a Gilman graduate, said. “He’s not so great at baseball.”
 
During an interview given Wednesday afternoon after Deford spoke to a group of students at Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, the author and Sports Illustrated mainstay -- his work also appears on NPR and HBO -- said the team’s fortunes have clearly transformed since Angelos took over.
 
“It’s clear to me that the entire organization is inept,” Deford said. “It used to be the best organization in baseball. You can’t avoid the conclusion that one man came in and fouled it up. As long as he’s going to be there, he’s going to fail. It’s just unfortunate that the wrong guy owns the team.”
 
On the other hand, Deford said Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti “seems to know how to run a franchise,” and that the team was unlucky not to win to the Super Bowl this year.
 
“They were that good,” he said. “So much of it has to do with luck.”
 
He likened the Ravens to the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays, who have experienced continued success for the last several years but haven’t won the games that count.
 
“When you get into the playoffs in any sport, it’s who gets hot, who gets lucky,” Deford said. “I think you can take pride in being a bridesmaid. Who would be surprised if (the Ravens) won next year?”
 
And chiming in on a recent media firestorm, Deford said quarterback Joe Flacco is “not Brady, not Manning, but he’s certainly capable of leading a team to the Super Bowl.”
 
But he wasn’t long for Ravens talk. It was always back to the Orioles and how far they have fallen.
 
“A whole generation has grown up with no sense of the Orioles being any good at all,” he said.
 
Deford recently met up with former Oriole Boog Powell in Florida and got to “talking about the glory days,” back when the Orioles had a top player at every position and the team was something to be proud of.
 
“It made me even more bitter,” he said. “It was just a parade of great players, great trades, and teams that were well put together. Now, it’s just ashes.”
 
Deford will be back in the area on May 9 for the Baltimore launch event for his memoir, OVER TIME, which will be released on May 1. The event will begin at 7 p.m. at the Enoch Pratt Library, located at 400 Cathedral Street in Baltimore.