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Is Brady Anderson right about Peter Angelos?

Tuesday's op-ed by former Oriole Brady Anderson in defense of Peter Angelos continues to generate a tremendous response, with about half of the readers glad that someone is finally sticking up for the O's owner, and the other half saying Brady is delusional. In case you missed it, you can still read the op-ed on our site. Here are some highlights:

I find it laughable that someone who has achieved the type of success that enables one to purchase a Major League Baseball team can be casually dismissed by many as a "meddler." I have never understood this complaint of meddling; he owns the team. Indeed, this idea runs counter to the way that just about every other business in the world is run. I am certain many people would find it odd if their bosses sat by passively and idly as they ran the business anyway they chose.

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...two years ago, a valid argument could have been made against Mr. Angelos, and I am certain that he too would have acknowledged that the front office lacked stability. However, with the arrival of Andy MacPhail, one of the most respected men in baseball and the owner of two World Series rings, this criticism is off the mark as well. According to MacPhail, Angelos has given him full latitude to run the club.

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I know Peter Angeles, and I have always considered the attacks on him unfair and malicious. I have met him in his office and had dinner with him on several occasions. During our conversations, I recall thinking that this is a compassionate, loyal man who truly cares about the Orioles, the fans, and the people of Baltimore.

Readers have been passionate in their responses on both sides. Here's what they're saying:

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Angelos is not a bad guy. While the guy at the top who ultimatley makes the decisons must bear all of the blame for this awful streak of losing in Baltimore, Angelos does things off the field that don't make it into papers. Take Shannon Obaker who worked in the community relations department. While she was battling cancer he helped her out in many ways, even flying her to doctors on his private plane. How many people in this world care about their employees that much?

But, that being said, Mr. Angelos owns the Baltimore Orioles, and this is not some franchise without a history of winning. Baltimore loves the Orioles and with no football in Baltimore during the '80s and early '90s, the Orioles were what everyone talked about. The fans are dying for a winning team (you can't sell people who spend their hard earned money on prospects in the minors -- there are just too many options). People want to go to the most classy ballpark in all of baseball but not to see a team lose more than win.

Enough is enough of this losing. This is modern baseball. The teams that win are the teams that spend the money. These are the teams that sell the most jerseys, the most tickets, are in the playoffs year after year -- yes you have to develop the minors but spend the cash on the high-profile players...it ultimatley pays off...you get in the playoffs and you make your team money. Ticket sales increase, TV ratings go up(charge more for advertising, etc..) It is business, don't tell me nobody gets that. To relate to the kids, why do they put out new video game systems each year, because it is better than the last one.They invest in new technolgy and ideas to make a product better so people will buy it, and they do...

These "small market" teams are just a joke. You expect people to spend money just to support them because they are there...no way! Imagine an O's team line up like this:

2b-Roberts CF-Jones RF-Markakis 1B-Texeria C-Weiters DH- Huff 3B-Mora LF- Scott SS- Izitusaris(or however you want to spell it, get a real shortstop who can hit and defend)

Craig Olney

I am glad to see the opinion offered in the subject column appearing in the June 2, 2009 online version of the Sun Sports section.

It seems in life that when the chips are down, people are quick to point fingers. Mr Angelos makes an easy target, since he chooses to remain in the background and let his baseball management be in the forefront. I agree with Brady Anderson that Mr. Angelos has gotten a bad rap for the Orioles' troubles. That's not to say he hasn't made mistakes, but he has done a lot of right. Had he not bought the club when he did, do you think the Orioles would still be a Baltimore franchise?

People are always looking to blame someone for failures; yes, when you fail, you must seek the cause and correct it. In the case of the Orioles, it was more a case of not having the right baseball minds controlling the organization for a long period where we stopped developing our own players from the bottom up and sought to take a shortcut and bought someone else's seeming success. It didn't happen overnight; nor is the fix happening overnight. Mr. Angelos hired one of the best minds in baseball, with a proven track record, and is letting him do what he believes is best for the club over the long haul. The short haul has been painful, but we have finally gone back to what Baltimore baseball was known for – developing sound players from the ground up who play baseball the right way … the "Orioles Way".

Thank you for being a good sound newspaper, both online and in print!

Roger Anderson

Brady Anderson's comments, while heartfelt, come from a man with zero credibility. What else could he do besides defend an owner that signed him to a big contract after he juiced up to hit 50 home runs one year?

Bobby Meehan

It's kind of hard to be mad at Angelos these days with the team looking like it's heading very much in the right direction. Brady makes a good case, and didn't even mention that Angelos was the only owner who refused to field a team of replacement players during the baseball strike. I've always had a lot of respect for Angelos for doing that.

Mike Miner

As with any business in the United States, the owner is responsible for all things good and bad. Just ask President Obama. Thirteen years of losing seasons in baseball is laughable. Just imagine the outrage if Baltimore's largest employer reported 13 consecutive years of net losses. The CEO and the board of directors would be run out of town on a rail.

The only thing Mr. Angelos is interested in by owning the Orioles is making a profit. If he really cared about winning he would have figured out how to do it by now. He is obviously an intelligent person. Do you think his law firm would have been as successful if he put the caliber of talent in it that he puts on the baseball field? The bottom line is profit. The Orioles reported the second highest profit in MLB in 2008 and we all know the final results of that season. Couldn't he have taken some that $98 million in profit and signed some big time free agents?

At this sad point in time Oriole fans would settle for a .500 season as opposed to making the playoffs because they realize at this point the Orioles will never make the playoffs with an Angelos as majority owner.

Gary Sowers

I'm writing in response to Brady Anderson's column that ran June 2 (Viewpoint: Angelos doesn't deserve the bad rap). My first response is: Brady, are you high?

Now, while I too thought that Sports Illustrated naming Angelos the worst owner was a bit much (considering there were plenty of names on that list who were much more deserving), I would never say he was one of the best owners. Not even close. Taking into account his body of work from the last 10 years, you have no choice but to put him in the bottom five of the worst owners in baseball.

I understand Anderson sticking up for a guy he has respect for, but from a fan's standpoint, there are too many negatives to outweigh the positives. In fact, almost all the references Anderson makes to the good things Angelos has done for the franchise have happened in the last two years (hiring Andy McPhail, signing Markakis and Roberts, the Thursday night kids specials, etc....). And to talk about how the Orioles are stable is a joke. Andy MacPhail isn't even 2 years into his job as Orioles General Manager/President of Baseball Operations. Who's to say he won't get fired in the off-season? You may laugh, but with Angelos there is plenty of precedent.

As for Anderson being incredulous that people could complain about an owner meddling too much, I say that baseball is just like every other business. And in any other business, when an owner who knows nothing about that business starts sticking his nose in, making uninformed decisions, that owner would be chastised just as Angelos has been.

And if Angelos cares so much about the fans, how come there has been an overriding feeling from many I've talked to that employees at Camden Yards have turned unpleasant over the years? Two years ago, I had seats behind home plate, and a friend, who had a season-ticket plan, moved down to sit with us in the seventh inning. An usher came down to check tickets and made him move. First of all, the place was EMPTY, and second of all, it was the seventh inning! That's respect for the fans? To be fair, I have noticed this year things are changing. But again, the last 8 years of awful ownership can't be dismissed. Throw in the fact that, with MASN, Angelos is making money broadcasting another team's games (Washington Nationals) and should be spending more of that money on his team, and Brady's arguments just don't hold water.

All of this said, I do believe, finally, the Orioles are on the right track. Maybe Angelos has learned over the years. For the sake of Orioles fans everywhere, I hope this isn't a lull for more of the same. This town deserves better.

Gerry Fey

Why should anyone complain about an owner? We have a major league team. He came forward and kept that team here. We have the best ballpark in baseball. And at one time we had the best fans in baseball too. But sadly that's changed. People can't or won't come to the ballpark to see inferior players. Inferior? The last time I checked these guys were all professionals. Rather than bash on an owner, why not come out and boo an opposing team? Become that tenth or eleventh player and support what we've got, instead of dumping on a man that's giving us a chance to forget all the problems and craziness for at least nine innings. I'm not saying this owner is some kind of savior. I don't know. But I do know how lousy summer would be without the Birds. He's kept them here, and in spite of ourselves, I hope he always will.

p.ray

What a great article by Brady Anderson! I have had the opportunity to meet Mr. Angelos and he is a true gentleman who cares about people’s well being.
Kudos to Brady for speaking the truth. God Bless, Mr Angelos!

John Manna

1954 Orioles arrive in Baltimore.

1966 Orioles win the World Series after only 11 years in Baltimore.

1969 Orioles again go to the World Series. Span of 3 years

1970 Orioles win the World Series. Span of 1 year

1971 Orioles go to the World Series again. Span of 1 year

1979 Orioles go to the World Series again. Span of 8 years

1983 Orioles win the World Series. Span of 4 years

1993 Peter Angelos buys the team.

2009 No World Series appereances since 1983. Span of 26 years!

A storied franchise with countless Hall of Fame players doesn't get back to the World Series for 26 years after 6 appearances and 3 World Series Championships in 29 years. If it ain't the fault of Peter Angelos, who is at fault? He is the owner of the team. I am hopeful that with the hiring of McPhail and Angelos' word that he won't interfere, maybe we've turned the corner, but remember this is the guy who hired Albert Belle and fired Jon Miller.

Greg Kilduff

In regards to Brady Anderson's column, I'm glad to see someone who played the game come out and set the record straight.  The Baltimore fans had been spoiled and then fickle, expecting a consistent winner.  The game has change since the '90s.  Big money equals successful teams season to season and when two of richest teams are in your division other ways to win must be devised.  Over the years, I feel Mr. Angelos has received some bad advice, and it has resulted in a barren farm system with no hope to win. 

 

 

The future of the team looks bright because of Andy MacPhail's continued determination to develop players.  I sincerely hope, and believe, that Mr. Angelos acknowledges his good fortune by hiring Mr. MacPhail.  The 'Oriole Way' never went away, it was dormant because of bad leadership and poor performance on the field.

 

 

StricklerSports

 

 

First let me say I've been an Orioles fan for 40 years. Brady Anderson was a lazy steroid filled player who could not hit it out of the infield until he found 'roids. If Cal would not have taken him under his wings he would have never lasted more than a year.

 

As for Angelos he is smart because he knows if it's your birthday you are not going to the game alone and if your 10 or under your parents will take at least one friend along and thats more money for concessions either way. He had enough money to bring in at least one superstar a year but he's too tight. Then MASN came along and he still lives by his reputation and thats why players like Tex are not here. He made his bed and we are lying in it. Please sell the team and take your tabacco money and live happily ever after .Or if you really want to help the team keep 25 percent and let Cal get a group together to be owners of the other 75 percent.Thank you and GOD bless the Orioles before there are no fans left to buy a $8 beer.                         

 

Rodney Yost 

Regarding Brady's column of June 2, it is expected that many fans will be in a great deal of disagreement.  In spite of some potential for medium-term improvement, the simple fact is the Orioles are playing in what may be their 12th consecutive losing season.  Outside of the Pirates, currently there is no franchise the Orioles can match for continuous futility over the last decade.
 
In reality, there exist a number of issues that Mr. Angelos failed to address over this time which has led to the estrangement of many Oriole fans.  At the very least, it has kept them home and, incidentally, paved the way for much of the town to be distracted by Raven's mini-camps in April and May.  Brady points out that Davey Johnson left.  He doesn't explain why Johnson left.  Anderson claims it had to do with Alomar.  One could very easily infer that Angelos simply didn't want to be in a position to have to re-negotiate Johnson's (low) salary ($775,000).  Worse, however, are the managers hired by Angelos since (Miller, Hargrove, Mazzilli, Perlozzo, Trembley).  With the exception of Mike Hargrove, not one manager had a proven major league track record, and the results were not surprising.  Separately, there was no good reason for allowing a world-class announcer (Jon Miller) to leave.  Again, the fact that he claims Miller was not being enough of "a homer" was just another case of his ego getting in the way of sound business acumen.  We're talking about a Hall of Fame announcer here.  While this cannot have any bearing on the standings, it certainly is reminiscent of overall front-office shortcomings.  What about more recent issues?  Is Angelos not responsible for endangering the health of the players when there are problems with the spring training workout fields that a decent landscape company could address?  It's no wonder the franchise can't attract top flight free-agents!
 
Brady talks about the price of the Oriole tickets, that they are below the average M.L. ticket price.  Well, hello--they should be when you haven't had a decent season in over a decade.  If Angelos is consistently in the upper half of payroll (without a winning season) then I guess it's the fault of his GMs.  Who hires the GMs?  Syd Thrift was a failure.  The Beattie/Flanagan tandem proved the old adage that more really is less. 
 
In short, Angelos, if not the worst owner in baseball, is among the worst.  For years I have believed he is similar to George Steinbrenner...without the wins.
 
Michael Bass 

 

It does appear that he may have finally learned a lesson from Steinbrenner after being banned from baseball. If you remember, Gene Michael was able to gather the talent and actually let them do their jobs! They have since fielded some pretty good teams, haven’t they?

 

MacPhail is the guy that can turn this team around, only problem is we’re still stuck with your little friend…..

Jerry Apicella 

(Photo by Baltimore Sun photographer Karl Merton Ferron)

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