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Orioles' hiring of Albert Belle debated by...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Orioles' hiring of Albert Belle debated by fans

A native of Rochester, N.Y., I have been a lifelong Orioles fan. I was planning an excursion with my two young sons to Camden Yards this summer during a visit to the Delaware seashore.

Now I have to put those plans and my allegiance to the O's on hold until the end of the Albert Belle era.

The franchise that gave us great leaders like Ripken, Murray, Baylor and the two Robinsons, now wants Albert Belle. I think I'm going to be sick.

David Spence

Austin, Texas

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By offering Albert Belle a $65 million dollar contract, Peter Angelos (aka wannabe owner of the not-so-beloved Washington Redskins) has once again proven that he has no clue what it

really means to be an Oriole, or a true Oriole fan, for that matter.

B.J. Surhoff, Alan Mills and Eric Davis came from other franchises but still managed to become true Orioles. But they are gone now. I wish them success and happiness and thank them for their time and efforts here in Baltimore.

There are still a number of true Orioles left but they are so overshadowed by the specter of Albert Belle and Peter Angelos that I have finally reached the point of resignation.

So, without further ado, I hereby renounce my allegiance to the Baltimore Orioles baseball franchise. I would especially like to thank Rene Gonzales for always running on and off the field at near-full speed, Eddie Murray for instilling the confidence that we were never out of a game, and "Wild Bill" Hagy for helping the rest of us show the passion and enthusiasm we felt in our hearts.

They and many others are the stuff memories are made of. Regardless of what becomes of this team or the game as a whole, no one can take that away from me.

Steve Sullivan

Timonium

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Why are people so upset that Peter Angelos is going to receive between $500 million and $1 billion as his share of the Maryland tobacco settlement? With all that money he can go out and buy more high-priced free agents like Albert Belle.

Joseph K. Canner

Laurel

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What a frightening message we send to our youngsters by finding it acceptable to reward an athlete who behaves like a thug by cheering him and offering him $65 million. So what if he abuses fans, has no respect for authority and acts like a 2-year-old on the field. If there is a chance he can help the Orioles come back to the top of their game, his behavior is of

little consequence.

We have a commander-in-chief who commits sexual offenses that have gotten military men and women tossed out of the service and offers lies that, committed by other American citizens, have cost them their jobs and, in some cases, resulted in jail sentences. It seems what we're teaching is: It's not how you behave, it's who you are and how slickly you can get away with it. It's little wonder we have lost respect from our own citizens and, most assuredly, from everyone overseas.

Cooky McClung

Betterton

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Tell me it isn't so. Tell me the team I love, the team of heroes such as Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer and Cal Ripken hasn't signed Albert Belle. Mr. Belle embodies everything that isn't "the O's way," everything that is wrong with big money sports and big-ego players.

Mr. Angelos, I'd rather have a losing team I can be proud of, than a winning one with a player like Albert Belle.

Nancy LaMotte

Baltimore

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The Orioles aggressively pursue and sign Albert Belle. They treat B. J. Surhoff and Rafael Palmeiro with benign neglect.

Why don't we aggressively pursue Chris Webber? He may want to try baseball, like Michael Jordan, and with Mr. Belle and Mr. Webber, we would be well on our way to becoming the Oakland Raiders of baseball. This is not the 'Oriole way.'

Tom Ferguson

Ellicott City

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If Orioles General Manager Frank Wren was taken by "surprise" by Rafael Palmeiro's signing with the Texas Rangers and felt that the Orioles "bent over backwards" to keep the two-time Oriole MVP, I suggest that he take a course in Staff Building 101. It isn't always about the money, honey.

The Orioles blew the Palmeiro deal because they dillied and dallied, and didn't make him feel that he was at the top of their wish list. By wining and dining and fussing over troublemaker Albert Belle, the Orioles let a gentleman and a leader get away from the table.

Annamarie DeCarlo

Annapolis

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When the Orioles traded for Frank Robinson, a lot of people said that Mr. Robinson was trouble and it was a bad trade. We all know that he made the team a champion and, perhaps, is the best player we have ever had.

Now let's stop criticizing Albert Belle. Let's welcome him warmly and give him a chance to be the dominating player he can be.

Stewart McLean

Baltimore

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O's sign Albert Belle and let Rafael Palmeiro go to Texas -- Black Tuesday in Baltimore.

Ted Zamerski

Bel Air

Readers on Ravens-Colts '98

It was obvious that the Ravens had more on their minds than simply winning a football game this past Sunday.

Thanks a lot, guys, for taking time to talk to my kid and give him autographs at summer camp, thanks for going into the community because you care and not because you're getting paid. But most of all, thanks for the incredible effort on Sunday. If this city doesn't get behind you now, maybe we're not the football town we thought we were.

Steve Rochfort

Baltimore

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Having just moved to Baltimore from Cleveland, I can relate to the Ravens fans' appreciation of the owners of the Indianapolis Colts.

Moving the Browns was just as traumatic an event for the people of Cleveland as moving the Colts. The out-and-out lying of the owners of the Browns to the people of Cleveland and the people of northeast Ohio will never be forgotten.

Ron March

Ellicott City

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Even after an 18-hour train ride back to my new home in Indiana, I am still angered by The Sun's failure to fully grasp the spirit of football or the Ravens-Colts game.

First, comeback victories like Colts-Giants '58, Super Bowl V, Colts-Dolphins '75, Colts-Patriots '77, Colts-Bears '83, and Ravens-Colts '98 reward loyal fans and prove the mettle of a team more than blowouts.

But the pseudo-intellectual, fashionably critical Sun sports staff members wrung their hands over how the Ravens fell behind, rather than appreciated the 17-0 rally that won the game. Nor did Sun reporters explore whether pregame hype initially made the team too jittery to play well, as it appeared to me.

Second, revenge is a dish best served cold. The Sun should have put the picture of Jim Harbaugh and Priest Holmes on Page 1A because it captured the mass vindication, hysteria and joy of the fourth quarter. The Johnny U. picture was great, but the Sun must not use the Colts to pressure the Ravens.

Last, Ken Rosenthal's column was so obvious it could have been written by anyone. He remains interesting because he pretends to know Baltimore and sports.

John Linantud

Mishawaka, Ind.

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I really enjoy your "Report Card" in the Sports section, analyzing the performance of the previous Ravens game.

This time I think you missed one outstanding performance, Jim Harbaugh A+ for presenting the game ball to John Unitas, a class act.

Nathaniel McFadden

Annapolis

Pub Date: 12/05/98

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