Mount Angelos erupts; Orioles' firings: Owner's impulsiveness harder to accept because team's not a contender.


IF THE ORIOLES were winning, Peter Angelos' machinations wouldn't be so annoying.

The owner of Baltimore's beloved baseball team seems to have been this way for as long as he has been in the public eye: He was headstrong and impulsive when he sat on the City Council in the 1960s.

He was that way when he emerged from virtually nowhere to return the Orioles to local ownership in 1993. And, he was that way when he sensibly bucked other owners during the baseball strike and practically willed an historic, exhibition series with Cuba.

When he refused to let the team trade Bobby Bonilla and David Wells three years ago and the team nearly won the league pennant, nobody grumbled too loudly. Because the "worst team money can buy" has stunk up Camden Yards the past two summers, now his moxy doesn't look so hot.

Mr. Angelos, however, can't go on changing managers and general managers like socks. You'd think his experience as an attorney (what moves slower than the wheels of justice?) would have given him some reserve of patience. He needs to apply some of that to the baseball team.

Maybe he should think of the Orioles as the largest class-action he's ever represented, only in this case the clients are certain they know better than he.

Mr. Angelos has to put faith in competent baseball people to bring continuity to the club. That requires accepting some decisions with which he disagrees.

The autumn chill signals the arrival of baseball's playoffs, which again don't involve Baltimore.

Watching a long-ago Oriole, Steve Finley, carry Arizona to a playoff victory on television the other night reminded us of all the promising young talent the team squandered in the 1980s.

In fairness, Mr. Angelos has a long way to go to contend for dumbest moves in Orioles' history. But he seems to be getting closer each year.

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