On a day when Aubrey Huff took to the local airwaves to apologize to those offended by his comments last week in a radio interview, Orioles officials looked into whether they have any grounds to discipline their veteran designated hitter.
At this point, it's unclear whether the club has any recourse, though two longtime baseball executives, who requested anonymity, said yesterday that it was unlikely the Orioles would be able to do much to punish Huff. Reached last night, Michael Weiner, the general counsel of the players union, said he wasn't aware of the situation and declined to comment.
However, that the Orioles are even looking into the matter shows how irate they are with Huff over his 90-minute appearance last Thursday with Bubba The Love Sponge on Sirius Satellite Radio. During the interview, Huff, who signed a three-year, $20 million deal with the Orioles in January, referred to Baltimore as a "horses - - city" and angered club officials further by discussing other racy and sensitive subjects.
"I just think it was tasteless and offensive, and you can count me among those offended," said Andy MacPhail, Orioles president of baseball operations.
The Orioles have expressed their feelings to Huff. This could be a delicate issue because, though the Orioles don't want to give the appearance they're abandoning one of their players, they also likely don't want to seem to condone his behavior.
Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan called it a "judgment error" for Huff to appear on the show.
In an interview on ESPN Radio 1300 yesterday afternoon, Huff said he was surprised about the attention his comments were getting and reminded listeners that it was "shock-value radio and you are acting."
"Is it the smartest thing in the world to say that stuff? No. But nobody has ever accused me of being smart. ... For the people who are offended, I apologize. For the people who aren't offended, I hope they got a tremendous laugh, because that's what it was meant for.
"We're not politicians. We're baseball players. There are certain things you can or cannot say. Was it over the line? Maybe a little bit. But it was all in good fun. Hopefully, it didn't offend anybody. If it did, so be it."
Huff's appearance on the show included dialogue littered with profanities and his attempts to interview nude Internet porn star Melissa Midwest, who allowed the hosts to apply paint to her bare buttocks so she could do body art. On a video clip that has appeared on the Web, Huff can be heard off-camera providing commentary.
Among the topics addressed by Huff were his alcohol consumption, waking up with a hangover in the early afternoon before games and watching pornography in his hotel room on the road.
His unflattering description of Baltimore drew loud laughs from members of the show but enraged Orioles fans, who have called radio stations and hit team message boards en masse to express their displeasure with Huff's behavior.
"What needs to be pointed out is the type of show the BLS is," said Rob Shields, 28, of Catonsville. "It is not your typical radio show you will hear on WBAL or WNST. It is Howard Stern-esque, and therefore has a different atmosphere to it. On the other hand, the comments show a disrespect to the city, team and fans of this city.
"I am not sure what kind of punishment he deserves, if any. After all, it is his constitutional right to say what he wants. However, Andy MacPhail seems to be trying to get this team to where it once was - when it was good, when it was respected and when it was loved by this town. Stuff like this hurts that some, and Mr. MacPhail probably won't stand for it and I applaud that."
During yesterday's interview on ESPN Radio 1300, Huff was asked what he would say if his friend from Bubba The Love Sponge invited him back on the show.
"Sure," Huff replied, conceding he would choose his words more carefully. "He's a friend, and I always back a friend."