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Birds should stick together [Letter]

It is my hope that these simple words from a simple mom might stir the Baltimore Orioles just a bit. I am writing to plead for them to do something that has never been before.

I'm writing on behalf of the thousands of kids who love the Birds. My little guys, Jack and Ethan, are two of them. They are 8 and 5, and probably like most ballplayers did at their age, they have fallen head over heels in love with baseball. And the Orioles. They have spent the last two years playing Little League and this past summer getting to Harry Grove Stadium for as many Frederick Keys games as possible. They spent three days at Keys Camp where they experienced what was for them a little bit of heaven.

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It has been an honor to cheer the Orioles on, to watch the players overcome adversity, to celebrate their victories and commitment. And even more so for me because I get to experience it all through Jack and Ethan's eager eyes. They high-five, they laugh, they agonize. Did I mention that they love the O's?

Back to my plea. First the why. Then the what.

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During these playoff games, the speculation over next season has already begun. Probably not by the players, certainly not by manager Buck Showalter. But the broadcasters have already begun the chatter. I cringe each time one of them launches into: "He will be a free agent" or "there's already talk about where he'll be playing next year," or "which can afford him next season?" Undoubtedly, Jack and Ethan will soon ask me what they mean. How on earth will I explain to them that, well, baseball players leave their teams to go play in another city for another team because they will be paid more money? How do I get their brains to wrap around the absurdity of $11 million isn't enough and Team X offered $12 million?

I am struggling to teach them against the bombardment of messages they receive from our crazy culture that people and relationships and commitment are something, maybe everything.

So my radical idea is this (and before anyone denies the possibility of radical ideas changing the world, think about Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., and Pope Francis and Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani who stood up for education): all the Baltimore Orioles players should have a team press conference now before the next series and declare the following:

"We are staying together next year. We are staying together because what we have is important and because the love we have for the game, for each other and for Baltimore cannot be bought from us."

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Each of the Orioles in this magical journey has a chance to do something so much bigger than win a World Series. They have a chance to model for my sons one of the most powerful lessons they may ever receive, one that is surely lacking in today's culture — that money does not drive everyone's choices and it certainly does not define anyone's worth.

For that, I would be grateful beyond my ability to express.

Nancy Sellars

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To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

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