We, as fans always wants to believe our athletes are loyal to our region and us, not only because of the money and emotional investment put forth, but because sports reinforces regional pride and esteem.
Well, Kevin Millar has put athlete loyalty and the team they play for to the test.
I mentioned the contribution of Millar towards the Red Sox and his TV spot in game six of the ALCS, and he throwing out the first pitch in game seven.
While some agreed with what I posted online yesterday here and on Oriole Magic, if you span the rest of the Oriole blogs, forums and websites, fans are not happy at all with Millar's antics.
By far, the most vocal of fans have been at Orioles Hangout discussing the issue; however, I am far more concerned with what Millar does on the field and in an Oriole uniform than I am with some stuff he does with the Red Sox in the post-season. Millar, I think likes Baltimore, but has no real ties to here, and it is obvious to me, he has a lot of affection towards the Red Sox organization.
On top of it all, according the media, Andy MacPhail approved it, so the Oriole brass must have not made a big deal about it. In the end, it seems like more athletes like where they play and love the income, than showing undying loyalty to an organization.
Someone like Derek Jeter is different from the norm, a lot down deep may feel like Manny Ramirez in terms of their loyalty to their team, fanbase and region.
Again, I may be different, but in the end, as Millar does his job as an Oriole, that's good enough for me. As I have gotten older, I have taken sports for what it is -- entertainment, rather than something that is a faux parable of life.
Roch Kubatko, Bill Ordine, and Camden Chat have more thoughts on Kevin Millar.
Meanwhile, in light of the horrible baseball that has been played by the Orioles for the past decade and the ever declining crowds at Camden Yards -- guess what? The Oriole are making money hand over fist.
The Baltimore Sun's Childs Walker reports on the club's financial health, and it's pretty good. Most of the team's value comes from MASN, obviously and a deal by MLB as part of the negotiations to bring the Montreal Expos into Washington.
From the report:
Because of the excellent fiscal health of Major League Baseball, the creation of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network by Orioles owner Peter Angelos and the league, and the continuing adoration for Camden Yards, the Orioles are worth more than ever before, investment bankers and financial analysts say.
The team is valued at about $400 million, says John A. Moag, president of Moag and Co., a Baltimore-based investment banking firm that specializes in sports transactions. And MASN, which is 90 percent owned by the team, is worth at least another $400 million, he said.
That's a far cry from the $173 million (about $240 million in today's dollars) that Angelos and his partners paid for the Orioles in 1993.
I would not be surprised at all with the assessment. Much of the value seems to be built upon the reputation of Camden Yards, along with the potential of the cable TV network, which the Orioles have almost all the ownership of.
If the Orioles ever became competitive again and could build up the network to the level of NESN or YES, the organization would be in far better condition than it is now and would bring an obvious level of respect back to baseball in the region.
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