Monday, December 17, 2007

Woe is the Baltimore Orioles: Peter Schmuck's Say

If you want some interesting reading, check out what Peter Schmuck says in today's Baltimore Sun.

Here's a quote from the piece that pretty sums up how and I and lot of people feel about the Orioles' organization right now.

Alas, I applaud Peter for telling it like it is.

I'm still scratching my head over the club's decision to e-mail its reaction to the Mitchell Report to the media at 10:21 p.m. on a Saturday night, unless the people who are in charge of communications (the last time I looked, that would be John Angelos and director of communications Greg Bader) simply hoped everyone would be too deep into the Christmas eggnog to care.

Or maybe they were hoping it would seem like such old news by yesterday that no one would look too closely at the strange four paragraphs that first seem to applaud commissioner Bud Selig and Mitchell for their efforts to eradicate performance-enhancing drugs from baseball but then call into question the legitimacy of Mitchell's investigation.

It gets better, and read what he thinks of the team's announcement...
Say what? Maybe the Neo-Comms (that's my nickname for Bader and Mid-Atlantic Sports Network public-relations guy Todd Webster) knew what they were doing when they sent the thing out under the cover of darkness. I can't imagine Selig is going to be too happy to see that the Orioles - with 19 current or former players named in the report - are challenging the integrity of the 409-page document.

It's pretty obvious Peter Angelos got his back up when he saw that Brian Roberts was included in the report on admittedly scant evidence, and I would be applauding him right now if he had come forward immediately and taken a public stand for his player. Instead, team officials needed nearly 60 hours to formulate a four-paragraph statement and get approval to send it out, which says a lot about the way they still do things at the top of the organization.

Enough said.

And yes, for the high-dollar crowd, even more bad news.

After 10 losing seasons, declining attendance, and taking fans for a ride, guess what the Oriole have decided to do -- raise the price of season tickets in some sections! This is mainly for the field box seats, but what in the god damn world are they thinking?

The same goes for the sneaky price hike. The O's sent out season-ticket renewal mailers Dec. 13 that include a letter about the team's bright future from MacPhail and an unspecified increase in some prices.

The best field boxes cost $45 per seat if you bought a full plan last year. This year's full-season plan costs $3,888 per seat, which breaks down to $48 per ticket, though nowhere is that mentioned in the mailer. You have to get out your calculator to figure out the team is raising some prices at the same time it's drastically slashing payroll and being, as MacPhail likes to say, "brutally honest" with fans about the meager prospects for success in the near term.
And to close out...

Honestly, I thought the team - as part of this new era of good feelings - might slightly reduce all prices as a gesture to the fans who have remained faithful through a horrible decade. Of course, we all know I'm a gullible idiot, but I really thought there might be some discussion in the law office of throwing the public a bone this winter.

Instead, you get the same old song and dance, except you probably won't be dancing with any stars next season.

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