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It appears as though the Baltimore Orioles, who are always too stubborn to admit when they're WRONG, are getting sick of fighting with the fans and are beginning to embrace their fan base. Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun announced yesterday that the Orioles have petitioned the league to return "Baltimore" to the road jerseys in 2009. Here's the link:
While Rick Maese says Peter Angelos was the driving force behind this change, anyone with half a brain near the Chesapeake Bay knows that is far from the truth. I've met Rick, who works with my dad at The Sun, and I respect his writing, but, as an outsider, it looks to me The Sun is continuing to kiss up to King Peter for fear of getting the WNST treatment (sorry, Dad).
For those who don't know, WNST, along with EVERY OTHER media outlet in Baltimore who isn't on the payroll, are not allowed to interview players or have them as guests on their radio/tv shows. Regardless, this is an example of Andy MacPhail doing the right thing and listening to the fan base, like all other good sports organizations do regularly.
WNST has been the driving force behind this change for years. Drew Forrester, host of the Comcast Morning Show, and Nasty Nestor Aparicio, owner of WNST, have been preaching for this change for about five years now. Not because it will make the team play better (even though we wish it would), but to reconnect with the fans they have treated like peasants since King Peter took over.
The Orioles used to have Baltimore on the away unis, and those were during the glory days of Baltimore baseball; back in the days when the Orioles made it to three consecutive World Series (winning two of them) and were highly competitive in the playoffs for about a decade. It reminds us of the good ol' days of Orioles baseball, and it brings back good nostalgic feelings about the club.
It also symbolizes change. Even though we are currently in the basement of the AL East, things are finally starting to look up for this club. There is a huge stock of good minor league pitching prospects, as well as our most important offensive prospect, centerfielder Adam Jones, who is inked to a long term contract. The Orioles are in the same position the Rays were a few years ago: taking their lumps until the young guys mature. But this rebuilding process is far from over...stay the course.
Greg Bader, director of marketing and PR for the Orioles and a royal jerk, instructed the puppets to say "no comment" when asked about the change. Greg, if you're out there, this would be a really good time to start getting the fans excited about this. Do you have any idea how many uniforms you would sell if you would hype this up? Ah, forget it...I never expect the Orioles management to act rationally.
But we can rest assured that this is actually going to happen. If you recall, they said the same thing last year to other media outlets, but Zrebiec is in the know, and he wouldn't pin his name on something that wasn't true.
Now Drew Forrester made a very good point in his blog, found at http://www.wnst.net, that this may be a fluke. They could make this an alternate uniform, and wear it during only Sunday away games (about 15 games total). Personally, I don't care. It's finally a step in the right direction, and I hope the Orioles continue this pattern of behavior under the direction of Andy MacPhail. Then again, they are the Orioles...