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June 3, 2009

Brady's passionate defense

bradyAP.jpgOrioles Hall of Famer Brady Anderson came to the defense of O's owner Peter Angelos in this Op-Ed piece that was published in The Sun on Tuesday. The former center fielder took offense to a recent Sports Illustrated article that rated Angelos as the worst owner in Major League Baseball.

Can't help but admire Brady for taking on the challenge of building a case for Angelos, but it's hard to get past those 11 straight losing seasons and some of the decisions that put the Orioles in the sad state they are trying to escape right now.

Anderson is correct in contending that Angelos has been willing to spend money and keep a high payroll for much of that time, but I think the point of the SI criticism is that he spent much of that money unwisely.

I don't think anyone denies that Angelos is a loyal friend who has gone out of his way to help many of his players -- his compassionate treatment of Eric Davis stands out, as well as the effort Angelos put out to get Rafael Palmeiro's brother out of Cuba -- but I don't think that is the kind of thing that generally gets factored heavily into the equation when you rate the performance of a team owner.

Angelos has presided over the dramatic decline of the Orioles franchise and he'll have to wear that until Andy MacPhail or somebody else finally guides the club back into consistent contention. It's finally starting to look like that might happen in the next couple of years.

No need to question Brady's motives. He's not looking for a job or anything. He's just appreciative of what Angelos did for him and some of his teammates in the 1990s and it's admirable that he came forward.

Associated Press photo


Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:05 AM | | Comments (34)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Brady, I think, accidentally hit the nail on the head. The Pro-Angelos crowd is living in the past. A couple of playoff runs in the 90's cannot cancel out 11 straight losing seasons. Yes Angelos is a very generous man when it comes to his city, but the people of Baltimore have been equally generous giving him a sweetheart lease on Oriole Park, enduring rising ticket prices, not to mention the incredibly lucrative deal reached with MLB that brough MASN to our region. As Ken Rosenthal has said, there is simply no excuse for the results O's fans have seen over the last 10 years given the Orioles revenue-producing tools.
And its not to say that Angelos is the worst person in the world, he isn't. But the business of baseball is one that involves a great deal of pride-swallowing and deference to baseball men. Peter Angelos may well be just a great businessman and philanthopist who just wan't cut out for MLB ownership.

Although Anderson is one of only two Orioles I never liked (Ripken being the other), I have to agree with him. I would rather have an owner that spent money and made mistakes than a cheapskate owner. Remember Eli Jacobs? He never put a dime into this team or city. As much as I like Nestor Aparicio, he is wrong about Angelos too. I would not trade Peter Angelos for any other sports owner!

Thank you for your reply. I was hoping someone would respond to this. I keep thinking back to the handling of Jon Miller, the lack of negotiations with Mussina, Alomar, and Palmerio before they became free agents, and the handling of Davey Johnson. Seem to think his ego overshadowed his love for the team and the city...

I thought Brady's "defense" was goofy.

Let's look at Eric Davis -- a heroic struggle in 1997, a good season in 1998, and then a heart wrenching, ill considered release at season's end. So much for "compassion." Please.

The bazaar firing of Frank Wren.

The crony hiring of Syd Thrift.

The undermining of Davey Johnson.

The signing of Albert Belle.

The heavy handed treatment of fans by stadium employees who booed
Lord Albert.

The loss of Mike Mussina.

Angelos was such a "homer" that he wanted to buy the Redskins.

Lord, that just brings us through 1999.

The hiring of Lee's son is a ray of very bright light, and it does indeed provide a ray of light for the future.

It does not, however, change the past, nor do I trust Angelos to not make a mess of things.

I think the 'roids have effected Brady's cognitive capacity.

I really don 't feel PA has intentionally drug the O's to the basement. I commend him for how he has let AM take control. He is a hometown guy and I believe his motives were not to drag our O's down. He did make some bad hiring decisions> I personally think we should give him some slack, after all he is a baltomoron just like many of us. Go O'S.

I thought Brady's comments made a lot of sense. I have thought for a while that too much has been made of Angelos, although his intense negotiate-everything style, his over caution about injuries, his firing of Jon Miller, and some other things have gotten on my nerves. But as Brady points out, he's very loyal to his hometown and to his main players, and that is something you don't often get in this conglomerate, corporate world. People will be sorry when he is replaced by one of those faceless enterprises somewhere down the road.

It's not surprising Brady would defend Angelos. After all, Angelos signed
Brady to a huge contract against the wishes of his GM and at a price and length that no other team would offer. It also was Angelos to whom Brady would run whenever a decision was made that he didn't like and Angelos would always overrule the manager and/or GM and give Brady whatever he wanted. So Brady got to lead off and play CF after it was apparent to everyone but Brady that he wasn't a CF anymore. I actually do agree with Brady saying that an owner has the right to make decisions for his team. However, if you're going to say that it is right to make decisions than it is also right to evaluate the owner on the results of his decisions. The results, which are measured in wins and losses, are horrible under Angelos' ownership. The fact that he finally hired a good baseball man in MacPhail and is letting him make decisions is admirable, but the flip side of that is MacPhail is cleaning up the mess that was created by Angelos' decisions. It was Angelos who hired Syd Thrift and allowed him to destroy the franchise. If you're going to credit him for hiring MacPhail, you have to also give him the blame for what went before.

The piece of Brady’s defense that resounded most with me was about Gillick wanting to gut the 1996 team. I am going to write something that seems to be constantly forgotten.

Gillick was wrong……..

Angelos was right.

If not for Angelos’ decision to stop Gillick from gutting that team, the Orioles could be looking at 26 years without a playoff appearance. It created a situation where for the next 10+ years the owner felt justified in second guessing his GMs. But I say this is not Angelos’ fault. I blame Gillick for being so wrong. For someone who was supposed to be such a great GM, he really blew that decision and thereby created the environment where Angelos felt justified in interfering where he felt necessary.

I haven’t ever felt that Angelos hasn’t wanted to win. Actually, I feel quote the contrary. I think so much of the futility has been the result of Angelos wanting the team to win so badly. The Orioles could have an owner that doesn’t care about winning. There are plently of those in sports.

Just to restate my point as clearly as I can. Don’t blame Angelos for all the futility.

It’s all Gillick’s fault.

Pete,
Word on the streets is that PA recently purchased a terminator that looks identical to Brady and is programmed to serve and protect him from SI, ESPN, and any others that say he stinks. Who knows where the real Brady is….

I thought this was a great article by Anderson. I just disagree with his President/CEO analogy on medling with the front office. Owning a professional sports team is NOT like owning a typcial business. For more information on this topic, please Google AL DAVIS and OAKLAND RAIDERS. Schmuck... I mean Mr. Schmuck is right (as usual). Eventhough Angelos appears to be doing it right by letting MacPhail navigate the O's ship, 11 straight loosing seasons will be is albatross untill the winning percentage changes.

I haven't read the SI piece, but I certainly don't think Peter Angelos is the worst owner in baseball, if only because he has finally put the ballclub back into the hands of a competent professional, Andy MacPhail.

That said, the post-ALCS pre-MacPhail period of 1998-2006 was a disaster and there's no one else who can be held responsible for it other than Peter Angelos (given that he fired everyone else or they "resigned" during this period). We were so bad that our AAA affiliate Rochester Red Wings dumped the Orioles! Angelos haggled excessively during contract negotiations and scared off our premium players only to end up overpaying for the likes of an ailing Albert Belle.

I don't doubt Brady Anderson's sincerity in writing his defense of Mr. Angelos, and it seems that Mr. Angelos has seen the error of his ways, but it's hard to deny that his ways were erroneous up until recently.

To me the most salient criticism you can make of Angelos is not what he did or didn't do with respect to any particular player (or even with respect to Dave Johnson.)

To me Angelos's greatest failing was his stubborn refusal to understand the reality that baseball was coming to Washington and that the Baltimore Orioles are from Baltimore.

Instead of focusing on growing the team on the field, he spent 5 years trying to exact blood money and keep baseball out of DC.

Now that reality has finally set in, however, he's made the right decision by letting Andy MacPhail do the baseball stuff.

In short: Empire building = bad. Winning baseball games = good.

Brady Anderson should keep a low profile like Mark Mcguire does. By the way Brady, explain to me just how plain old working out helped you go from 15 career home runs a year to 50 and then back to 15 again? Your motto should be "Better Living through Chemistry".

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I have to say, Brady's answer to that logic has a lot of logic to it. He often answers that question by saying, "What, so after I hit 50 homers once, I decided I didn't like hitting 50 homers, so I stopped doing whatever you think I was doing to hit 50 homers." Remember, that was way before anybody was testing for anything. That said, I don't know what Brady did or didn't do. I do know he was a fantastic athlete who loved all that GNC stuff.

Pete,
Brady's loyalty to the man who wrote his fat checks is fine. But I know some ordinary people who have worked for Angelos (including my brother) who have stories of his rudeness, arrogance and abuse of employees. Angelos knows asbestos. He doesn't know how to treat people and he doesn't know how to win at baseball.

Personal slams against Angelos are undeserved -- he does seem like a decent guy personally. But, sharp criticism of his mismanagement of the Orioles is certainly warranted. 11 straight losing seasons and sagging attendance speaks for itself.

Whatever Brady. No one cares what you think anymore (if anyone did in the first place). You were were an employee of pete angelos and were never a fan, so you can't comment about the treatment that fans have received. You ought to comment about the treatment of the players recently. Care to comment about spring training facilities in Ft Lauderdale?

Does pete deserve ALL of the criticism? Probably not. But it can't be denied that he is the man in charge and the team has lost 11 years in a row and attendance at OPACY has become a joke lately and there has been a string of terrible decisions on and off the field. Ultimately, someone has to be responsible and who has been there for all 11 of those years? pete angelos.

Pete-

Would love to hear your opinion on what the O's will do in the upcoming draft.

Thanks

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Pete's reply: There are two schools of thought, either they go for an infielder like the USC shortstop or they take the best pitcher available. There is logic in both. Andy loves pitching, so that option wouldn't surprise me even though they need to broaden their organizational infield talent.

Peter, you hit the nail squarely on the head. It is indeed admirable that Brady defends Angelos. However, most of the points he made are irrelevant.

Whether Angelos is a good guy, a selectively good guy, or not at all a good guy has nothing to do with being an owner that measures up or not. It can help. On the other hand, it was only a couple months ago during spring training at the Oriole permanently temporary site that there was an article written that players like Markakis and Roberts rarely, if ever, see Angelos in person.

Heck, eleven straight losing seasons is only the tip of the ice berg with Angelos. He has managed to alienate a majority of a fanbase.

It's not just losing that is causing it.

I was season ticket holder on August 5, 1986, when the bottom fell out. I was still a season ticket holder during 0-21 of 1988 when rock bottom was hit. Losing is no fun. But one can deal with it if it feels temporary.

I could go bad decision by bad decision on what a dolt Angelos is as an owner -- including the veto of the Bonilla and Wells trades -- but what would be the point? The only reason there seems to be a glimmer of hope is MacPhail seems to be making the baseball decisions. It is a tepid feeling because we know who is still behind the curtain.

Angelos is the owner and he can do whatever he wants. So can the fans.

how about the fact that PA reportedly has not returned phone calls from BROOKS ROBINSON? I put the fact that Brooks is alienated from the organization squarely on Angelos' shoulders, and that is a perfect symbol of his tone-deaf, damaging stewardship of our beloved team. But, gee, Brady's happy, so I guess that makes everything OK.

If you worked for the team you know that just about everything Anderson said was either untrue or an opinion. Angelos has supported employees who have been ill (usually because of his wife) but he has sorely neglected almost every aspect of the franchise.

He has not met almost all of the players on the present roster. He and his son have avoided their customers and have created more ill will of any owner since Irsay,

Anderson has no room to talk as he was the primary reason Eddie Murray left as coach. It is well known in baseball circles that Anderson openly refused to take fielding practice and would not listen to Murray, and set a bad tone in the clubhouse with his clickish attitude.

I go on all day. Anderson's response is totally subjective (he made $40M as an Oriole). His opinion can be countered with fact.

Anyone with a knowledge of inner sanctum knows that just about everything Anderson said was either untrue or an opinion. Yes, Angelos has supported employees who have been ill (usually because of his wife), but he has sorely neglected almost every aspect of the franchise.

He has not met almost all of the players on the present roster. He and his son have avoided their customers and have created more ill will of any owner since Irsay,

Anderson has no room to talk as he was the primary reason Eddie Murray left as coach. It is well known in baseball circles that Anderson openly refused to take fielding practice and would not listen to Murray, and set a bad tone in the clubhouse with his clickish attitude.

Anderson's response is totally subjective (he made $40M as an Oriole). His opinion can be countered with fact. Unfortunately, he has a name that will allow his voice to heard above others.

Brady defending Angelos......Brady either A) is looking for a job or B) is trying to get in Pete's will. All those fat checks PA signed when Brady was juiced....this is his way of paying Peter back. Brady Anderson is the poster child for everything that was wrong with the O's during his O's career. You writer/columnist guys saw Brady on a different level but to baseball purists, make the Oriole purists, you just never got too excited about him.

The problem is, Brady wasn't around for most of the losing. He left Baltimore after only 4 straight losing seasons, and even '98 and '99 were fairly competitive. He has no idea what it's been like around here, and as others have said -- Angelos gave him a huge contract. Why wouldn't Brady like that guy? That said, I do give Angelos credit for apparently trusting MacPhail to run things properly. Things are turning around. But the things Angelos has done in the past -- getting rid of Jon Miller, Pat Gillick, Davey Johnson, et. al. -- are unforgivable.

Another poster disparaged Pat Gillick, which is ridiculous. Gillick didn't want to "gut" the team. He wanted to trade David Wells and Bobby Bonilla for prospects, including Jeromy Burnitz, who was a pretty decent slugger for a few years. Neither Wells nor Bonilla were around for our '97 playoff run, so to say that we'd have been in a 26 year drought without Angelos overruling Gillick is not accurate.

I also never understand why people have a problem with the Albert Belle signing. In retrospect, it was bad for the team because of his degenerative hip injury, but that's hindsight. His first year was outstanding, and we haven't had another feared slugger like him since. If he didn't get hurt, no one would be decrying that signing, regardless of his surly personality.

I'm relatively new to Baltimore so I don't know the specifics, but when I read the article I kept expecting the penny pinchers in Pittsburgh to "win" the anti-bragging rights of being the most-despised owner. How many years have they been without a winning season? Plus, they truly are cheap. Angelos may not have done a good job maximizing the returns to his money, but if you're going to talk about dragging once-proud historical franchises through the mud, I don't think we can compare ourselves with the festering cesspool that is today's Pirates club. At least we have hope!

Problem with Angelos has always been that he's a lawyer in a business world. He earned his fortunes through litigation, not through the gradual growth of a corporation. So, he wins on situations like negotiating with MLB over the MASN rights, but fails at simple business acumen like defering power to competent administrators or weighing loyalty to favorite players over the needs of the franchise **coughBradycough**.

It especially hurts when you have to be naturally compared to the Ravens front office, which one of the top 5 most competent front offices in the NFL.

I loved Brady when he was playing but I'm still mad at him for striking out on that ridiculously high fastball for the last out of Cal's last game with Cal on deck.

I agree with BA's thoughts about PA being willing to spend money and loyality and caring for players he favors, but unfortunately it is not our actions that are ultimately judged, just the results. Angelos's results have been for the most part as it relates to wins and losses are poor. I always liked Anderson and admire his loyalty but sometimes loyalty gone to extreme can be blinding. I wonder if Brady would have a different opinion if he was on the "most favored players list"

Pete- I think all that deca-durabolin is effecting Brady's brain .
Word to Pete , you can't buy that at your local GNC !

To Harrisbburg Bob,

Get your O's facts in order before you rant. Gillick wanted prospects for Bobby Bo and over weight David Wells, whom were both gone the next year. That is the way you your supposed to build a club. Not second guess your GM. Secondly, look at the GMs and Managers we've had since. none compare. Look at the depletion of the farm system, which Gillick saw afar off. Get it right!

angelos as owner meddled with the baseball side of the business. a smart owner hires capable people with expertise in their respected area of and lets them do their job. for years angelos didn't. he hired pat gillick a very successful gm and didn't allow gillick to do his job. gillick wanted to trade wells and bonilla because angelos as well as jacobs and eb williams before him neglected the farm system and the orioles had no depth in their organization. angelos said no trade the team made the playoffs which made angelos think he knew everything.. so in the short term the team did ok but in the long term the team suffered. angelos like ebw would go out and sign overpriced overaged free agents looking for the quick fix. quick fixes rarely work. the fact that angelos gives to charity says something good about the person but not the owner. the fact that angelos cared about eric davis is the same thing . good person but that doesn't mean you're a good owner as far as producing a good product year in and year out. the bottom line for years angelos was not a good owner but at least give him credit the last couple of years by hiring macphail and letting andy do his job. the improvement in the orioles overall organization is considerable almost amazing compared to the last 25 years. if nagelos was a successful electrical contractor who bought a law firm do you think he would meddle with the legal side of the frm? if he would the law firm would be selling it's furniture and copying machnes. because you're successful in one arena where you have expertise doesn't mean you're going to be successful an another arena where you have no expertise. by the way does anyone think brady used steriods. he broke frank robinson's record for most home runs by an orioke in one season. what is wrong with that picture?

Pete,

I'm not a lawyer, nor did I sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but Peter Angelos is indefensible! He spent some dumb money unwisely. I find it odd that Brady Anderson was the one that spoke out since the last thing I heard about him was that his name was being dragged in the Steroid discussion. My advice to Brady...........LAY LOW!

Pete,

GNC, OMG soooooo naive! You are so funny!

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: No, not at all, but did you know there was another player who had a season like that. He averaged just 19.4 homers per year during his 12-year career, except for the year he hit 61. I wonder what that guy was taking.

Pete's reply: No, not at all, but did you know there was another player who had a season like that. He averaged just 19.4 homers per year during his 12-year career, except for the year he hit 61. I wonder what that guy was taking.

************
Peter:

I enjoy reading your blog, great insights. However, I have to take exception to your comparison of Maris to Brady. In a five season span (60-64), Maris hit 39, 61, 33, 23, and 26 HR's. Oh, and BTW, won back to back AL MVP awards in 60 and 61 (a lot of people forget that about Maris, and only remember 61 HR in 1961), playing on a powerhouse Yankee team with several future HOF'ers (Mantle, Berra).

In a six season span (1995-2000), Brady hit 16, 50, 18, 18, 24, and 19 HR's. I'm no math major, but something tells me Maris' standard deviation was a good bit lower than Brady's.

Regardless, the whole issue is moot. We will probably never know the whole truth about the steriods era, who did or didn't do what. It was what it was, a moment in time.

Brady was a good ballplayer for many years, honestly enjoyed watching him defensively and on the bases more than as a "slugger". He's entitled to his opinion, good for him, hope he's enjoying all the $$$ Angelos paid him over the years.

I grew up watching great O's teams, and am looking forward to the days (hopefully soon) when we'll see them back in playoff contention every year. The last 20 couple years, except for a few, have really blown.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Definitely no comparison, but I was countering the logic that one good home run season is proof of steroid abuse. I don't know what Brady did or didn't do, but I'd like to know why he went from 50 back to 18. They didn't start testing for steroids for another seven years after that, so why didn't he hit 35 or 40 the next year if he was cheating? Again, I have the same suspicions as everybody else, but I need more than that to cast aside somebody's accomplishments.

Pete,

As we digress to joke about PEDs, I actually have a serious question. Why is it that the Commisioner is so adamant about excluding Manny, but has remained silent on AROID? Seriously, I'd like to see them all banned for life on a first offense, and excluded from the HOF, but in this instance, he publicly admitted to taking steroids and the Commish is silent?


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Bud has to stay off that because he promised no penalties for the 2003 survey testing, which is how ARod was exposed. I don't think it will look good for Manny to play in the All-Star Game, but he will have paid the penalty prescribed by the drug testing plan so I don't know how you stop him.

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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