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October 27, 2009

Phony controversy

It's a petty little tempest in a teapot, but I still have to respond to the post-Brooks-bash "controversy" over how many current Orioles showed up at last night's event at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. There were 1,500 people there, including myself, and there were at least a dozen people who were definitely in attendance that I looked for and never saw, so I couldn't say with certainty who was or wasn't there.

Frankly, I think it's terribly disrespectful to Brooks to shift the focus from his great night to some opportunistic Orioles axe-grinding. I didn't see any current O's there, but I didn't see any current Ravens there either (doesn't mean there weren't any, just that I didn't see one), and -- if we're going to get technical about this -- doesn't Brooks transcend baseball as one of the most important sports figures in the history of Baltimore?

Of course he does. That's why Sandy Unitas was the one who convinced him to take part and that's why there were a bunch of former Colts -- Art Donovan, Tom Matte and Bruce Laird, to name a few -- in attendance. So, I guess if you're going to rip the Orioles, who were one of the principle sponsors of the event, you've got to take a shot at the Ravens, too, for not having a particularly visible presence. Except that you don't have to take a shot at anyone, because it wasn't about that, and making it about that distracts attention from what a terrific and touching evening it was.

By the way, to be fair, the place was full of Orioles and MASN employees, so the notion that Brooks was being ignored by the current organization is ridiculous. I'm pretty sure the Ravens were also supportive, but if your priority on Brooks' special night was to take roll of who was and wasn't there, I guess you've got to count everybody. Open question: Were there any current Blast players present?

And one more thing, to compare this to the Elrod Hendricks funeral is just plain wrong. The criticism of the current Orioles roster at the time -- which was represented at the memorial only by Melvin Mora -- was legitimate, because Elrod was a major figure in the Orioles clubhouse and a friend to every one of those guys.

The "Evening with Brooks" was a trip down memory lane for all of the long-time Baltimore fans and sports figures, so I don't know if you can expect the players who don't have any personal or nostalgic link to Brooks to fly across country just to be seen.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 2:05 PM | | Comments (69)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Pete , I just commented on this subject in your earlier blog . Now that you're addressing the topic , I comment again . Over the years I've tended to agree with you on most subjects , maybe mildly disagreed on others . However ,.... I strongly disagree with you calling this a "phoney controversy."
I'll not rewrite my comment from another post , but the gist is that (in this case) you come off as an apologist for the players lack of Baltimore pride .
I don't look at this topic as something taking away from Brooks' night . I feel that he deserved more !

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Pete's reply: Fair enough. Wish you had stopped by to say Hi last night. I did get a chance to hang around and talk to several people who post here. Important note: I don't care if I come off as an apologist for the Orioles or their biggest critic -- which has happened many times on both ends of the spectrum. My opinion is just my opinion.

I have very little to say except thank you. You hit the nail on the head.

I would like to ask...what exactly would an Oriole player have added to the evening? What is it that people were hoping for from them? If anything I think their visible presence subtracts from the event and its focus. This evening was about Brooks and all he's done for Baltimore. What are current players supposed to do?

I used to think it was worthwhile to take the time to rebut The Small Miserable One.

But then it dawned on me that it's more effective to simply ignore him. Sort of like the homeless guy, babbling to himself as he ambles down the street.

Or the goth teenager who pierces his cheeks and paints his hair green.

When you respond to him you give him the attention he so desperately craves.

Better to ignore it and hope he grows up - or receives professional help.

After all, if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it...

Nestor was right, all the kool aid drinkers and Angelos defenders have come running to defend the indefensible. Not a surprise. Nestor points out again what a joke the O's are and since nobody can dispute the point they attack the messanger. Schmuck seems like he's auditioning for Jimmyville or MASN when the Sun goes belly-up.


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Pete's reply: If you think it was right to sully Brookie's evening, I really don't care what you think.

Pete,
Was anyone there representing ownership? MacPhail is Basesball Operations.


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Pete's reply: I don't know for sure. I wasn't taking roll. But saying that baseball operations is not ownership is making a distinction without a real difference. Traditionally, the club president or GM represents the ownership at various events.

How about viewing this topic from the perspective of the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders. Ask any recent player, coach or fan of those franchises and they'll tell you that any chance of current success is being suffocated by the ghosts of past glories. Those organizations are so tied to their past that the current players and coaches can't step out of the shadows of Jim Brown, Ken Stabler, etc. so their respect for the past is doing them more harm than good.

At this point, the Orioles -- and their fans -- need to recognize their modern condition and worry more about competing in a small market in the same division as the Yanks and Bosox and less about making sure their pimply-faced Baby Birds bow at the feet of Brooksie.

The Ravens had the luxury of a clean slate but they really did perfectly balance honoring the old Colts with forging their own identity. Like I said, it's a little easier when you have a new name, uniforms and (after 2 years) a new stadium, but nevertheless, they played it well.

Hey Eric, thanks for reminding us all what type of individual listens to, and supports, Nestor. Just another moron who can't see that the no-talent ass-clown is just looking for attention, and nobody with even half a brain takes him seriously. You must park your car in front of the house that he calls a station so you can actually hear him. By the way, let us know if Nestor has detached his mouth from Billick's jock. He's drinking something, but it ain't Kool Aid.

I like WNST on the whole. I like the other local sports stations on the whole, too. I draw a more specific line when comparing specific talking heads. The buttons on my radio work wonderfully.

I am sympathetic towards the unjust treatment WNST gets by the Orioles.

I am far from an Angelos apologist or defender. I'm not even sure what a Kool-Aid drinker is but I reject the name-calling Nestor does and people like eric (above) do.

Peter Schmuck doesn't need my defending, but anyone with the ability to read can see the Elrod Hendricks controversy was addressed by Peter as being wrong on the Oriole side.

It is Peter's opinion this event (or situation) is totally different. I happen to agree with it. Calling us names is not a counter-argument. Making it a four-hour show or a reason to bring up other transgressions doesn't impress me either. It only weakens my resolve to defend those other transgressions when they do have merit.

The Orioles finished their season a little over 3 weeks ago. For the previous 8 months, they have lived out of suitcases through spring training and the regular season. None of them want to travel unless it's for a very long vacation.

Moron Detector, can I just call you moron? :-)
You make a lot of sense...

I saw Chris Hoiles signing autographs and taking pictures with a ton of people. He was so kind and patient to everyone that approcahed him. I have no idea who else was there because they secluded themselves. No BJ, no Dempsey, no current players. But it was GREAT to see Hoiles and Ripken honor an amazing man!

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Pete's reply: I agree about Brooks, but I don't think it's fair to pick out individuals at random and call them out for not being there. Everybody has obligations and has to make tough choices sometimes.

In reply to Eric's comments about Nester, why don't you ask where he was last night? I happen to know. He was MC-ing the Ravens charity halloween party at the Dave and Busters in Arundel Mills. There were several Ravens players there too. So first, Nestor should shove his shoe in his mouth and do us all a favor and shut up, two, many Ravens players (Maston, Clayton, Oher, and about 10 others) were also at said event so they couldn't attend the Brooks event. Just want to put that out there.

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Pete's reply: Dave, Nestor was at the Brooks event. I talked to him there. I don't know if he stayed for the whole thing, but he was there at the start.

On the eve of the world series i couldn't help notice how many people want the yankee's to lose. I myself are hoping they win but not for the obvious reason.I want them to win not because i am a fan but because after spending countless of millions on salaries the last 6 years they always fell short of there goal. However last off season the owner said enough is enough and went to any lengths to win. While other teams are incapable of doing it that way, the structure of baseball allows them to persue there goals in that fashion. I have preached all year that this process will never allow the orioles to finish any higher then 3rd in this divison , but despite that i must give the yankee's , boston and any the other higher salaries teams tons of credit for always playing very hard and playing the game the right way even with there star players making huge amounts of money. I have been some what nostalgic in my last couple of postings only because i can't help think where we once were as a organization compared to where we are now as a organization, and honoring brooks last night helped me remember.The majority of fans posting on here including the owner of the blog are completely satisfied with the direction of this team. But being satisfied has different meaning to some of us.
1. When camden yards first opened and for the longest time after the only way you could get a ticket to the big games was to have some real connections, now the only way is to ask Boston and Yankee fans if they have any spares.
2. The usual way a manager is retained is to produce over a period of time, but this team only reguires there manager to be able to nurture and coddle the players. BOY HOW THE DYNAMICS OF THE GAME HAVE CHANGED.
3.Fans have always said that Peter A interfered way to much in the day to day operations of the team especially with the firing of davey Johnson,and not retaining Pat Gillick as GM. I must admit i was guilty as charged in feeling that way for the longest time,however now that Peter A has turned into a total recluse i now know that his total absense has allowed for the elimination of accountability something that can't be good.
But like i said before being satisfied is different for everybody you only need to figure out where you stand on the subject.

Peter, I am in total agreement. I agree with that other guy the majority of time, but in this instance I think he's off 3rd base. I do not know who attended, but if MacFail was there then he represented the Orioles. In my mind, that means the organization did support Brooksie (regardless of how feebly). It certainly would have been nice to have some current players there, and any individual certainly has the right to interpret the no-shows any way they like, but I can't fault the organization on this one. I can't comment on the organization's level of support simply because I do not know the extent. It wouldn't have hurt for them to have made a significant impression (if, in fact, they didn't).

" Dave " , I'm not trying to stir the pot more , while I can't speak for Nestor , commenting on Ravens players attending a baseball function ( local hero or not ) seems to be apples and oranges :

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Pete's reply: I don't think it is. There were all sorts of former Baltimore football players there. I don't think it's an issue either way, but Brooks is more than a baseball player in this town, so if you're going to call out the current O's, you should probably call out everybody else who makes a living playing sports around here.

A lot of times the current players just plain don't know who the past stars are. I remember hearing Rich Ashburn tell a story about a conversation he had with Mariano Duncan when Duncan was on the Phillies. Of course, Ashburn was not just a Phillies broadcaster; he was a Hall of Famer and his uniform number was retired and on display at the Phillies' ballpark. Anyway, before a game one time, Ashburn and Duncan were talking about hitting and Ashburn said something to the effect of "When I used to play..." and Duncan said, quite seriously, "You used to play, Whitey? I didn't know you played!"
To which Ashburn responded, "Didn't you ever wonder WHY there's that big banner in centerfield with my name and number on it?"
It seems like players generally fall into one of two categories: they either have a deep love for/knowledge of/appreciation for the history and tradition and past greats of the game and their team in particular, or, like Duncan, they are totally clueless and just don't care, even about the greats who played on their own team.
Unless a kid grew up within the gravitational pull of Baltimore, they can't really know what a big deal a player like Brooks is and will always be to those of us who grew up with him as THE third baseman. The Orioles and their traditions and past greats will probably always mean more to us fans than they ever will to any new players who come along. And I'd guess that that's probably true of any team, any players nowadays. It's not just an Orioles thing. Certainly I don't think it was meant as a "snub of Brooks."
I don't know Brooks Robinson, but I'd bet that we're all getting a little bit more upset about this than he would.

Peter
Again a very informative blog(s). I have one
question and one comment:
For all of us Brooks fans was this event
recorded for posterity?
Now for the Peter Angelos scenerio: I think
maybe Brooks and Peter A. are total and
complete opposites. I really don't think his
name (Peter Angelos) will ever be on any-
one's "Nice Guy List". Also he can't even
spell accountability.
My biggest fear as an Oriole fan is when
the 2 sons of entitlement take over.
Always enjoy your work.


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Pete's reply: I believe the event was filmed, but I don't know if and when it will be broadcast.

Peter: If you want to take a shot at me, feel free to do so "by name."

And if you think that "Orioles and MASN employees" being there buys the entire roster and coaching staff a "hall pass" then you have -- like the franchise and its apologists -- lowered the bar so far that fourth place or a .500 record is considered "successful."

I stand behind EVERYTHING I've ever said or done regarding the Orioles.

But you can continue to apologize for them if you like...

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Pete's reply: Nestor, there are 364 other days this year to criticize the Orioles, but upstaging Brooks was the wrong thing to do. That night was supposed to be about him. You made it about you. I think that was wrong and called you on it. Like you often tell me after ripping me on the radio, it's not personal and I hope we can still be friends.

Nestor , re: that FB post . That's Dr. Vinnie Boom Botz . Located @ the Slausen cut-off .

Peter, I respect your opinion but I gotta side w/ Nestor on this one. There have been rumbles for years of the tension between the current ownership and Brooks.
This is just a slap in the face of the original Mr Oriole. I'm sure it was a fine celebration for Brooks, but there is a thing called respect, and not having one current Oriole there is attendance is plain wrong.


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Pete's reply: I know all about the rift, but the Orioles helped put on this show. Nobody seems to be focused on that. It's not hard to find reasons to criticize the Orioles, but this seems like a real stretch to me.



I'd agree with you on its lack of significance. I do think it illustrates the fact that Brooks never really felt welcomed under Angelos ownership and since he is never (rarely?) around the team, the current players don't know him or have any association with him.

The less Nestor is mentioned the better. He will say or associate himself with whatever gets him money, attention or the ability to rub shoulders with players. He is the ultimate brown noser.

Good post today, Peter. Perhaps though we need to ignore the folks who start these silly rumors. I sincerely doubt Brooks was looking around the room wondering where a BRob or Markakis, or even Trembley was.

It was a good time for those in attendance, and if Brooks enjoyed himself, that should be all that matters.

For others not there to speak about Current Oriole no-shows are just being hypocritical, and are making a this into a story because they need to do it for their own ego.

Pete -

Was the ceremony invitation only? Could that've been the reason that no current Oriole showed up?

Also, and to not to put down Brooks in any way, but for a guy who has nothing to do with the current franchise, does it really make a difference if none of the current O's showed up? He has no connection with any present Oriole. So I don't see what difference it made.

There's no reason to reach out if the person doesn't reach back. He obviously doesn't care. And if he did, all he has to do is make a phonecall show up to the clubhouse. Let it be. It wasn't meant to be an asskissing event

As soon as I saw this topic right after it was posted earlier this afternoon - before there were any responses showing - I knew what was going to follow, given the impression one gets of the various personalities of some of the bloggers.

I think Peter S. is right; whether or not any current Oriole player came to Brooks' evening should be a non-issue. (Boy, some folks get carried away sometimes with things they dub as 'slaps' or whatever.) Any rift between the club and Brooks is almost certainly the front office's (i.e. the owner's) fault, but let's not get carried away with what we dub as 'obligations' or whatever. If I had attended, the current players would have been the very last group of people I would have looked for.

There's certainly stuff to dislike about today's players, and Peter Angelos (and other front office inhibitors since 1994) are definitely the worst thing that's ever happened to the club. But as I wrote once in the summer, if Nestor Aparicio (and some of his supporters) think they are 'the good fighting the evil', then they are the ones who are really, REALLY sipping kool-aid; they're just one band of bad quarreling with another band of bad!! (My apologies, Peter S., for my own name-calling.)

Nestor, Stop thinking it was all about you. There were a ton of posters that broight it up. I am not thrilled that the Angelos family did not attend, but at the same time who cares. Fact is it was a night for Brooks, and maybe Angelos wanted him to have a night without the politics involved.

Pete, I respectfully disagree. To compare the Ravens in the middle of the season is different than the vacationing O's. Matuse and Wieters signed one of the bats so they knew the show was on. Melvin was so interested in being #3 in games at third that we couldn't see enough of Justin Turner and he is a drive away. Does Nick know whom to thank for his fat wallet? He could have made an appearance representing all current players. It is very sad that majorleaguers don't know about their sports superstars of the past. Do the O's ever walk past the numbers out front of the yards? Do they think it is stonehenge? Just think someone should have connected the old with the new. Maybe it would stir some thought about the joy of WINNNG.

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Pete's reply: My understanding is that Nick is on his honeymoon, which had to be postponed last year. Let's be a little bit fair here. These guys have been traveling every week for eight months and have been home for a couple of weeks.

God, You know, I knew that Nestor had something to do with this.

Don't worry Pete - if you hadn't said anything, no one would have even known he said it.

Although given the little that I know about the situation, it was probably _better_ that no Angelos was there, I still feel that at least those current Oriole players who live in the community should have shown up without even being prompted.
It's admittedly the off-season, so it's OK with me if you don't want to fly across the country to make an appearance - but don't Markakis (and Mora - isn't he still an Oriole, at least for now?) live here in town?
I grew up with Brooks and the rest of the 60's/70's Orioles, but I understand that times are different now and that today's players don't connect with their local communities to the same extent. But if you've _already_ committed to living here and becoming part of the community, it seems especially short-sighted to pass up the opportunity to help honor the community's most beloved Oriole of all time. If I was Nick Markakis, I'd not only have wanted to show up, I'd have asked to be part of the actual program.

You make several good points. The Orioles certainly haven't been perfect over the years, but Nestor's unwarranted shots at the Orioles are completely out of line and as you pointed out, was an unneeded distraction/news story from what I heard was a wonderful event last night.

That guy really needs to get over himself.

Pete--Yes, you are correct. It is a phony controversy. Brooks and Frank are our greatest Orioles. We celebrate them.

In my alternate universe, I picked the Angels to win it all. In my preseason picks sheet, I selected the Twins to win it all.

OK.

Here's my final shot: Phils over the Yanks in 6 games. Jayson Werth wins the World Series MVP.

Pete, I think you have it half right. It is true that the focus of the event (I Attended, wonderful!) was the charity and honoring Brooks, not the current woeful state of the team. And it's also unfortunate to distract attention from the event with this issue. BUT...once again the O's blow a chance to show they are changed. A strong show of support would have shown me that they really are thinking differently. Instead, the same old crap. They consistently miss opportunities like this. If they are going to continue to field losing teams, can't they at least throw us a bone and act like they care? The marketing department there should have been all over this event and they weren't. Shameful and incompetent.

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Pete's reply: Ray, the marketing/community relations department helped put on the event, which was a huge success. Let's keep this in perspective.

There is not any reason for controversy on this matter. No Orioles from the 2009 team showed up at the event. There are a couple of reasons for this. Most players do not care about their team's history. Baseball has always been the game which honered its history moreso than the other professional leagues, but actions on and off the field in recent years have ruined that aspect of the game. Most players do not live in the Baltimore area once the season ends, and in Baltimore, our season ends quicker than some other teams' seasons. Melvin Mora, perhaps the Oriole most likely to appear, is an Oriole-in-limbo, and may not feel comfortable in a public venue right now, or, perhaps, Melvin might be playing in Venezuela.

This city is blessed to have enjoyed the on-field talents, and off-field humility and humanity of Brooks Robinson and Johnny Unitas. All of the young posters who point out the current Orioles have no connection with or obligation to pay homage to the greatest Oriole of them all are 100% correct. None of them will ever be in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, be on four World Series teams, be voted the third baseman on the All-Century team, or be revered like Brooks. The current O's players, manager and owner are L-O-S-E-R-S, on and off the field, just like Brooks was a winner, on and off the field. How could anyone expect this current bunch of overpaid underachievers be able to identify with one of the greatest underpaid overachievers of all time?

Re: your comment to me Pete - "Fair enough ."

Hey Nestor...Napoleon Bonaparte called. He said he'd like his over-inflated sense of self-importance back.

BTW...How many of the illiterate, ill-educated, jealous young posters on this forum that revel in attacking Nestor Aparicio own a radio station? That's what I thought.
Nestor can say and do what he wants. When YOU own a station, you can, too. In the meantime, learn to spell. Master fundamental grammar. Get a grip and get a life.
Or, when you're employed as a sportswriter for a metropolitan newspaper, even one like the Sun that's sinking (or slinking) slowly in the West, pun intended, you can put your opinion out for public consumption. P.S. - Sorry, Pete, you're wrong on this one.

To the Losers,

This is simple......

Those in the O's organization, from ownership to management to players, didn't deserve to be there last night.

Brooks represented everything that was once right with Baltimore baseball - Integrity, Professionalism and Winning!

Today's organization on the other hand represents one thing - Losing!

Posters who stand up for the current O's organization are embarrassing and represent the same type of loser mentality that has overtaken this once proud team for over a decade.

Thanks for a wonderful evening Brooks, and thanks for reminding us that Baltimore baseball was once something to be proud of....

Pete, I've got to disagree on this one. I'm surprised at how many people--yourself included--just aren't getting this. A "petty little tempest in a teapot"? Are you kidding?!

This is all about continuity with the glory days of this franchise. What's so hard to understand about that? All this marketing hype from the front office and Trembley about getting back to the Oriole Way, but when a player who personifies that way as well as anyone in team history is honored, no one shows up?

I mean we know that Brooks has had to defuse all the talk about how he and Angelos don't get along. This would have been a perfect opportunity to show how untrue were those stories of a rift. But no, not one person from the current Orioles was up there with him showing how connected the various generations of O's really are and how much the present regime appreciates his legacy and what he means to all things Baltimore baseball even to this day.

Yes, representation from the Ravens would have been good too, Pete, but it's not the same and you know it. The O's of various generations are family in a way that the Ravens (or Colts, for that matter) simply are not, however much city-related bonding may go on.

Today's Orioles are the ones who
are supposed to be on the verge of restoring pride to a long-languishing franchise and pride to a (too) long-suffering fan base. If ever there was a moment for them to reestablish a strong connection with O's tradition, the Brooks get-together was the ideal event for them to make that connection and their failure to take advantage of the opportunity was as inexcusable as B-Rob and Markakis allowing a pop-up to fall safely between them.

There will be other opportunities, of course, and I really hope the Orioles realize that this was a sin of omission and take every step to rectify it in the future. And I hope you see that you're not doing them any favors by trying to defend the indefensible.

I know that wasn't your intention and you want to see the team flourish as we all do, but trivializing this problem and vilifying those of us who speak out for Oriole tradition isn't going to help; rather, it allows the front office to continue making the sort of wrong choices that have been alienating fans for over a decade and think that it's justified in continuing it's rupture with the team's past. Not a good thing.

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Pete's reply: Maybe so, but if Peter Angelos and his sons had shown up, the event would have suddenly become about something other than honoring Brooks. I'm sure Angelos knew that, and -- whether you like him or hate him -- he's a proper guy who would recognize that he would be a distraction.

BA Ray:

You attended the event, but failed to notice that the Orioles were the presenting sponsor along with Crown? Did you not see the dozens of club offocials who were in attendance? Sad that your own failure to open your eyes leads you to think the team did something wrong.

Pete,

The simple fact is some member(s) of the Orioles HAD TO BE THERE. How do build a future when you refuse to respect the past. Brooks is a Hall of Famer, not a ham and egger.

When and if any of these last place players makes the Hall of Fame, should Brooks attend or simply not bother?

Pete,

The simple fact is some member(s) of the Orioles HAD TO BE THERE. How do build a future when you refuse to respect the past. Brooks is a Hall of Famer, not a ham and egger.

When and if any of these last place players makes the Hall of Fame, should Brooks attend or simply not bother?

Yeah why would any of the current Orioles or management want to be associated with something called winning or showing some class. I know these guys are vacationing but Brooks and others paved the way for their sorry butts to make millions. Would have loved to hear Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis were in attendance. Winning starts with leadership and attitude and the O's are poor in that area imo. Sorry Peter, it's hard to separate anything the O's do with 12 straight losing seasons. We don't even get the false bravado of Angelos guaranteeing a winning season anymore. Can you blame us for the hate ?

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Pete's reply: Once again, I will repeat, there were all sorts of Orioles management employees there, and the Orioles were one of the TWO MAJOR SPONSORS for the event. There's plenty to criticize the O's for, but stiffing Brooks this week is not one of them.

Comparing the players who missed Elrod's funeral and the players who didn't attend the event for Brooks, is night and day, as every player should have been there for Elrod, but only Melvin showed class. I do agree with a lot of the posters especially the great post by BA Ray, in that it would have shown a change of attitude and direction.

I am curious if anyone thinks Jeter would've missed an event that honored a Yankee great? I think he would have been there, no question. I feel that the guys who are supposed to be leaders and who keep talking about taking on a leadership role like Nick and Brian, should be there to show that we didn't play with Brooks, but we are all Orioles, past and present.

I've said this before, but just like I feel the organization doesn't do a great job of honoring the all time Oriole greats, the current players don't seem to care much either. I've heard how former Sox greats, felt like they were part of the two championship teams this decade because of how the organization made their accomplishments important and the current players wanted them to be a part of it for all they sacrificed. Unfortunately, we wont have to worry about this, but if the O's won the title in 2010 other than Palmer and Dempsey because of their work in the booth and Cal with his camps and minor league teams, I don't think any of the old Oriole greats would feel they are an important part of the Orioles community which is sad and pathetic.

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Pete's reply: I'm pretty sure Derek Jeter has missed a lot of events that honored Yankee greats.

Who's Nestor?

Pete's reply: If you think it was right to sully Brookie's evening, I really don't care what you think.


Pete
You said more in that sentence and got the essence of Brooksie better than I have ever seen done before.

Nice Job!

Pete, I think a quick follow-up to my last post is necessary. First, I wasn't criticizing just to slam the Orioles, as I think any careful reading of my comments show. This was just about the team doing what was right.

For all I know, perhaps the communication between the team and event organizers wasn't as good as it should have been, though it's hardly as though the gathering was a secret.

But if contact was made in a reasonably prompt fashion and the club was formally invited to have someone present (which the organizers certainly should have done), then in my mind it has a certain obligation to Oriole tradition to make sure that it is publicly represented in some way.

Second, you mention that the players have no "personal or nostalgic link to Brooks," so they can't be expected to fly across the country for the event. But they have a link that binds them and that's the Baltimore Orioles.

Trash the New York Yankees all you want, but there's a team that respects it's past. I could cite numerous examples to show that such a thing wouldn't happen in the Bronx. Could someone throw an event for Yogi Berra without current Yankees like Derek Jeter showing up. Impossible! Just doesn't happen.

In New York no one needs to excuse away the painfully obvious absence of younger ballplayers from such an event with a line like them not having a "personal or nostalgic link to Yogi." That just wouldn't fly up there and it shouldn't fly in Baltimore either.

So, while no there's perhaps no absolute obligation for this generation's Oriole players to appear at an event honoring Mr. Oriole himself, it sure doesn't look very good.

Honestly, though, is it a hardship for a player to hop on a plane and stay in Baltimore for the night? Wouldn't kill them, would it?

Melvin Mora doesn't even need to come very far and he does have a certain real (if slight) bond with Brooksie.

Still, it didn't need to be a player representing the team. Peter Angelos, Andy MacPhail or someone else from the front office would have served just as well in that capacity. Bottom line: Someone's got to be there, because this is about leaping Oriole tradition alive.

Otherwise what we're going to witness in the not too distant future are youngsters being told by their parents that Brooks Robinson was a great old time Oriole, one of the greatest, only to hear them ask why, if he was so great, didn't anyone from today's Orioles bother to show up in honor of him.

Regardless of how the parent answers, the child will come away with the idea that Brooks wasn't so great, because none of today's O's seem to care about him. My suggestion to the O's front office: If you don't want to ruin your fan base forever, you need to connect with the great Oriole tradition and not appear to be "dissing" the player who in many ways defines that tradition.

Comparing the players who missed Elrod's funeral and the players who didn't attend the event for Brooks, is night and day, as every player should have been there for Elrod, but only Melvin showed class. I do agree with a lot of the posters especially the great post by BA Ray, in that it would have shown a change of attitude and direction.

I am curious if anyone thinks Jeter would've missed an event that honored a Yankee great? I think he would have been there, no question. I feel that the guys who are supposed to be leaders and who keep talking about taking on a leadership role like Nick and Brian, should be there to show that we didn't play with Brooks, but we are all Orioles, past and present.

I've said this before, but just like I feel the organization doesn't do a great job of honoring the all time Oriole greats, the current players don't seem to care much either. I've heard how former Sox greats, felt like they were part of the two championship teams this decade because of how the organization made their accomplishments important and the current players wanted them to be a part of it for all they sacrificed. Unfortunately, we wont have to worry about this, but if the O's won the title in 2010 other than Palmer and Dempsey because of their work in the booth and Cal with his camps and minor league teams, I don't think any of the old Oriole greats would feel they are an important part of the Orioles community which is sad and pathetic.

For God's sake, all anybody in this town seems to care about is worshipping heroes from the past. Let me ask you this: if Brian Roberts had a "I (HEART) BROOKSIE" bumper sticker on his BMW, would the 12 straight losing seasons be easier to take?

I for one lose a lot more sleep worrying if we'll ever see postseason baseball in this town than if Oriole Hall of Famers are being treated with enough respect by the current players.

I wish Baltimoreans/Oriole fans had the same passion for the current on-the-field product as they do for nostalgia. If they did, maybe Yankees and Red Sox fans wouldn't constantly take over Camden Yards.

This has NOTHING to do with the Ravens, PERIOD. There should have been at least a few Orioles there.

The Ravens are winners, the Orioles losers, they should be doing anything and everything to keep from tarnishing their past, awful present and very likely failure of a future.

This is about Brooks, not John Unitas.

Sorry Peter, regardless I still think it was a disgrace that no current Orioles players were in attendance. Brooks IS the face of the Orioles franchise. I bet if this were a former Yankee great, there would be current Yankees players in attendance. Lenny Moore, Art Donovan were able to show up but no one from the Orioles? Last I saw Donovan he was using a walker to get around and at his age he was able to show up for Brooks but none of the current players were? It is a disgrace. What it does prove is there will never be another crop of players to match the CLASS of Brooks, Art Donovan and Lenny Moore. It was a different era, and I will say a far better era than today. God bless Brooks and all the former players, be they Brooks' fellow teammates, and the former BALTIMORE Colts that showed up. At lease they showed class; unlike the current bunch of overpaid pampered jerks.

This has NOTHING to do with the Ravens, PERIOD. There should have been at least a few Orioles there.

The Ravens are winners, the Orioles losers, they should be doing anything and everything to keep from tarnishing their past, awful present and very likely failure of a future.

This is about Brooks, not John Unitas.

Posted by: Richard | October 28, 2009 7:31 AM
______________

Trying to remember if in the long storied history of the Baltimore Orioles have they ever had a player arrested and put on trial for a double murder, then plea bargained the charge to a lesser one of obstruction of justice. No, I don't think they have. Meanwhile, the player in question is put on a pedestal by the media and "fans", while those that haven't are vilified for being losers. Go figure.

Nestor, I support you in your gripe regarding how our baseball team handles you and your employees at 'NST ... at least as how I understand it. The situation in how the team has been handled made me a critic of the Orioles to the point I no longer have season tickets. As a point of reference, I upgraded from a 29-game plan to an 81-game plan in the offseason just prior to 0-21.

Two points, however. First, Peter Schmuck is not calling you out "by name" for a very simple reason. It has NOTHING to you with you. Peter was responding to posts in his earlier blog.

It just so happens other bloggers mentioned you. And it just so happens Peter has an opinion that is opposite to your in this case.

Big effing deal.

Second, the fact you need to get on here rather than accept there are those who do not see THIS as an issue -- and I don't either -- and resort to the lowest form of noise (it's not arguing really) by calling those who disagree with you names, shows you really have a larger agenda going on and have lost all proper perspective.

That's too bad.

I will continue to listen to 'NST. If it's something I disagree with, that's fine. I personally don't have a problem with that. If it's agenda-driven and agenda-driven only, the buttons on my radio work just fine.

The sad thing is I have disagreed with Peter on different issues. I have NEVER found him to be agenda-driven or an apologist.

Oh, and standing behind everything one says is really no big deal. It may be the one area Ghandi and Hitler share in common. Announcing it, however, is a declaration of a closed mind.

Peace.

Pete-
The PLAN should be simple.
When you look at the reason for the Yanks being in it every year, sure money helps, but it really is 2 pieces.
First, Jeter. He is their leader and the O's don't and have not had that guy since Ripken left.
2nd, Mo Rivera. He doesn't get the credit he deserves as the reason Jeter has only missed the playoffs 1 time in his 14 year career. When you have a lineup where if 8 guys take the night off, and the other guy goes 4-5 with 6 rbis and the other team only has 8 innings to your 9 innings....you are going to win many games.

This brings me to my point.
If the O's were to trade, it should be to bring in a top tier proven closer. Heath Bell or Joe Nathan would be the big 2.
Then, they have to open the wallet on a high-reward guy like Rich Harden.
Harden is one of the best in the game and hopefully has his injury days behind him. At 29, he is right in his prime.

If they were to sign Delgado and Harden, then trade for Bell, THAT RIGHT THERE would give them 25 more wins.
Add that to any growth from last years rookies, and WHO KNOWS what could happen.
I just hope Macphail realizes he is going to have to overpay for the 1st few offseasons for big names until Baltimore is a decent franchise and place to come play again.

Seriously, players are going to tend to be less emotionally invested in their franchises than fans are. The Orioles have like 2 players who have been part of the team for a long time and made a choice to remain, Roberts and Mora, but don't think for a minute that Roberts wouldn't happily be a Cub if the O's didn't want to extend him and Mora's love for the team faded the second he lost playing time due to wretched play.

To most players, it's laundry. Do any fans really believe that Mike Morgan deeply cared about the history of all 12 franchises he played for? That Adam Jones would have passion for Orioles history because the Mariners traded him to Baltimore?

Seriously, most players tend to be less emotionally invested in their franchises than fans are. The Orioles have like 2 players who have been part of the team for a long time and made a choice to remain, Roberts and Mora, but don't think for a minute that Roberts wouldn't happily be a Cub if the O's didn't want to extend him and Mora's love for the team faded the second he lost playing time due to wretched play.

To most players, it's laundry. Do any fans really believe that Mike Morgan deeply cared about the history of all 12 franchises he played for? That Adam Jones would develop passion for Orioles history simply because the Mariners traded him to Baltimore and it's either play for the Orioles or quit MLB?

The Orioles may have been one of the "principal sponsors" of the event, but I think it's a bit of a stretch to call them one of the "principle sponsors" of the event.

While the present ownership has claimed "The Oriole Way" as its ethos, it has not done a very good job of honoring the exemplar of The Oriole Way, Books Robinson.

In the end this is just another missed opportunity for the Orioles to connect with people that care about them. If winning is not option to bring fans to the ballpark then you have to market the heck out of what you do have. The Orioles have a young team with potential and a great ballpark. They need to be everywhere that their potential fans are all year long. They should be on every radio and TV station. You cannot expect people to come find you at your media outlets and at your convenience. You have to reach out to them where they are.

The Orioles are easy targets these days... they're awful on the field, and have generally been awful off of it as well, though you have to notice they have sort of gotten their act together in the last 5 years. They are obviously still no where near as involved or invested in the community as the Ravens are.

They will continue to be losers on the field... Since the Orioles went to the playoffs in 1997 exactly one other team in the division, the Rays last year, have made the postseason one time other than the Sox and Yankees. No coincidence that those two teams have had the highest two payrolls in the game. One can expect that once every ten years one of the other teams will break through. So that's about one playoff appearance every 30 years. It doesn't really matter how good the Orioles baseball operations are... they really have no shot unless they are willing to spend about $150 million a year in payroll (keep in mind in '96 and '97 they were second in payroll, not very far behind the Yankees... let's not forget we bought those playoff appearances just like the Sox and Yankees are today) Baseball will be gone from Tampa and Toronto in about 5 years, and probably gone from Baltimore in about 10 if the status quo persists in the game.

A FRACTURED BALTIMORE FAIRY TALE
The Little Radio Boy Who Cried “Evil Owner”

Not long ago, by fairy tale standards, there was a wee lad from Dundalk whose street name was Little Radio Boy. Little Radio Boy dreamed of someday growing up and being hailed as the Rupert Murdoch of sports radio.

With his 30th birthday money, he purchased a used 50-watt transmitter and converted his family’s garage to a studio from which he was able to broadcast sports news to practically every house on his block. He called his station WLRB.

Little Radio Boy loved the Orioles, but he was not fond of the owner because Little Radio Boy didn’t care for anyone taller than he was -- Little Radio Boy went through life hating just about everyone.

The only tall person, not despised by Little Radio Boy, was his new, best friend Former Coach Deep Pockets; he liked Former Coach Deep Pockets, even though he was the only person with half a chance to dethrone Little Radio Boy as Long-Talking Champion of Baltimore County.

Little Radio Boy was consumed by a thought that never gave him peace: “It is up to me to defeat Evil Owner and deliver my favorite team from his grubby hands. And, when I defeat Evil Owner, I’ll become a celebrity. People will like me, everyone will talk about me, and that Schmuck and Roch, his cub reporter buddy, will write neat stuff about me.”

When Little Radio Boy moved his operation to Towson, he paid a local firm $5.081 to create a slogan to promote his station: “I never Stop Talking” was, hands-down, Little Radio Boy’s favorite.
One day, during the 2006 baseball season, Little Radio Boy hit upon the granddaddy of self-aggrandizing, promotional stunts, “It would be really cool to embarrass Evil Owner and pump up our ratings by staging a fan-walkout at Oriole Park.”

After the walkout and the stinging, negative publicity, the Orioles were held up to countrywide ridicule. Little Radio Boy surveyed the fallout, and he was very pleased, very pleased indeed.

To everyone’s amazement, a few tumultuous years later, Little Radio Boy, with the help of his guardian Bluster the Morning Man, devised another clever promotion. They hatched a nasty plan to maneuver the Orioles into a situation that would give WLRB reason to boast that WLRB could sell tickets when Evil’s people could not.

“The Orioles surely have forgotten the walkout, and Evil Owner, having no reason to distrust me, will be happy to cooperate with our promotion,” Little Radio Boy crowed, “Especially if we wrap it in a cloak of charity.”

“And, boy-o-boy, once we get our people into Oriole Park … .”

Bluster, who knew everything worth knowing, was certain that the Orioles would bend their rules to help WLRB: sell $1.00 tickets to a group, waive service charges, and increase the number of tickets allotted to be sold for $1.00.
The WLRB masterminds, sounding like Snidely Whiplash, cackled, “We will deliver a knockout blow to Evil Owner using a stealth promotion so creative and devious that Evil Owner and his evil minions will never see it coming.”

Two days later, Little Radio Boy, bursting with anticipation, jumped out of his Batmobile bed, packed his favorite lunch of a PB&J on white bread, no crust, chips, and a small Yoo-hoo. He set out from home to walk to Oriole Park to buy 1,000 tickets for his promotion, and, as usual, he sang his favorite song, “Heigh ho! Heigh ho! 
It's off to work I go!”

Along the way, he carefully avoided all the places, between his home and Oriole Park, frequented by panhandlers; he was not at all fond of street people2, and he suspected that he might be accosted by MASN employees, looking for hand-outs; surely, he told himself, those poor, intimidated, pretend-journalists were underpaid by Evil Owner.

About one o’clock, back at WLRB, Bluster the Morning Man beginning to wonder why Little Radio Boy hadn't arrived at the station with the tickets. Bluster caught the red-eye to Oriole Park to look for Little Radio Boy; he found him drying his swollen eyes with his “Free The Birds” t-shirt; the one he always wore when he strutted into the visitors clubhouse when the Yankees came to Baltimore.

"Evil Owner was here! He wouldn’t let me buy $1.00 tickets! He towered over me with his menacing red eyes, and he choked me! I cried out, ‘Owner Evil! Owner Evil!’ Why didn't anyone come to help me?"

“Geez! Little Radio Boy,” Bluster blustered. “The dude’s 80-years-old, and you couldn’t take him?!”

“Well,” sobbed Little Radio Boy, “He seemed much, much taller than I remember, and he really pressed his height advantage. Luckily, he was no match for my nimble brain -- I went limp, pretended to be unconscious, and he dropped me like a groundball hit to Wiggy.”

On their way back to WLRB, Bluster the Morning Man, who hadn’t spoken a kind word since the turn of the century, tried to comfort Little Radio Boy.

"Forget the tickets. Tomorrow, I’ll help you look for another listener,” Bluster said reassuringly. “Turn that frown upside down, and don’t forget your order that everyone must bust a smile, especially when we lie about our website getting more traffic than any other sports destination in Mob Town.”*

The diminutive mogul adjusted his car seat and chuckled to himself, “I’m so admired and universally trusted -- no one will go online to verify and analyze our Internet sports-site ranking3.

Then, Bluster, trying not to use his annoying Peter-Griffin-voice, said, "From now on, Little Radio Boy, when you engage the Evil One in single combat,”

Beware of Greeks wearing lifts!

Alas, Little Radio Boy never heard a word because he was admiring his image in his pocket-mirror.

THE END

1Time at which Nestor led walkout; a tribute to Brooks and Cal.
2Nestor authored a notorious article about his dislike of panhandlers and their effect on the pleasure of gentrification.
3On October 28th, the ranking of every web site in the u.s. listed wnst.net exactly 1,251 places behind masnsports.com, due, in large measure, to the end of the Orioles’ season and the Ravens becoming the primary focus of most fans. “You could look it up.” C. Stengel. Http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo

So, this is what 12 years of losing gets you. I really wonder what it is like to be a Cubs fan, man that's got to be tough. All this fuss about how the current team/organization should blend with the past. There's no doubt the Orioles were involved but could they have been involved a bit more, sure. Should they embrace former players into the current organization more, sure. But, this owner is clever and made one heck of a business deal with buying this team. People forget that these sports team are business investments first.
One thing is clear, there is quite a division amongst fans today when it comes to the importance of the Oriole past or the so called "Oriole way". I would guess that probably anyone over 40 places a high value on the past and the tradition and those under 40 are so tired of hearing - "how great it was".

Brooks was a great player but he was so much more than that to this community. It just doesn't work like that anymore and Brooks will be the first to tell you that.

Times have changed and the generation gaps are growing stronger each day.

You can never go back to the scene of a perfect crime.

jackdunn'sbaby -
Can't wait for the sequel .

Another missed opportunity by the team to help them change the perceived notion around town that they really don't care what people think about how they do business. If someone from their organization simply took 10 minutes to read some of these comments, they would have to come to the conclusion that people really do care how they handle their business both on and off the field. Maybe this incident would not be such a big deal if it weren't on top of countless other missteps by team management and ownership over the last bunch of years. A struggling team needs to take advantage of every opportunity afforded it to promote their enterprise and generate good will, whether they agree if they should or not. This event should have been taped for future broadcast(maybe it was, I don't know) on masn, and shown repeatedly during the off season for the multitude of people in Baltimore who love Brooks and what he meant to the community. Instead, most of us only know about it because of this controversy. Do the orioles even employ someone with an advertising degree that understands the basic concept of promotion, or do they think that 5-10 lame commercials a year, shown 25 times a game is all it takes to drum up interest? Every player should be available to every media outlet in the state, not just the stations the team owns or controls. Maybe Billy Bob who listens to wpoc would go to an occasional game because he heard Luke Scott one day on the radio and thought he was pretty cool. Maybe one of the new young guys could do the weather on channel 2 one day, and 100 young girls would love him and want to go see him play. Something, anything to get the product out there for consumption. This team does nothing and expects all of us to just love them and support them because they are the O's. Those days are over.

As Peter has said, there were O's in attendance and they helped sponsor the event big time. I have read others that were in attendance say that McPhail was there and actually spoke for a short time around the time that Palmer was speaking. I just wanted to put that out there since the issue was that no current players were in attendance but there were many in the Orioles staff such as McPhail and people from MASN.

Ryan -

Rich Harden? Seriously?

You want this team to spend $10M per on a guy who's never thrown 200 innings and hasn't even topped 150 since 2004?

Not to mention that all of his success has been either in the second best pitchers park in the game and the National League.

And Harden's last start in 2009 was on September 16th. Maybe his injury problems are over, but if they are, why did the Cubs shut him down two weeks to go?

How about this...we all agree that modern day players couldnt care less about tradition because they are drowning in dollars and have no need to care about it. Fans care more about their teams than players do and that feeling is now permeating college sports as well as pro sports. ESPN is the evil empire, not the Yankees.

The controversy is a tempest in a teapot. It does show that some fans are very confused. They seem to believe, for no discernible reason, that the current players have some emotional connection to the Oriole organization and its history. Players are hired to do a job. Each would move in a heartbeat to another team that offers more cash. Even local Baltimoreans like Texeira, a true professional athlete, goes for the gold.

Fans should accept the reality of pro sports in the current age of mulit-millionaire players. Stop living in a Disney fantasy of what sports might be in some ideal world of their construction.

Two things... who in the hell is Jack Dunn? & can we just stop the petty bickering in a blog about someone 99.9% of us think so highly of?

I don't really care did/did not show up last. The broader issue that clearly grinds on people is the that O's, for the other 364 days of this year (we'll count in advance), and for pretty much every day since Angelos has been owner, have ignored Brooks. Or at least had some sort of contentious relationship. Seems to me an event to honor Mr. Oriole was a convenient excuse to rant. It was not appropriate timing, but we see how deep a nerve it touches.

You'd figure some O's PR person would have figured that this should be fixed. I'm guessing they have and are powerless since the Brooks resistance comes from the very top of the organization.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Well, and some of the Brooks resistance comes from Brooks. He felt slighted by the O's and is not interested in forging any relationship with the team at this point. As far as some Orioles PR person doing something, I believe the Orioles sponsored the event, so I guess somebody did.

CD Coach and Others: Before you unleash on the current Os, especially Nick Markakis, please do your homework and know the facts before posting attacks on people.

For the last eight months, Markakis has lived out of a suitcase and barely seen his new wife and their one-year old son. Now that the season is over, he took his family on a long vacation and was not in the country for the event on Monday.

Also, members of the Angelos family were in attendance on 10/26; there were a number of front office staff at the event; and the Orioles were a MAJOR cash and in-kind supporter of the gala. So instead of finding fault, how about looking at all they lent to making it a great night.

Enough with the complaining. This night was about Brooks PERIOD, nothing else.

Hats off to the Babe Ruth Museum for a great event for a great person.

Ravens are in the middle of their season fighting for their lives and its not even their sport. You are comparing apples to oranges.

The Orioles are watching the world series at home...again...and showing up would have at least implied that they respect and want be like the teams Brooks played on. Maybe if the players knew who he was they would show up. Stay classy Orioles.

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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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