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.