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August 25, 2011

Flanagan speculation serves no good purpose

Let's not do this. Let's not spend today trying to figure out things that will never be truly ascertained. Let's not trivialize the tragic death of Mike Flanagan by trying to connect some sad dots to the dismal performance of the Orioles before, during and after he was the team's executive vice president/general manager. That's not fair to him and it's shows a lack of awareness of the more complex issues that always accompany this kind of tragedy.

There were multiple unconfirmed reports -- since confirmed by Sun sources -- that Flanagan's death was a suicide, so it didn't take long for the message boards and some commentators to begin speculating about the reasons that he might take his own life. The police have yet to release an official cause of death, but that hasn't kept the public conversation from turning in a seemingly obvious direction. Flanagan supposedly was despondent after losing his dream front office job and failing -- along with everybody else -- to save the deteriorating Orioles organization.

sweeneyflanny.bmpThere's no question that Flanagan was devastated when the Orioles hired Andy MacPhail to replace him. Who wouldn't be? Long-time teammate and MASN broadcast colleague Rick Dempsey was the first to articulate that after the horrible news broke on Wednesday night, but Dempsey didn't draw any conclusion. He simply stated the fact that Flanagan had some trouble dealing with his rejection by the organization,

“I know he has gone through some tough times,’’ Dempsey said. “…I think he was very down about the GM job, but it seemed like he rallied when he got the (MASN) color job again.”

Though it's probably natural to try and find some simple explanation for such a horrible event, it doesn't serve any good purpose other than to confirm some preconceived notion that may or may not be valid.

The thing we know is that a good man is dead -- a good man who made the Orioles better as a player and tried to make them better as a front office executive. That should be how we remember him. We need to recognize that there are no easy answers. There are things we will never know and there are assumptions that we have no right to make.

I can't help but be reminded of the night in Toronto in 1989 when I heard the news that Angels relief pitcher Donnie Moore had shot himself. It was three years after he had given up the dramatic ALCS home run to Dave Henderson in 1986 that kept the Angels from locking up their first-ever trip to the World Series.

There was no question that Moore was damaged by that fateful pitch. He was booed loudly by Angels fans the following year and had just been released by the Kansas City Royals when he shot his wife and turned the gun on himself. There were all sorts of issues that contributed to his death -- both professional and personal -- but the media chose to focus on one bad split-finger fastball three years earlier. To this day, most people believe that Moore killed himself because he lost a baseball game.

I remember that night because I went down to the Angels clubhouse to get reactions from the players and veteran Brian Downing waved me and the other reporters off angrily, claiming that it was the media that was responsible for his death.

“You destroyed a man’s life over one pitch,'' Downing said. "The guy was just not the same after that."

No one could deny that Moore's life unraveled after the 1986 playoffs, but there have been plenty of dramatic moments in the history of sports and plenty of athletes who were on the wrong end of them. There were a lot of roads that led to Moore's tragic demise. Not just one.

Similarly, it's not right to look at the disappointing end of Mike Flanagan's front office career and blame it for what happened on Wednesday. We just look for easy answers when we know that we may never know the real ones.

Sun file photo by Gene Sweeney, Jr.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 10:53 AM | | Comments (118)
Categories: News of the day
        

Comments

How about I make up my own mind on how to feel?????

Thank you for this cautionary advice. Even Ed Norris went too far this morning with all his crime scene speculation.

It is my hope that when the Orioles hold a tribute before an upcoming game that Camden Yards is standing room only. That would be a meaningful tribute to the man who helped build Camden Yards. I for one will forego my boycott of Mr. Angelos to pay my respects.

"The police have yet to release an official cause of death, but that hasn't kept the public conversation from turning in a seemingly obvious direction. Flanagan supposedly was despondent after losing his dream front office job and failing -- along with everybody else -- to save the deteriorating Orioles organization."

I don't think anyone in their right mind has suggested that, and it's rather foolish to put it out there. These things are always more personal than that.

What is your reaction to Jerry Sandusky's comments?

Peter: Well said. Having had my own bouts with depression, and having a significant other who deals with similar problems, to claim one event like the O's woes was the reason for Mike taking his own life is wrong. Life is like a plate of spaghetti; you pull one strand, and many others come along with it. No person can ever fully comprehend another's mind and heart and what is particularly saddening is the fact that Mike wasn't able to find the help he clearly needed so that he might still be with us today. I'll always remember Mike as one of my favorites as, like me, he was a lefty, had that typical lefty sense of humor, unusual way of looking at things, a creative, active mind that made him such a "crafty" pitcher. My favorite memories of Mike will be that last game at Memorial Stadium that he pitched; I was there that Sunday, the O's were getting walloped by the Detroit Tigers, but you would have thought we were winning in the 7th game of the World Series. The cries went up, loud and often as the game came to its final innings, "WE WANT MIKE! WE WANT MIKE! WE WANT MIKE!" And out Flanny came and, as I recall, struck out the batters he faced. The fans went nuts and the stadium shook. It was an awesome moment. That, and how Flanny took the hill in the 1983 World Series with that huge brace on his leg, bulging through his uniform...despite his injury, he was going to take that ball and PLAY. A gutsy, give-it-his-all pitcher, Flanny always gave the proverbial "110 percent." I hope the model of play that Flanny set forth sticks with future O's players, for that's the true Oriole Way. God give you rest, Mike...And we are diminished...

a-f'n-men

Well said.

Well said, Pete.

Good post, Peter. As someone who did not know him personally, I am trying to honor Mr. Flanagan in the only way I know how: by recalling fond memories of watching him pitch at Memorial Stadium with my family and friends, some of whom are no longer with us, either.

Amen and God Bless.

I hope that had nothing to do with it......I hope he knew how much we all loved him for for the happiness he gave us.
That GM job was an impossible job for anyone and no one would ever blame him for not being to change things.

Peter,
Thanks for your thoughtful analysis, reflection and professionalism during this tragic event. I'm more than somewhat sickened by some comments and moralizing I've read since the circumstances of Flanny's death have been revealed.

It's my hope to everyone can stop and remember the great player and man that he was and hope that his loved ones can find peace. Thanks.

Flanagan's likely not the first person driven to suicide, or thoughts of it, by merely working for Peter Angelos.

Peter,

Well put. It's ok to not know everything.

Peace be to the Flanagan family. How terrible for them.

Peter, This was excellently written and wonderfully thought out. I could not have said it better myself . God Bless Mike and his family. Amen

Tell that to Sandusky.

Well said, Pete. R.I.P. Flanny.

Well said - he'll be missed.

Thank you Pete and very well said. Flanny was one of the finest players and nicest people ever to have worn the Orange and Black and we should remember him with admiration and fondness for that.

All of our prayers and thoughts should be with his Wife, his 3 girls and the rest of his family in their time of need. I am sure they will feel very blessed to have the likes of yourself and others that were much closer to Flanny in the Oriole family for support. My guess would be that what you have written is exactly what Mike's family will have wanted you to write.

Best

Patrick

I agree that there is no good reason to waste time trying to "connect the dots". I do wonder, however, why you felt the need to lay out possible reasons for Flanagan's apparent suicide in an article saying that we would be doing him and his legacy a disservice by doing just that.

Thank you. You said what I wish I could have said. I have been wondering how to tell my wife about the cause of death. Now I can just show her your post. It will explain why I refuse to speculate or even talk about this part of this tragedy. We loved you Mike. Always will.

You really are a schmuck - you start off the article by saying "Let's not do this" and then proceed do do it!! For the love of God - I am so tired of the self-serving writers and the "do as I say not as I do attitiudes"...please grab crusty Kevin Cowherd, pack all your belongings and retire immediately!

Very well written and I agree 100%!

WBAL-TV also trotting out the unnamed sources and speculation.

Why do you say "speculating about Flanagan's death serves no good purpose" and then begin to speculate? God bless him--leave him in peace.

Why do you say "speculating about Flanagan's death serves no good purpose" and then begin to speculate? God bless him--leave him in peace.

Very well said and a very appropriate statement. Probably hard for you to write. A tragedy, whatever the reason.

Well said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. As a psychiatrist I know too well the suffering that many people go through before they decide to take their own lives. It's often a very complicated situation and there is never one easy answer to explain it away. Most people who kill themselves feel enormous despair, hopelessness and helplessness. They mistakenly believe that this is the only way out of their pain, and even that those that love them might be better off without them. Only Mike Flanagan's family may know what demons were tormenting him. And even they may not know what he was thinking or why he did this. What we do know that a good man is dead and we mourn the loss for the fans, but more importantly his family. And please know, that there are better ways to relieve despair. There is help through medication and therapy to relieve suffering.

Baseball has marked the time… This field, this game, it’s a part of our past… It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again! James Earl Jones, Field of Dreams.

We want to believe, we want someone to believe in. You cannot fill us full of commercials and empty our pockets for your jerseys and tee shirts, then ask us to turn it off when times are at their darkest.

The Orioles played the quote above during the ceremonies following the final game at Memorial Stadium. I was there that Sunday afternoon and I've rarely been so emotional.

So which is it? Is it only a game, or,
is it part of our past, part of us?

Peter, This was excellently written and wonderfully thought out. I could not have said it better myself . God Bless Mike and his family. Amen

Amen, Pete.

I agree completely, Peter, and now that a statement has been released by the police, I have lost total respect for the integrity of the reporter who broke the story and used that excuse whether it may have contributed or not. Respect your fellow colleagues.

I belong to a support groupfor people who have lost loved ones to suicide, and i dont thonk im violating the confidentiality agreement when i say thatin suicide, everybody who loved the victim blames themselves despite knowing they cannot ever know thevstory. Perhaps listening to a troubled person is the most that. we can do. If suicide can open ears and hearts, other lives may be spared.

Amen! The reasons for suicide are never simple. Do not disrespect his memory by thinking that you knew someone because you watched them on TV or saw them throw a baseball.

Perfectly worded. Enough said..

Peter - I couldn't agree with you more. We will never know the last thoughts which were on his mind. Unless he left a final letter, let's leave it in the realm of the unknown. Let him rest in peace and allow his family to begin the healing.

Well said.......

You say don't speculate and trivialize but then you bring up the fact that he was devastated after losing the G.M. job and then compare him to Donnie Moore. You're obviously trying to reduce the man's depression to simple, baseball-related causes.

Nobody knows what Mike was thinking or for how long he was thinking it. If Dempsey, Singleton and yourself say he was depressed over the Orioles, isn't that probably because you guys generally only talked baseball with him?

Speculations about suicides are meaningless. Most suicides are not usually about one thing, but rather a combination of many things. Some recent and some in the distant past. That they are tragic is the only certainty. Respect to the Flanigan family is what's important.

Peter,

This is the perfect response to the misguided speculation that has been fomented by people with an ax to grind with the Orioles organization. Speculation like this not only trivializes a tragic event but it also disrespects the memory of an intelligent, sensitive and complex man. Mike deserves better.

Schmuck...that was excellent.

Couldn't agree with you more, Pete. Let's remember the good times, honor his memory, and show respect for his family by giving them their privacy. You and the other reporters/bloggers have every right to not publish anything that even hints of disrespect.

Well said, Peter.

Hail and farewell, Mike Flanagan.

Well played, Mr. Schmuck. Well played indeed sir.

Well stated Pete. As a long time Orioles fan, I'm just saddened by the situation. Circumstances causing one to go ahead and do something like that are complicated, and reasons don't really matter, its especially tough on the surviving family members, and my prayers are with them.

Classy move. You are spot on. Thank you for writing it.

Well said, Peter. Perspective is critically important at a time like this.

Excellent, spot-on comments, Pete. Thanks.

Variations of this have been said many ways, but I'll say it again: I hope he finds a peace in the next world that eluded him in this one. I think that's really all you can say, except to the family and friends that I'm truly sorry for their loss, and that this marks the end of what is more often than not an illness just as real as Cancer or ALS or anything else considered more "physical." He was the first pitcher I ever saw at Memorial Stadium, and I was there at 33rd street's closing too. Between those memories and his color commentary for the Orioles, that's what I will choose to remember.

Regardless of the issues that led Flanny to take his own life, we mourn a good man who was an asset to the Orioles organization. God Bless mike and his family and watch over them in this tragic time.

no G.M., even someone as good as Flanagan, could fix the orioles. We all know the problem lies not with Flanagan nor any other orioles G.M., but at the very top of the organization. I hope that's not what perturbed Flanagan. Rest in peace, Mike.

Everyone is speculating, Pete.

I doubt the Orioles' problems are the root of Flanagan's suicide. Hate to admit to it, but after 13 years of losing you kinda get used to it.

I doubt losing the GM job to MacPhail is the cause either. I'm sure Flanagan was despondent over it, but why wait 3 years or so to do that?

No, I would speculate it was much more personal than that. Family, health, money problems, or most likely a combination of all three is the cause.

From a competitive perspective it is hard to visualize Flanagan as a quitter.

This is, indeed, very shocking and tragic . Only the second time in my life(57yrs.) that I cried about an Oriole. Brooks' retirement was the other.
I admired Mike Flanagan for a few reasons:He had a great curveball and actually knew how to pitch. He dedicated himself to his jobs after his playing days; a good pitching coach, a knowlegible broadcastor; a time as GM that was a real no-win situation, but he perservered even though he endured a lot of criticism that was not justified. But most of all, he had a sense of humor. A quality that is missing in a large segment of society.
Back in the '90s Mike Flanagan lost his curveball, and he continued, but on a different path. In 2011, or before, Mike Flanagan lost his sense of humor, a large part of who he was, and could not go on.
God Bless You, Mike Flanagan!!

Thank you for saying this. I hate to think that this is what Flanny will be remembered for....and not for his amazing legacy as a beloved member of the Oriole Way.

Well said, Peter.

As soon as I heard of the Flanagan tragedy, Donnie Moore popped into my conscious memory.

Reaching the mental state required to take one's own life can't possibly be ever fully understood by post-mortem speculators.

Mr. Schmuck, you have yet again demonstrated why you are one of the more insightful writers the thoughts of whom we have the good fortune of reading on a regular basis.

Thank you.

Thanks Peter. You nailed it. Hopefully people will think before they speak in regards to Flanny's demise.

Condolences to all of his family and friends.
No matter what the circumstances, behind Flanny's actions....he will be missed. I'm sure there will be all kinds of second guessing, from those who were truly closest to him. Sometimes there is just no answer, much less an easy answer for life's hardest questions.
He was a class act, and even though an ending such as this is shocking.....it won't change my opinion of the man. May he finally be able to Rest in Peace.

Flanagan's death is tragic and so unneccessary. I don't feel sorry for him. I hurt for his wife and kids, who should never have had to deal with this..
Here is a guy that had a life that most of us could only dream of having and he was STILL in a great job, color commentator for the Birds and MASN. Not to mention the generous pension fron the major leagues.
The news sources said he was despondent over financial problems. Who doesn't have them these days? And a lot more than he had, I'm sure. Professional sports coddles their athletes, showers them with big bucks and benefits , but never teaches them how to manage financially and how to handle success, something the rest of us have to learn as we go. Somehow , I'm glad I had to really work for what I had. That way, when adversity strikes, I know better than to go out back and blow my brains out with apparently no regard for my family and how this will affect them.

Amen.

Thank you Peter Schmuck for standing up and producing one of the best pieces you have ever written. I am glad you are doing the right thing when so many bloggers have turned on him because of the cause of death. No one knows why Flanagan killed himself and it was probably not just one thing but a culmination of many things. Just like a person who answers, "Oh, nothing" to the question, "What is wrong?" or gives some other trivial reason for their depressed state. His wife may not even now the real reasons. Sometimes people allow so many things to build up that everything seems bad and before you know it they are so depressed, they feel so overwhelmed, they can't make sense of anything or find purpose with their life. I for one have suffered from depression in my past and if you asked me why I'd of probably told you something different each time. This is very sad ending to one of my favorite all time Orioles, I offer my condolences to his family, friends, and collegues. He will truly be missed for as long as people can remember his name. He was a great Oriole, a great teammate, and devoted family man, but most of all he was a wonderful human being with a great personality. I wish people would stop badmouthing him because he committed suicide, it doesn't change anything, it won't help his family, who might read this to heal, if anything you are hurting his family more than than he ever could. I am sure his wife and daughters aren't saying "he was a coward" and "I lost resperct for him". They are probably trying to just hold it together because despite how he died he was everything to them, and the last thing they wan't to hear or read is some bloggers opinionated feelings on a person who took their life. If people don't have anything nice to say then they should keep it to theirselves.

Whatever the reason may be, depression is a terrible thing. Whatever was biting at him, I'm sure he had the support system of his family, former teammates and colleagues - but not even that is enough.

As a Iraqi war vet, I've had friends and aquaintances -as well as myself- who has suffered from anxiety and/or depression. I know what it's like, and every reason is different.The best advice I can give is to seek professional help, because it doesn't have to end like it did for Flanagan. Or then again, maybe he did seek help, but it wasn't working.

It's complex situation, and we'll never truely know what was going through his head the past few years. All we do know is Flanagan put his heart into this franchise, and honestly, that's good enough.

Once again Mr. Schmuck you are the voice of common sense. Please let us not try to dig around into one persons psyche looking for answers that will never be found. Let's instead mourn the loss of a great Baltimore hero. Mike you were fun to watch pitch and great to listen to, be at peace my friend.

As more and more athletes take their own lives, to refuse to face the reasons why someone would would take their own life out of a need to "protect the reputations of the dead" is phony.

If the dead have been pushed to take their own lives by the living, then those responsible have no reputations that need protecting . . . especially from the truth.

It is the truth that we need when players and fans forget that this is just a game. The steriods controversy should have taught us this, but it didn't. It taught those that cheated that they could get away with it. The scandal taught the fans that true ability and talent do not win out over statistics. Cheating taught the front offices every where that business is still business . . . but a tragedy is still a tragedy.

As more and more athletes take their own lives, to refuse to face the reasons why someone would would take their own life out of a need to "protect the reputations of the dead" is phony.

If the dead have been pushed to take their own lives by the living, then those responsible have no reputations that need protecting . . . especially from the truth.

It is the truth that we need when players and fans forget that this is just a game. The steriods controversy should have taught us this, but it didn't. It taught those that cheated that they could get away with it. The scandal taught the fans that true ability and talent do not win out over statistics. Cheating taught the front offices every where that business is still business . . . but a tragedy is still a tragedy.

Why do you say "speculating about Flanagan's death serves no good purpose" and then begin to speculate? God bless him--leave him in peace.

Pete,

You simply could not have said it any better. Wonderfully written and the absolute proper perspective.


Well put. It is very upsetting. I was nine years old when he first arrived with Orioles in 1973. I remember having his strat'o matic baseball card on my orioles team. I loved his attitude. I loved the fact that he was an Oriole, something that almost seems to be dying over these past 14 seasons of losing.

God bless his family.

Get off your high horse Peter...you condemn the jerks who speculate about Mikes passing and then you speculate yourself???

your last blog served no purpose either running down the Os.

Its all Oriole bashing on here 24 hrs a day and thats why I dont partake anymore.

Let the Flanagan family have their dignity by shutting the hell up for once.

please


Well put. It is very upsetting. I was nine years old when he first arrived with Orioles in 1973. I remember having his strat'o matic baseball card on my orioles team. I loved his attitude. I loved the fact that he was an Oriole, something that almost seems to be dying over these past 14 seasons of losing.

God bless his family.

Sorry Peter but the public has a right to know in these matters, especially when you take into account the size and scope of the personality and under the circumstances he (or she) died. To dance around the issue is journalistically irresponsible to your readership.

Agree with you Pete......why don't ya forward your thoughts to G. Sandusky at wbal.

Hi Pete,

Like many others, I am in shock over Flanny. He was a friend and co-broadcaster. It sounds to me like he was suffering from depression. I have a history of it in my family and recognize the signs.Flanny was a tough New Englander who would never let anyone know he was suffering.

I think blaming himself for any Orioles problems was delusional. It sounds like he had a number of negative things going on and depression only amplifes the problems.

I've started a daily blog: www.mpsportsmedia.com and wrote about Flanny.

All the best,

Mel Proctor

Hi Pete,

Like many others, I am in shock over Flanny. He was a friend and co-broadcaster. It sounds to me like he was suffering from depression. I have a history of it in my family and recognize the signs.Flanny was a tough New Englander who would never let anyone know he was suffering.

I think blaming himself for any Orioles problems was delusional. It sounds like he had a number of negative things going on and depression only amplifes the problems.

I've started a daily blog: www.mpsportsmedia.com and wrote about Flanny.

All the best,

Mel Proctor

Peter, I am sure you are correct about the complexity of the reasons, but if Peter The Dwarf doesn't sell this team now, he truly is a soulless troll.

RIP, Mike

Pete, I'd like to commend on your perspective. I couldn't agree more! My own Father committed suicide years ago. He too, did not leave a note. The family has since been left to speculate on the reasons for his decision. What we were ultimately left with was the fact that we will never really know. In this society of instant information, such speculation is to be expected, even if it is destructive. I can only hope that responsible people will realize that the reasons only mattered BEFORE he died. After his death, all that matters is that he is gone from the lives of those he mattered the most to, his family and friends. He is past our care and assistance. His loved ones are not.

Well said. Thank you, Pete.

THIS IS HORRIBLE! Flanagan was a great man and a great Oriole! This has to be rock bottom for everything that has gone on with this team since Angelos took over. If this is true why he took his own life (and we may never know for sure) then to honor him we as fans must make this the final straw with this team and do whatever it takes to get rid of Angelos. That means no more going to games but instead protesting outside the stadium until this heartless scumbag stops his reign of terror he has inflicted on us and this organization! Please do not let this man die in vain. This will hurt me for a long time and I will never forget this day.

Thank you, Peter, for your thoughtful and helpful comments here about Mike Flanagan. It has been painful for most of us who admired him greatly, and who have trouble understanding the complexity of his death...or anyone's of this nature. He should be remembered for the sweet, good-tempered man and ball player that he was.

I wish Flanny had realized how much he meant to so many people.

I never met him; but I felt a connection with him partly because of his great Orioles career, but more so because of his work as an Orioles color commentator. I really appreciated his dry sense of humor. I truly miss Flanny already, and it saddens me to know that he wa living with so much pain.

I appreciate your perspective and insight by saying that speculation trivializes his death. I also might like to add, it trivializes his life as well. Most fans agree we have lost a wonderful man in a tragic way.

Peter,

I live in South Jersey, across from Philly, and went to the Sun to get some juicy insights on the Flanagan tragedy. Your essay was right on! First time I've ever read you (or even heard of you), but I'll be back. I love thoughtful, articulate work. You nailed the whole situation w/regard to the bigger picture.

So sad about Mike Flanagan. He seemed like such a good guy, and yet forlorn because of the Orioles. I liked him alot, thought he was funny, with insight into baseball and growing up in New England as star baseball player. Sort of a rarity. I feel so bad for his family and pray that they will appreciate him for what he was.

Mike Flanagan's death is tragic. I agree that it would be presumptuous to ever assume that the different scenarios broadcast by media pundits are actually factual. I know this. Life is never trivial, we are never guaranteed tomorrow, we need to have compassion for others every day, and make it a point to become involved the lives of others everyday. Mike's family is in our prayers, and once again sports (which I love) seem a bit trivial...

I wish Flanny had realized how much he meant to so many people.

I never met him; but I felt a connection with him partly because of his great Orioles career, but more so because of his work as an Orioles color commentator. I really appreciated his dry sense of humor. I truly miss Flanny already, and it saddens me to know that he wa living with so much pain.

Pete, I know it's fairly soon, but any discussions on ways to honour Flanny? Would the O's consider a patch on their jerseys like most teams do when a broadcaster or former player passes away?

You speculate after telling others not to?

Ya know Peter..shut your god damn trap and let the Flanagan family grieve with some dignity.

everything that comes out of your trap his negativity lately.

Its seems this site is just for complaining....not in my day.

show some class and just shut up

My father was an air force officer and by his assignment, I moved to Andrews when I was in second grade and from that point developed a never ending love for the Orioles. In 1978, we moved away to Kansas City, and to try and stay as close to the Birds as possible, I would write the players letters. I can't say how many I sent over the next couple of summers. I know two things though; one, Jim Palmer owes me back postage or an autograph from some two dozen never responded letters; and two, Mike Flanagan was the first player to respond in kind. I still have the official Oriole photo and the note he sent. Receipt of that made me beam for days. I would receive a dozen or other so photos kindly autographed, but none would mean as much as that of the first guy that took the time to say hello.

Back then when I would get to watch him, as a kid, he just looked so grown up. But today, watching the MASN broadcast and seeing the image they used as a back drop, as now a 45 year old man, I couldn't help but think how young that kid raising his cap looked. And that made me all the more sad.

By weird chance, last night when I heard I was sitting in a hotel room, traveling for work, in Manchester NH. I really wish he could have found greater peace here. And I will always hold on to how he was able to make me feel through a pen-stroke.

Jeff Travis

Good evening Peter: I have to say I disagree with most of what you have to say. Yes there should be a time for mourning. And Mike Flanagan, from all indications, has earned that period of respect. But there is also a time to discern the whys of this tragedy. And you as a journalist should accept this responcibility rather than brushing it aside. To that degree Im dissapointed with your comments. All indications ar that this tragedy was compunded by the time spent as an Orioles executive. And may well have been the precipitating factor.Angelos' dubious decision to appoint dual Gms and his failure to provide adequate financing for them to do there jobs adequately deserves some ink. Saying otherwise is much more objective, in my opinion, to honoring the mans memory. Yes there is a time for remembering Mike Flanagan and mourning. But I hope there is also a time for examining this tragedy, and how it relates to the state of the Orioles and the failed ownership of Peter Angelos. And his culpability in the frustration that Flanagan felt and that Orioles fans feel. So far as I can tell Jerry Sandusky is the only local reporter with the fortitutde to at least examine this issue. I hope that this doesnt continue and some reporter has the courage to bring this to the forefront. There is a reason Flanagan was despondent and chose to end his life and the media would be doing him a disservice by letting the whole story left untold after the friends, family, and fans are done mourning.


Allow mw to be devil's advocate. NOT speculating is a cowardly act in itself and serves no purpose and allows the tragic end of a great man's life to go for naught.

The time has long since come to remove the cancer from this organization no matter how tall an order that might be owing to the fact that the cancer in this case is the owner - one Peter Angelos.

We need for someone to get off their lazy butts and get a good ownership group together and just give Peter the Crook whatever he wants to relinguish his heartless hold on this franchise and its fans.

I can't believe that Fred Malek and other locals can't swoop in and save the day.

P.S. Could we save our "can't we all just get along" garbage? This is the SPORTS section. I make no apologies.

Mike Flanagan's death makes me sad. It reminds me of the Orioles in their glory years. It is also a reminder of what fans have lost under the ownership of Peter Angelos. Most importantly, a great man is gone, a man most of us knew as a local baseball legend but now a family also must now live without their husband and father.

It is somewhat sad/pitiful that humans try so hard to attribute something like this to what we think someone's motives were.

No one really knows what happens in someone's mind, and we should not speculate out of respect for the person and for the fact that the mind is powerful and there can be some many factors that lead to suicide.

I say rest in peace Mike Flannagan. I am not sure what pain caused you to do what you did, but I am sorry that we will no longer have you around to make this world a happpier, better place.You were a heck of a ball player and, from what I hear, a great person. My thoughts and prayers to the family.

Well put, Peter. I agree wholeheartedly. I don't sit in judgment of Mike Flanagan for how he ended his life. This crazy speculation about things we cannot and will not know should never diminish the good things Mike Flanagan did in this world and in this community.

Peter, you are so spot on. Let's not trivialize his remarkable life by hyper-focusing on his death. Mike was a great player, executive, and broadcaster. A loving husband, and father. Mayhe rest in peace in Gods arms.

Well said, Peter. Nobody really knows what was going on in Flannagan's mind when he took his life, and all the speculation does no good. Let's just remember Flannagan for his stellar pitching career, his love of the Orioles, and the good man that he was.

The manner of his death is irrelevant. Rather the memory shoud be of Flanagan as a good and decent person who put his total being into whatever he did. Life is not so much about what one accomplishes but rather what one overcomes. Flanagan was an execellent athelete who brought great times to baseball and overcame adversity of opponents on the field as well as in the boardroom. His standards were extremely high. The tragedy is he didn't realize his own success and accomplishments. For the rest of us he was a winner in all phases of his life and should be remembered as such.

Your article is very true but I have to admit that I am some angry at MacPhail for his total silence in this tragedy. I think he has been totally classless in this case and even if he hated Mike and I'm not saying he did, as President of the Orioles Andy should at least come out and make a statement of condolence to the immediate family and Oriole fans everywhere that loved Mike and what he did doing his playing days here.

If he doesn't soon come out and issue a statement as PRESIDENT of the BALTIMORE ORIOLES then I will never have the same respect for him again.

Your stink Peter Scmuck! What a self serving piece of drivel you wrote. You lambasted the Os and the GM mercilessly over the years and now exhort the fans not to speculate on his despondancy. Typical self serving journalist.

for all of the gargabe and junk that you have coming out of your mouth and single celled brain, I do aplaude this piece of literary work. Congratulation!

My dad was only a few years older than Mike. My dad also committed suicide by a gunshot to the head. He did so in 2002. Details leading up to it are eerily similar.

Here is what I learned of that devastating occurence. People will always try to examine it, figure out the "HOW" and the "WHY". The human mind needs to be able to process big events, and processing an irrational action is impossible. His poor family and circle of friends. They will ask themselves a series of questions trying to put this into some sort of logical framework that helps them understand. Unfortunately, in 99% of suicides, there is no logical framework that applies. Suicide is usually the act of a broken mind, and cannot ever be rationalized or fully understood. Family & friends of people who die usually recover. Even those who are murdered. Suicide is the exception. You never fully recover from it. My prayers are with all affected, and Mr. Schmuck, your well written article is well summarized in the final sentence.

I have wonderful memories of cheering Mike on as a youngster at Memorial Stadium. He brought happiness to this Baltimore kid's life. Thanks Mr. Flanigan, you brought happiness to my childhood. I hope you are now at peace.

You are absolutely right, Mr. Schmuck, and I sincerely hope that the public AND the media follow your advice. The mere fact that such a good man, who gave so much to this community, was driven by unknown causes to end his life should suffice. This is one time when the public does not have any "right to know."

Pete-

What Mike Flanagan's untimely demise does for me is to create more of a chasm between the Orioles of today and yesterday.

The thing I will carry with me forever is the glory of the Orioles teams I grew up with. Those memories (of which Flanagan was an integral part) are irreplaceable. At times, I find myself having to ask myself, "Did that really happen? Were those glory days teams real"?

It just seems so very distant. The phrasing on the facade of old Memorial Stadium states, "Time will not dim the glory of their deeds". While the phrase is a tribute to our war veterans, it also seems pay tribute our Os heroes of yesterday, like the late Mike Flanagan.

Mike's journey here is now complete. Thanks for all the thrills, Flanny . May you now, and always, rest in peace.

There has to be more to suicide than just a career failure (especially in the case of a person who had some great successes), and it would be false to ascribe the GM episode as 'the cause' of this tragedy. But Flanny's sad passing does feel emblematic of, and connected to, the dreariness that has settled over the O's during the past decade.

Amen.

Peter with all due respect being one of YOUR biggest fans I disagree. O'S FANS and non want to know how or why a man with so much to offer a highly respected individual & recognized among his peers with corncopia of experience ,ability & accomplishments can lay his life to such a tragic waste leaving behind a widow and fatherless children. His death should be an object lesson that no percieved failure financial or otherwise is WORTH taking one's own life .Mike was on the path to better and greater whether he knew it or not instead he threw in the towel --Tell your kids who ask about this to never give up in life .

Peter you're so right. The speculation of why Flanny chose to end his life is a moot point. Just proves how insidious a sickness depression can be. People suffer in silence for years to try and conquer the ultimate demon. May he rest in eternal peace and may God grant his family the strength to endure this tragedy.

Sorry, Peter, I respectfully disagree. In a world that seems as split by the indulgence of touchy-feely and the total resentment towards it as any other polar opposite, speculation over someone who was liked and loved quite universally implicitly reminds us there can be a middle ground even if it can't be easily defined or defined at all.

Everyone who knew Flanagan or observed him from afar has their definition of him. There is no shortage of testimonials from all directions and perspectives. Nevertheless, the only perspective that mattered on Wednesday was Flanagan's own perspective. No matter how anyone defines him, how he defined himself is all that matters.

And it is quite possible no one knows how he defined himself. Not even friends or relatives.

Because we care regardless of our thoughts on touchy-feely, we want to understand. That leads to speculation.

Sadly, not all speculation is good. It sometimes leads to blaming such as what was experienced in the Angel clubhouse. I don't know but maybe Moore defined himself through baseball alone. Maybe the conversation surrounding that pitch over time was enough when his self-definition didn't allow for other possibilities.

Being alone is at its worst when you don't even have yourself.

Others having you in their hearts fills no void when that doesn't fill your self-definition.

So even if Moore couldn't get over it, and even if the constant reminder became too much to bear, and even if Moore's own definition of self allowed that one road and only that one road led to his tragic demise, Downing was still out of line playing the blame game.

The saddest part in this tragedy is those who held Flanagan closest in their heart may be playing the self-blame game. Guilt can be a foreboding opponent because it comes from within. We'll never know what Flanny felt, but it will have consequences on how others feel.

For the 98 percent of us who speculate, it allows us to find a common ground when sometimes a common ground is hard to find. For the other two percent -- the inner circle for a lack of a better definition -- speculation is self-defeating because it leads to no answers when that is the final result being sought.

Humans are equipped with the ability to reason. When there are unknowns, we want to fill in the blanks. Humans need to speculate.

What humans do not need to do in cases such as this is to apply blame -- to others, or to self. That is what will do nobody any good.

A very good man who tried to make the Orioles better as a front office executive, but was prevented from doing so by their execrable owner.

Well said. And enough said.

Thank you for your sound reasoning.
For anybody who attempts to get in another persons head is beyond contempt.
I am a diehard red sox fan but always
admired the orioles cuz they were always
a class act.

With so many killings and suicides in the world today (e.g., Columbine), we often seek an "easy, logical" solution to what would cause such devastation. Sometimes, like with Flanny, we just need to realize that there is no way we can ever know all the reasons and all the darkness and all the hurt that could lead to such an ending.

Trying to find a reason is probably a means of therapy for ourselves, because all we have now is a feeling of dismay and wishing that we could have helped, in some way, to keep it from happening. It's just sad, that's all. Just sad.

I Concur!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1st Post on a Blog that isn't called Ring Posts!!!!!!!!!! Stay Safe Pete!!!!!!!!!

I WONDER IF ANGELOS UNDERSTANDS HIS OBLIGATION TO NOW FIELD A WINNING TEAM ---Some people might indirectly blame Angelos for Mike's death--some actually are.

I think Sandusky should be fired but i hear wbal backs his report. So I will not watch wbal news anymore. Also any body who feels the same i hope you know Nestor Aparicio agrees with Sandusky. I feel that this is just another way for him to bash Angelos in a very classless way.

Why does speculation have to serve a good purpose, so long as it serves a basic need?

It's just human nature to want to solve mysteries, as witnessed in the fascination with unsolved murders from O.J.. Simpson to the killer of Jon Benet Ramsey and most recently, the trial of Casey Anthony, not to mention the ongoing popularity of detective stories, which suggests that it is unreasonable to demand that people cease speculation.

When a man leaves a loving family, friends, colleagues and fans the way Flanny did, and not even leave a note giving us some sort of justification for his self-destructive act, then yeah, people are going to wonder why.

And there's nothing wrong with wondering...however, I only wish we weren't having this conversation, and he was back in the broadcast booth where he belongs. So sad that his life had to end tragically.

Guess just like sports talk radio we should just let ole Pete think for us... not...

Peter, has Andy MacPhail had any commewnt about Mike Flanagan's death?

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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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