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September 18, 2011

Orioles: Gammons got this one wrong

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a big fan of Peter Gammons, who I have known for decades, but he got some bad information if he thinks that the Orioles and the Angelos family intentionally stiffed the memorial service that was held in New Hampshire for Mike Flanagan.

Gammons tweeted that "Angelos and his pitiable Orioles were nowhere to be found."

Club officials say they were not invited to the event and I have to believe them when they say they would have been there in a heartbeat to honor one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history. Everyone in the organization -- and the media -- had tremendous regard for Flanagan, who had a big impact on the team on several levels, so there was no reason why the Orioles would not have wanted to be represented at any memorial for him.

There's no word yet on a memorial service in Baltimore, but the club is expected to do something soon after the season.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 12:58 PM | | Comments (35)
Categories: Just baseball


Since when do funerals need invites. It's not the responsbility of those grieving to extend invitations out of concern for the feelings of guests. If someone is concerned as to whether their presence is desired or not, they need to get over themselves. What, was Angelos not there because he was worried Alex might ask him to leave. You and he need to get real. Unintentionally you have summarized what's wrong with the O's. An egotistical owner who hogs the limelight when it's not his (The painful Ripken speech) and avoids doing the right thing when it might cause him difficulty.

Pete-Do you receive many invitations to memorial services? Most of just attend out of respect. Any chance the Orioles, especially the owner/management types were instructed not to attend?

Pete's reply: I don't know if they had any clue when and where it was. I certainly didn't until after the fact, and I would have gone if I thought it was appropriate for me to be there.

I didn't see, hear or read Peter's comments. So, where is there a suggestion that Angelos or the O's intentionally did not attend the service for Flanagan?

Pete's reply: Gammons tweeted it and called out Angelos.

I agree. Angelos has been a lousy owner, but he's not a heartless man, nor is anyone else involved with the team.

So then the real question is, why wasn't anyone from the O's front office invited? I guess it's too much to ask that reporters from the Sun would follow up on that.

Pete, how do you know he got it wrong? You take the O's at their word but not him at his word? Maybe you should do a little research before you jump to a conclusion.

Pete's reply: I did.

No Pete. Angelos is pure scum and Gammons got it right.

Yes, but don't you think that it is telling that the club was NOT invited, considering the Orioles meant everything to Flanny? Were there other notable people/organizations not present?

I'm surprised he even commented without uttering a single word about how that might have affected his beloved Red Sox. I live up here. Count me in the group of 'tired of Gammons'.

Maybe he should have checked with someone before he tweeted. Isn't that what responsible journalists do? What, is he just another blogger?

Petey G got it wrong on 2 counts then. I don't consider the Os pitiable at all. It's a major league sports franchise that has been run into the ground by an ownership group that has been doing the wrong things for too many years now. Tell Petey that it's not pity they deserve- it's the disdain and contempt by those who still call themselves fans is more like what they have been getting, and that's deserved.

Gammons is terrible. He is a blowhard who lets his opinions get in the way of his analysis ALL THE TIME. Why would you ever expect anything else?

Let's see. Club officials say they were not invited to the event and the reported reason for his suicide was Flanagan was still despondent about perceived failures during his tenure in the Orioles' front office.

Can't figure that one out?

Pete's reply: Eddie, I think it's very disrespectful to assume the reason for Mike suicide. I don't care what was reported by whoever thought they knew, no one can answer that with authority.

The tribute on Saturday allowed anyone to stop by. I don't think any one was formally invited. We all just showed up and any one who wanted to speak about Mike was able to. Some that could not attend sent their memories to be read. We were glad to be there, and I'm sure if Mike was there he would have had a blast with all his old pals and friends.

Pete's reply: Kim, I'm sure that's true, but down here there was no advance announcement of it. I inquired and could get no specifics and wasn't sure it happened until after it was over. When a family asks for privacy, I am going to respect that, which is why I didn't push harder for that information, but I would have attended if I had known when and where and that anyone was welcome. I believe the Orioles when they say the same thing.

I agree. Angelos has been a lousy owner, but he's not a heartless man, nor is anyone else involved with the team.

This is the reason people don't like the media and don't want to do interviews--media like Gammond who makes a statement based on incorrect information or none at all. It's easy to pick on the Orioles and their poor's a cowardly thing to kick someone when they are down.

Glad somebody called him and these losers out.

Angelos and his Pitiable Orioles were not even INVITED to the event....doesn't sound a lot better...

Why am I sitting here believing Gammons version over anything that is being said from the warehouse?

Pete's reply: Because you're too busy letting your bitterness about the Orioles ownership prevent you from thinking logically. The Orioles loved Flanagan. Peter Angelos had no axe to grind with him. There was no reason for the team to intentionally stiff the memorial service. Whether you like Angelos or not, if you have spent any time paying attention to how he operates, you'd know that if they asked him, he not only would have attended, he would have paid for the thing.

Private ceremony was 2 weeks ago. Sept 17 was an open house for everyone. It was open to thousands. It was advertised for 3 weeks in news, radio, tv. People in both orioles pr and broadcasting knew of this for 3 weeks. Manchester NH can through big time. The City, former teammates and opponents from LL high school paid for auditorium, flowers, food, sound syystem, etc for thousands. Peter Gammons, Ken Nigro, and Dr Charles Steinberg honored the Flanagan's with their presence. Even those men were moved by the turnout. This contrasts greatly from the fact that mike's parent's in almost 1 month ave not heard from the orioles or received an official call from Baltimore police. They learned of his death via a Red Sox "News flash"! Good thing the orioles "forgot " to invite them to Flanny patch night. What a terrible way of notifying them that would have been! I'm proud that Gammons called Mike the smartest pitcher he had ever met.

MASN did provide info. regarding the service the week before.

If the Orioles supposedly didn't know about the tribute, why was the following posted on MASN the week BEFORE it was held? Don't the Orioles "oversee" MASN? They knew well in advance that we were holding a tribute to Mike and that they didn't need an invitation to attend since it was NOT private. And since when would they feel they needed to be invited,

Flanagan to be remembered in New Hampshire hometown

September 12, 2011 10:05 AM by Pete Kerzel

More Pete Kerzel


Fans, friends and family members in Mike Flanagan's hometown of Manchester, N.H., have planned two events this weekend to celebrate the life of the former Orioles pitcher, coach, executive and broadcaster, who died Aug. 24 at 59.

A tribute to Flanagan's life will take place Saturday, Sept. 17 at Manchester Memorial High School, where Flanagan excelled in basketball and baseball for the Crusaders. The following morning, a memorial Mass will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Litchfield, N.H.

Flanagan's family in Baltimore has yet to decide on whether a local memorial service will be held.

Pete, I agree with you.

I do not find it disrespectful to mention what a sports reporter stated, the same as I would state something you reported. His suicide was tragic, but ceratinly not a topic that can't be discussed.

My point was that there was probably a reason certain parties were not included, or invited to the memorial, especially when they were suppossed to be such a large part of his life.

Why did you stop taking blogs after I sent you the one giving you all the correct data about the NH Mike Flanagan Tribute, Gammons, the lack of calls from Orioles & Baltimore police. Are you covering up you own lack of research?

Pete's reply: No, I'm covering up my lack of logging onto my laptop for a few days. Some of don't do this for fun.

I am Mike's cousin and went to the memorial service in Manchester. It was announced in the Manchester paper The Union Leader as a PUBLIC event, not private. If you don't believe me, look it up at the paper. As a family, we were appalled that no one from the Orioles attended. Mike's Dad is very upset that NO ONE from the Orioles organization called or showed up. He is also upset that he had to find out about his son passing away while watching the Red Sox game. My sister and I sat with him Sunday night before flying back to Tampa for about 3 hours listening to him about this. It's a shame.
FYI - there were people within the organization that knew when and where. And why couldn't they have called his parents to express their condolences. They would have found out at that point.

Pete's reply: Laurie, thanks for the information. I'm shocked that Mike's dad learned of his death on television, but the timing of the announcement was determined by the police, not the TV network. I was covering the story and they withheld information five or six hours, I presumed because they were contacting family members. I wrote that the Orioles said they were not invited to the service. I know of an Orioles official who talked to family members up there a few days earlier and asked if they would be welcome. He was told they would get back to him and said they never did. Obviously, I can't confirm this on your end, but it wouldn't have been as simple as them just showing up. If a big Orioles entourage had walked in uninvited, I suspect they would have been ripped for being insensitive to the family and drawing attention to themselves. They have become such an easy target that they get blamed for everything down here, much of it deserved, but I don't know if this time it's fair. This was a lose-lose situation for them, even though they liked Mike very much and had no reason to slight his family.

Gammons did NOT get this one wrong!

An open letter to Peter Schmuck, the Orioles organization and Orioles baseball fans…

My name is Ted Menswar Jr,, Mike’s high school baseball coach, and I’m one of the persons responsible for organizing the “Remembering Mike” celebration of his life held this past Saturday at his alma mater, Memorial High School, in Manchester, NH.

After reading the content of Mr. Gammons’ reaction on Twitter, as well as the follow-up story done by Baltimore Sun blogger, Peter Schmuck, attacking the position Mr. Gammons had taken, I feel compelled to respond…particularly after reading some of the comments posted by readers.

Mr. Schmuck stated that “club officials said that they were never invited to the event.”

To set the record straight…there were NO invitations sent to anyone and this was NOT, as some readers’ comments suggested, a private service. In fact, it was open to anyone who wished to attend!

I also read that the Orioles, had they known of the event, would definitely have sent someone to represent the organization. To me, that statement alone is erroneous. In my opinion, individuals close to the Orioles organization were definitely aware.

Consider the following…

An Orioles color commentator for MASN and an Orioles game analyst for MASN, two of Mike’s closest friends, knew of the remembrance for Mike and hoped to get the time off to attend, but their schedules wouldn’t permit them to do so.

If the Orioles didn’t know of the event, why did someone from the organization at first offer to help in any way they could , saying “just tell us what you need“?

If an announcement of the tribute in NH was posted under “Orioles Buzz” the week BEFORE it was held, how could the Orioles front office NOT have known about it?

However, whether or not the Orioles were or were not aware of the event is of little concern to me.

More important than any of this is the fact that Mike died August 24 and yet no one…NO ONE… from the Baltimore front office has contacted either Mike’s Mom or Dad to express their condolences or to ask if there was anything they could do? Not even so much as a sympathy card.

I know Mr. Angelos publicly offered his condolences to Mike’s wife and daughters, but, remembering that Mike devoted more than 30 years to the Baltimore Orioles, he, or someone representing him, should have also personally contacted Mike’s folks.

If the Orioles so loved Mike and appreciated all he done for their organization, why, over the past three weeks, hasn’t anyone from the Orioles ever bothered to check to see how Mike’s Mom & Dad were doing, particularly considering the manner in which Mike took his life and particularly considering their advancing age?

Even more bizarre is how Mike’s dad found out that his son was dead.

His granddaughter heard it mentioned by Jerry Remy during the broadcast of a Red Sox game and called her Mom, Cathy, the Flanagan’s youngest daughter, who’s back home living with 88 year old Mr. Flanagan. Mrs. Flanagan has been stricken with post polio and is now in a nursing home. It was Cathy that had to awaken her Dad to tell him the horrific news…and he had to tell his wife the following morning.

News reports stated that Mike’s burial would be private and at a later date. Additionally, it was announced that the Orioles would be holding some type of service for Mike in October…and that’s all well and good.

However, it was also understood that no services would be held in this area and that’s why a group of us decided to do something to allow the Flanagan family…specifically Mike’s Mom, Dad, brother, and two sisters…an opportunity for some closure.

That’s the ONLY reason, why the remembrance was held…and anyone and everyone who wanted to attend was invited. At NO time was there ever a mention that anything would be private.

Though I’m sad, even more, I am angry …and if what I’ve had to say offends any of the Orioles’ front office people, or anyone else for that matter, I don’t really care.

In my mind, they knew, and to throw Gammons “under the bus” for his comments was wrong. In fact, if this is an example of Orioles’ “class”…a characteristic Mike certainly possessed…as does Peter Gammons, I’m happy they weren’t there.

Because no service for Mike was going to be held in NH (and nothing has yet been done in Maryland), it was decided by a number of us that we'd do something for the family here to allow them an opportunity for closure.

Upon hearing/realizing that a tribute to Mike had been scheduled in Manchester, all the Orioles had to do was call us (a contact person/address was placed in the local paper) and ask "Would it be OK for someone from the Orioles front office to attend?" and, I assure you, that individual (or even a " big uninvited Orioles entourage") would have been welcomed with open was everyone who attended.

And I can also assure you that, had that happened, Mike's Dad would have been thrilled.

Sorry, Peter, but the Orioles really dropped the ball on this one...and Gammons justifiably twitted that fact.

The Red Sox announced his death at approximately 10PM on the 24th. We siblings didn't believe it so we checked websites and also saw it scrolling on ESPN. We called our mother's Nursing Home to unplug the TV. That could have compounded the tradegy even more. This gave us time to verify the accuracy of the claims and all be in NH by 7AM the next morning so we could tell her before she also " heard it first" on tv. Also on the 25th I called Baltimore Police and asked "whatever happened to the days of letting family know before the media"? I was willing to give them some slack because of my parents remote location in NH. Their response: " All we can say is Sir, we're sorry about your loss". It wasn't like there was still some ongoing research being done because every media outlet in the country was already covering it. They didn't even acknowledge it was Mike we were talking about! Just so there would be no doubts I gave the police every sibling's and parent's address and phone number (they even wanted my Date of Birth) so when they were able and willing to acknowledge his death they could do so!. Don't blame his wife for not telling the police about us because she was rushed to the hospital herself. Four days later my dad was still saying he wouldn't believe it until he heard it from a police officer. What do you expect? My dad is 87 and our Grandfather was a police officer and that was how the process was supposed to be. Grandpa would have showed up personally at a victim's parents door. Like any other Irish Policeman likely stoic, but filled with empathy and compassion. If you guys had showed up at Mike's NH tribute, like Peter Gammons, Ken Nigro and Dr Charles Steinberg , you would have learned that our grandfather had few words to say but like great police officers risked his life daily. He showed his compassion when he brought a frozen squirrel back to life warming it over a toaster and feeded it with a toy doll bottle .Don't believe it? We showed it on film- the revived squirrel sitting on Mike's shoulder. When I saw how emotional MASN broascasters were about what had happened I personally invited them to NH so they too could get some closure prior to the end of the season. I felt that waiting to October or November wouldn't help their grieving process. We set no limit to the "entourage". We didn't care if it was 50 or 50,000. Other people in the Orioles organization were contacted to determine if there was any possible coordination needed between what Baltimore was planning and what was happening in NH. It was also to get confirmation to a rumor of possible minor financial aid for the NH event. Supposedly "The O's would do anything we needed". I didn't realistically expect it anyway. When there was no call back about financial assistance that confirmed my hunch that we were on our own. At that point we decided to proceed quickly on our own due to limited dates and sites available in NH. I still made repeated calls inviting people from the Oriole's it was not the other way around as has been portrayed in the O's Damage Control. We had 3 weeks to edit 100s of hours of video; obtain a site for the tribute, flowers, food,etc. Volunteers, in particular Mike's former High school Coach put in hundreds of free hours to pull this event off. We received thousands of dollars worth of personal donations of flowers, food, auditiorium, etc. from strangers, Little League, Babe Ruth and American Legion teammates and even arch-rivals (many of whom hadn't seem him in 30 to 50 years! It was a beautiful event for family and attendees. We let anyone who wanted to talk about Mike's impact on them do so with no limit. We had everyone from the now grown up girl that he once offered kindness to in a grocery store to Peter Gammons all speaking with heartfelt love for the man who touched their lives. Just like all the Camden Yards "common" workers I'm confident he treated with kindness on a daily basis. If you think that an entourage of 50 or more from would have been perceived as insensitivity then you don't know us Flanagan's or those of us with deep New Hampshire roots. We may be quiet, stoic, hard to get to know at times but you'll always be treated with kindness and respect. However, if you haven't noticed yet in this blog we defend teammates, friends and even strangers whole souled. Was Mike ever disrespectful to a reporter or someone who "just popped into his GM office". I was only there maybe twice a year during those 30+ years, but I doubt it. Was he perfect? Of course not, after all he was always just my kid brother. Just ask anyone who did take time out of their busy schedules to attend or offer generous contributions to the NH event. The O's should look at the man in the mirror first. Not Mr. Gammons.
Mike's older brother Tim.
(Try hitting his wuffle golf ball curve). Now that's a real problem

Pete -

In the 57 year history of the Baltimore Orioles this franchise has been directed by several ownership groups. Fans and media have had divergent opinions about most of those groups to hear the shrill back and forth about the Angelos era is not really such a change as some younger fans might think. I for one am used to it ...and never jump to any conclusions just because people are sounding off.
By my count, Mike Flanagan was an Oriole for at least 3 different ownership groups. Whoever the owners have been, Mike focused on bringing honor to the organization. In that respect, he was more like a fan than an employee ..and that's why it was so easy for Oriole fans to identify with him.
So I say as to the confusion over the Sept 17 ceremonies: I sure wish fans like me would have known about it ...because many of us would have made an effort to attend.
I think Mike would have looked down on all of us and been glad to see us in our orange and black.
I hope there is an opportunity to do that in Baltimore as well. I think Ms. Tobey and the rest of Mike's family will see then how much respect and admiration everyone connected with all eras of the Orioles have for Mike.

I'm inclined to believe the family.

Let us not forget the disgusting club reaction to the death of Elrod Hendricks a few years back, when only one person from the entire organization - I think it was Melvin Mora - showed up for his service.

Pete's reply: Fanger, let's also now forget that you're completely wrong and should be disgusted with yourself for posting this. Peter Angelos and every member of the front office was at Elrod's sevice. In fact, Angelos pulled the strings that allowed a non-Catholic service to be held at the Cathedral for Elrod. Mora was the only "active" Orioles player to show up and sit in that section, which was terrible and I wrote a column ripping the players for that, even though most of them live far from Baltimore. Angelos got ripped from the podium at the Elrod funeral by several speakers because he took Elrod out of the Orioles traveling party after Elrod suffered a stroke that might have killed him if it had happened during a team flight. That's what Angelos was guilty of. Get your facts straight before you pop off with such a damaging accusation.

Laurie, while I'm very sorry for your loss, I have to ask: Why is it the Orioles' responsibility to contact Mike's father? Shouldn't his wife, kids or another family member handle that awful task?
There's a lot more to this story that you're either not privy to, or electing to keep private, and that's perfectly fine. But in that case, you probably shouldn't log onto a blog and rip the Orioles.
I'm sure members of the organization and the fans here would love to have attended a public service in Baltimore, but apparently, at least one member of the family wouldn't allow it.
Like I said, there's more to this story.
RIP Mike.

I don't understand the Orioles.

I don't know if I agree with you Pete about this being a lose-lose for the O's. The Oriole organization did not have to show up en masse. A small contingent would have shown respect for the loss of a loyal member of the organization, and also would not have been inappropriate for the setting. They could have attended in a tasteful way that wouldn't have overwhelmed the event, or drawn attention away from the ceremony.

If they didn't go because they were asked not to attend, then I hope The Sun would try to find out why (I do realize that's not necessarily your job at the Sun).

I just don't understand the Orioles. I think I could have stopped typing after my first sentence.

According to the newly released police records, Alex Flanagan told detectives they both were "distraught" over his job and that he had been working without a contract for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network for the past year and a half. Flanagan had told his wife he felt "insignificant" and threatened to shoot himself in June, prompting a visit by police, according to the records.

Orioles officials disputed the characterization of Flanagan's employment. "That is absolutely false," said Greg Bader, director of communications for the Orioles. "Mike had a contract with MASN and was being paid."

What source is more credible?

Pete's reply: I don't know Eddie, but the team gave Flanagan the GM job for several years and were paying him to broadcast their games. Generally, broadcasters don't go on the air without a contract, though I'm pretty sure Flanny's contract paid him by the game. Maybe they were talking about a contract extension beyond this year. I don't really know the answer.

Look, I want desperately to believe that the O's, for all the ballyhooing that we heard concerning their love for Flanagan, would have attended this event if they felt their attendance acceptable. However, the notice that they were advised well in advance, by a notice posted on ANGELOS" network does leave me questioning the O's version here. Also, let us not forget the overwhelming O's presence at the funeral for Elrod Hendricks, "Mr. Oriole". As I recall, Melvin Mora, and ..............hmmm, can't recall anyone else that showed up. Can you? Pete, the O's, and I love them dearly, have since 1956 (10 years old), have a horrific record of "putting their money where their mouth is" as we used to say. I know deep down that PGA is a good man, but he does seem to flub chances to show the world who he really is with regularity. I know he does a lot behind the scenes, but he needs to show the common man (we fans) who he really is.

Go O's!

Pete's reply: Let's at least try to be fair. Peter Angelos pulled all sorts of strings to get the Elrod service into the Catholic cathedral and every member of the organization who could be ordered to be there was there, including Peter's family, which took a beating from the people who spoke at the event. The current players, other than Mora, didn't show up, and I was the one who wrote the column ripping them all for it. There is plenty of legitimate stuff to criticize the O's about this without this kind of knee-jerk reaction.

Joe Jay, No where in my message did I put anything about the Orioles contacting Mike's Dad about his passing away. What I was saying is no one with the organization contacted him to express their sympathy. two TOTALLY different things.
Thank you, Ted, for reiterating that fact AND for all you do for the Flanagan family. I hear you have been now adopting into the family, cuz.

If some of the post above are legimate, Gammons has the right to tweet what he did. Actually he had the right either way, but this could show perhaps you were wrong to say Gammons was wrong.

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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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