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Free the Birds “on Life Support”

Baltimore Orioles Bird MascotBefore I get into the meat of this post, let me extend my congratulations to WNST‘s Drew Forrester on the arrival of his baby boy, Ethan. Here’s to good health and good times for the young family.

Moving on…

NST’s plucky leader, “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio, has a blog post up describing his efforts to organize FTB2 as “on life support.” His basic point is that not enough people care enough about the team, and that he can’t overcome that kind of apathy.

He also talks about the team’s “core audience of worshippers” — which I take to mean folks who are still fans, which means me and many of you — and accuses us of “buying the lies and the propaganda.” He also called folks like us “idiots” (or, to be fair, it might have been “fools”) on the radio this morning.

Classic Nestor — gotta love it.

I’m not the least bit surprised that FTB2 looks like it won’t happen. It shoudn’t happen. Last year’s event was a way for like-minded individuals to come together and be a part of something. I was happy to be there. I would never do it again.

That event was a purging. We went on the record to say we were unhappy with Angelos‘ stewardship of the team. After that day I closed the book on pointless anger and started developing a new outlook, one that focused on the fun and positive aspects of being an Orioles fan. Not in support of bad decisions, but in spite of them.

There are some things you can’t change, and some you can. You can’t force Angelos to sell the team and you can’t force the front office to make the decisions you wish they’d make. But you can choose not to beat the same old dead horse. You can choose to align yourself with progress and good times.

Being positive and having fun won’t put “Baltimore” back on the road jerseys, it won’t sign Mark Teixeira, and it won’t win a pennant. But neither will bitching and moaning.

I like Nestor and I like his station, but he and I have a fundamental difference of opinion. In the long run, my perspective means I can evaluate the team honestly, criticize them when necessary, and have fun no matter what. His perspective skips steps one and three, places all the emphasis on step two, and ultimately leads nowhere.

I’ll be fair and break some news here: there aren’t going to be a lot of people participating in our little gathering on September 8th. There is a lot of apathy out there. The main thing we’ve accomplished in terms of attendance is to fire up the Red Sox fan base. We’ll probably be outnumbered even more than we would be on a normal Sox night. C’est la vie.

But the idea has already been a success. It has put a notion into the collective consciousness that we should all consider what it means to be a fan. In that sense alone I think we’ve already done our job, and in doing so have accomplished more than a second Free the Birds rally ever could.

7 comments to Free the Birds “on Life Support”

  • Dan the Man

    Well said, man.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Today’s Maese article seems to shed a little more light on the Orioles’ community outreach attempts, which was definitely one of Drew’s largest problems with the team, that they had “turned their backs on Baltimore”. Of course this doesn’t solve a lot of his problems, but it’s another step back into the light.

  • Dan the Man

    Yup, good for them for beginning to publicize their community efforts a little more.

  • df1570

    First, thanks to all of you for the kind words after Ethan’s arrival on Tuesday. All is well with everyone, although the O’s are 0-2 since Ethan joined our family. Oh well…he’d better get used to it, right?

    The Rick Maese article from Wednesday morning was so symbolic of what’s happened with the Orioles that I couldn’t have exposed them anymore if I would have tried to do it by myself.

    Don’t any of you find it odd that the the Orioles refuse to answer any “hard questions” from members of the media and the fans…yet, when they want their good deeds put out there to the fans, their people are suddenly “available” and quoted extensively. I’ve been trying to get those same people on the air with me – and others in town have been trying to do the same thing, it’s NOT just a WNST thing no matter what you think – and those same people NEVER return a call, an e-mail or a text message. They don’t want the fans to ask questions of them…they’re not willing to deal with you directly. Until, of course, they need THEIR agenda to be on full display – then, voila!, they’re on the front page of The Sun.

    And please, do NOT tell me about those softball-sessions they have at the ESPN Zone where execs or players go over there for an hour and answer “questions” from the fans. Those things are certainly worth doing, from the club’s standpoint, but the 29 people who show up are NOT representative of the 500,000 or so who don’t go to the games anymore.

    When THEY want to talk to the fans, they suddenly produce a report from their Microsoft Publisher and chase after a

  • df1570

    oops…hit the wrong button there…my bad – (don’t know how to edit my stuff or I would…)

    …and chase after a popular columnist in town to spread the word about how they really ARE connected with the community.

    When they would rather NOT face the fans, they just don’t return e-mails, phone calls, etc.

    That’s a problem, for me at least.

    It might not bother you.

    But, clearly, SOMETHING is bothering about 500,000 people who don’t go to the games anymore.

    I would think the Orioles would like to find out what exactly is keeping people from going to the games…after all, if you ran the club, wouldn’t YOU like to know?

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Good points.

    I just would guess, if I were Andy MacPhail, that I would think the poor play on a longterm basis and a lack of any true genuine Baltimore superstars (ala Ripken, Murray, etc.) are what telling people that they can just watch the game from home so they can turn it off in the fifth when the Mariners are destroying us. Of course a lack of community identity is going to help alienate the fanbase, and a lack of connection with fans isn’t going to help either, but if I were MacPhail, I would probably say the product isn’t appealing enough.

  • Hello all,

    I’m a Marylander who grew up in Massachusetts during the Butch Hobson years, so I know what it’s like to support a team that’s struggling. I have to admit, I’m one of the Red Sox fans who got fired up when I heard about the Sept. 8 event — honestly, it sounded like fun, spirited night at the ballpark, and that was enough to draw me.

    I’ve gone to three O’s games so far this season (including yesterday’s against Seattle), and I’ve been struck by how resigned a lot of fans seem to losing. Reminds me of Celtics fans, really: A crew of people who love their team, and are exasperated with management.

    Keep your head up, gents. Things will turn around. Then, we can all laugh at the Yankees together during a spirited pennant chase that doesn’t involve New York.