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Tragedy Strikes the Orioles Family: Mike Flanagan Dies

Terrible news out of Birdland tonight: Oriole great Mike Flanagan has passed away.

It’s hard to figure out what to say on a site like this when something like this happens, especially so soon after the fact when so few details are known. But I wanted to put up a post anyway because I wanted to say one thing: Flanagan was a true Oriole. Through and through, that guy embodied the things we love about this team and the reasons why we never stop loving them.

He is gone too soon, and he will be missed.

I might have more to say on this later…but probably I won’t. I just want to publicly tip my hat to Mike and wish well to his family, friends, and the organization.

Listening to the radio right now as the O’s play the Twins and baseball keeps happening. That’s as good a tribute as any for now.

Kudos to Joe Angel and Fred Manfra — they’re doing a great job.

33 comments to Tragedy Strikes the Orioles Family: Mike Flanagan Dies

  • Kevin

    I met him once at Fanfest, although I can’t remember what year it was. My mom and I were at the light at Camden/Howard waiting to cross with the rest of the crowd. Just about everybody recognized him, and he knew it too. He carried himself like he was a regular guy, not some suit for a major sports franchise. People were all just kind of whispering to each other that it was Mike Flanagan. Before the light changed, he turned around to us and told us the he wanted to personally thank us for coming, and that he was really excited for the upcoming year. That really made me like him because you could hear it in his voice that he genuinely care about the organization

    I don’t really remember him pitching at all. Little bits here and there, but really I was too young. That story really made me like him because you could hear it in his voice that he genuinely cared about the organization. He was a guy with great insight to the game and (to me at least) never really got the credit he deserved.

    RIP Flanny, you will be missed

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    whoa. i fucking love mike flanagan.

  • neal s

    I hesitate to mention this, but WNST is reporting that it’s a suicide. Nobody else that I can find is saying that for now.

    Damn those guys to hell forever if they’re wrong. If they’re right, it’s an even more disturbing tragedy.

  • Kevin

    It’s really tough watching the MASN post-game show with Palmer and Dempsey breaking down. I feel really bad for these guys having to talk about it on live TV

  • neal s

    The WBAL story linked in this post has been updated, and it’s not good. They now also report that it was suicide. And I hate to even quote these words, but I have to:

    Police did not immediately identify the cause of death, but sources confirmed that Flanagan took his own life “despondent over what he considered a false perception from a community he loved of his role in the team’s prolonged failure,” Sandusky said.

    The soft-spoken and well-liked left-hander grew over the years into a fixture in the Orioles organization. From 2002-08 Flanagan shared or held the top baseball executive position in the organization. During that time Flanagan, according to those closest to him, struggled with not being able to the job the way he wanted to do it, Sandusky said.

    A relative confirmed that Flanagan has wrestled for some time now with the perception of fans and colleagues alike of his role in the team’s failures.

    It’s way too early to fully digest this, let alone jump to conclusions. If it’s true, though, it’s an immeasurable blow to the Orioles and everyone who cares about Baltimore baseball. Just terrible.

    God damn it, I wish I had more words.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    sickening. brutal. there aren’t even fucking words or even parallels?

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    as someone who has enjoyed criticizing the o’s here for however many years, let me get real for a second. i think this is already the saddest sports related thing i’ve ever fucking seen. sincere condolences to the die-hards here who have really been with the team through all of this heartbreak. i can’t even imagine that sting.

    truly sorry fellas.

  • neal s

    To follow up on my earlier post, damn Gerry Sandusky to hell, as well, if his report is wrong. It would be thoroughly unconscionable to say what he said if it’s not true.

    If it is…I don’t even know. I’m trying to sort through it.

    Still too early, but the death alone is tragedy enough. So sad.

  • neal s

    I think it’s appropriate to note, as well, that Steve Melewski and Michael Popovec did an outstanding job on the 105.7 postgame show tonight. I can’t imagine how hard that was.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    no one wants this to be true. but i doubt gerry sandusky puts his reputation on the line with those quotes if it wasn’t. fuck the world.

  • neal s

    @ Big Ben’s Motorcycle: I agree. I’m just still holding out some hope that this is a “fog of war” thing and maybe Sandusky got some credible info that turns out not to be true.

    Deep down, though, I know. And you know. And we all know. And damn it all.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    if you’re around tomorrow night i say we watch ravens/skins together and raise 46 glasses to our man.

  • neal s

    @ Big Ben’s Motorcycle: That’s not a bad idea. Not sure if I can do it, based on work I have to finish, but I’ll text and/or call you.

  • Michael R

    So sad to hear this about Flanny. Great competitor and really loved by his teammates. It was so sad hearing Dempster and Palmer trying to get through the game while grief stricken . . . just heartbreaking news. I just can’t believe it.

  • dan the man

    Total shock and sadness. What the fuck? Who doesn’t love Mike Flanagan…

    Neal, agreed about Melewski/Popovec. I listened to that driving home from my buddy’s house tonight. And the clips of Palmer and Buck and Dempsey… my god man. We should never have to hear our Oriole stalwarts so shaken up. It’s the opposite of why we listen to them. So much credit to them all for toughing out the most difficult night they’ve likely faced on the air. Just so sad to hear.

    If what they’re saying is true, I don’t even know man. The Orioles being bad sucks, but it should never, ever, ever amount to anything like this. And we’ve all learned it’s never any one man’s fault. It doesn’t even feel right to talk about it. It’s unfathomable to think about.

  • dan the man

    And #46 Guthrie pitching tonight… jesus.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    @ neal s:

    cool. pretty sure i’m gonna need several drinks after listening to sports talk tomorrow.

  • dan the man

    No one should ever get to the point where they don’t realize how much they mean to people. Like, it’s just not right. If only he could be convinced by all the nice things that are being said about him now.

    I hope the Orioles do something really great for Mike – a statue, retire the number, something.

  • Mike R

    Im at a loss for words. Sure is depressing. If that quote Neal posted holds true…I don’t know. Holy fuck. Sad, sad day.

  • Miles

    If you watched MASN’s post-game last night, both Palmer and Dempsey alluded to Flanagan’s “impenetrable” side. I think that, sadly, that’s all the confirmation we need of what happened.

    And, further, if you watched MASN’s post-game and saw everyone from Buck Showalter on down lose their shit, you knew how much everyone adored the guy.

    I leave you with my Mike Flanagan anecdote:

    My mom used to work at the Baltimore Ronald McDonald House. Right after the O’s signed Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez, Flanny and his wife Alex came to the house to donate a bunch of toys. My mom was the only person on staff that day, accepted them and (having raised me as a die-hard Oriole fan) geeked out, telling him how excited she and her son were by the moves he’d made.

    He came back to the house, a few days later, not with another truck load of toys, but just to give my mom a baseball to give me. It read:

    “To Miles, Glad You Approve! Happy Holidays, Mike Flanagan.”

    I’ve always cherished that ball. And it means so much more to me now.

  • Larry

    I don’t know you guys (different generation, different city, etc.), but I’m grateful to have this place — with all its intelligence, passion, and love for the O’s — to share our stunned reactions. There are so many things about this that are painful. High among them, as Dan the Man said, was watching Palmer and Dempsey, men who are part of the Orioles’ DNA, shaken to their core on live television. It all feels personal in a way that I think you have to be a diehard baseball fan to understand.

  • sci

    This is awful. The team does need to do something to commemorate him long-term, like a statue. He was an essential part of the Orioles and always will be. What a horrific season, good lord.

  • dan the man

    @ sci:
    This season is going end and I think we’ll all be dazed and thinking, what the hell happened? Obviously this extends far beyond anything to do with the baseball team, but the community of Birdland is in a bad way right now, man, in all aspects.

    @ Larry:Seconded on having a place like TLC.

  • Ballmer Bruce

    If Flanny really took his own life over perceived failure as GM it is just one more reason to despise Angelos. Everyone knows that no GM could have success with this guy as owner.

    RIP Flanny. You will always be loved by us.

  • ryan97ou

    i just wrote a bunch of blathering stuff that i just deleted. truth is there isn’t much to say. having been a relatively new orioles fan (the past 10 years since i moved here)i don’t have the memories like a lot of you, but it still sucks. what horrible news.

  • @ Ballmer Bruce:
    Dude, for reals? Any opportunity to lambaste Angelos? Any? That\’s Bmore fans for you.

  • Ken

    Having grown up with the Oriole teams that obviously cared more than anyone of us knew…I’d like to remind people of evidence of just how humble Mike Flanagan was. After winning the Cy Young, Flanny came up for arbitration, and at the hearing Flanny’s request was less than the team’s offer. You were a huge part of my Oriole fandom Mike. Please, at least now, rest in peace.

  • neal s

    Latest news from the Sun updates that apparently he was distressed about financial issues.

    I still can’t wrap my head around this.

  • Andrew G

    I have no memories of Flanny pitching. What I do remember very fondly is him doing the color for HTS. And while his time in the warehouse was an especially dark time for the franchise, I’d like to think that it was in spite of Flanny’s efforts, whatever his flaws were. No man can move a mountain.

    I was still pretty happy to hear him come back to the booth and reignite those memories from being little. I still liked to complain more than anything about everything Orioles, but I can tell you he made it a lot easier to listen to games than it had been.

    And I can’t tell you how hard it is to swallow this news and his apparent troubles. I…just really can’t.

    Rest in peace, up in the big Memorial Stadium in the sky.

  • dan the man

    It’s brutal to read that latest Sun article. It just doesn’t make any sense. Money? Really?

  • ryan97ou

    that will certainly be the least enjoyable orioles sweep ever.

  • dan the man

    If I may inject some positivity for a moment and hope that it’s not too out of place…

    If you watched the Ravens preseason game last night, you were reminded why you love Ray Lewis so much. 4th quarter, the media is doing their sideline QB interviews and they decide, what the hell, we have to interview Ray, too. He breaks the interview half way through to cheer on the Ravens comeback drive from Tyrod Taylor, yelling play-by-plays into the mic and screaming instructions to Taylor. The Ravens score to go ahead with seconds left and Ray looks like they’ve just clinched the playoffs. If you were watching, you were smiling.

  • dan the man

    Per Roch’s blog, the Orioles are doing some really classy things to honor Flanny starting tonight. Good to see.