For Pete's sake, let's put Baltimore back on road jerseys

John Steadman

August 06, 1993|By John Steadman

It will be the easiest decision and most popular move Peter Angelos will make in his ownership of the Baltimore Orioles, and it won't cost anything. He'll be able to stand up and take a bow for returning the name Baltimore to the team's traveling uniforms.

Chris Hartman, an advertising executive advising Angelos and associated with the company that may be chosen to handle the Orioles' account, said he's against making a change. He wants to maintain the status quo, which means, in his opinion, the city's identity should continue to be left off the shirts.

Maybe he fears it will offend ticket buyers in the Washington area if Baltimore is restored to its place of honor -- across the

front of the road uniforms.

For away games, most teams are proud to display the name of the city they call home, such as Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, New York, Oakland, Seattle, Toronto, Atlanta, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, etc.

The Orioles, as an organization, have become prosperous and ** Baltimore made it happen -- not the District of Columbia, Silver Spring, Potomac or Hyattsville. Hopefully, Hartman will go into executive session with himself, discover what the public wants, alter his opinion and advise Angelos accordingly.

Baltimore's baseball public gives much to the Orioles in corporate and individual support. The least the club can do is reciprocate by putting the name Baltimore across the road uniforms and give the city the proper national advertising it deserves. Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke certainly would like the positive identity it would create around the country.

If Angelos' Orioles put Baltimore on the road suits, it will not influence the sale of one ticket, so there's no need for Hartman to become annoyed with the suggestion. Folks in D.C. and environs are perceptive enough to know when they go to see baseball that it's happening in Baltimore and not RFK Stadium.

Home uniforms traditionally carry the nickname of the team, as in Orioles for Baltimore, Yankees for New York and Blue Jays for Toronto.

When traveling, they generally -- but not always -- use the name of the city they represent. If Angelos makes the announcement that Baltimore is again going to be presented on the road uniforms, it will make the home folks happy. Cheers will boom forth all over the area . . . from Highlandtown to Hampton to Hamilton to Hampden and even Halethorpe.

Angelos will be so popular he might want to consider running again for mayor the next time the office is open. About the only thing Peter ever lost was a bid for City Hall when he took a trouncing at the hands of Thomas D'Alesandro III. From that point on, he removed himself from politics and concentrated on becoming a millionaire.

Surely Bill DeWitt, an associate of Angelos who we understand put up $30 million in the deal to help buy the club, would know what to do. His father, when he had the Browns, used St. Louis on road uniforms, and now in Cincinnati, where DeWitt lives, he's pleased to see the Reds on the home suits. On the road, though, the Reds are not embarrassed to use Cincinnati.

It would lift the spirits of Baltimore for it to realize Angelos isn't ashamed of the city that has made him rich and famous. The problem will then come up about what to do with the old gray uniforms, the ones that merely say Orioles.

They could be retired with a proper ceremony at home plate. A uniform could then be given to each of the owners for their personal use. They might like to wear them to their offices, to the ballpark to make for easy identification or else use them as

pajamas on cold winter nights. They deserve the option.

Among the owners, Jim McKay, who uses valuable time on the ABC network to boost Baltimore any time he has the opportunity, knows the value of putting the name of the city on the road uniforms. McKay wants Baltimore to cash in on the opportunity of gaining the exposure and the free advertising that goes with it.

In the long ago past, Baltimore was synonymous with Orioles, but not any more. There's no such bird as a Baltimore oriole. They got involved in cross-breeding, so the Baltimore oriole of 50 years ago is extinct. In its place there's the Bullock oriole and the Rocky Mountain oriole.

This is another reason why it's vital Angelos feature Baltimore on road uniforms and not just Orioles. This way, fans in rival parks will be less confused and realize they are not rooting for the Bullock orioles or the Rocky Mountain orioles but one of the most famous teams in baseball history, the Baltimore Orioles.

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