Angelos gives Oates' apology for critcisms

June 18, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

If you lighten up, I'll shut up.

That, in essence, is what Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos is trying to tell his manager, Johnny Oates.

He imparted that message most eloquently in the final of six paragraphs in a letter he hand-delivered to Oates yesterday.

"In closing I propose that Johnny Oates promise to stop agonizing and being so terribly tough on himself and in return Peter Angelos promise to stop fulminating and complaining and most importantly refrain from indulging in that all consuming American pastime of second guessing the manager," Angelos wrote.

On one side stands an affable owner who enjoys letting the public become as involved as possible in his baseball team, an owner with an open door and an open mouth, a fan first, an executive second. In the dugout stands a manager who seemingly just as soon would manage his ballclub in secrecy, removed from the dreaded second-guessers who wield pens and microphones.

A clash is only natural. Two men with vastly different personalities trying to make it work, that's what this is all about.

a fine guy, an excellent family man who does everything the right way," Angelos said of Oates. "He's a very responsible individual and all that works in his favor."

But, Angelos went on, "It's distressing to realize the kind of pressure he's feeling and the agony he endures on a daily basis," Angelos said. "There's no need for that. He should relax and realize he has a lot of support. It's important for him to understand that."

Oates, signed through 1995, has no reason to feel he won't be the manager for the remainder of the 1994 season, according to Angelos.

"I can say that without equivocation," Angelos said. "He's here. He's the manager and we're supporting him. Before any decision to relieve a manager of his responsibilities as manager would have to take a lot of soul-searching, a lot of conversation. None of that is going on."

Angelos called himself "deficient" in the area of reassuring the manager of his job security.

"He needs to understand that if the ballclub has a tough series where everything doesn't work out, he still has the support of the ownership," Angelos said. "I'm going to do my best to give him the support. I'm going to make it my business to meet personally with him more often to reassure him of that. In that area, I've been remiss.

"He needs to stop being so tough on himself. I think that's his real problem. He demands too much of himself, has too much self-condemnation."

Angelos promised to be more supportive. As for Oates' end of the deal?

Oates addressed his alleged uptightness in his daily pregame meeting with the media, a session he delays until 6 p.m., a session he appears to enjoy about as much as a trip to the dentist's chair, sans Novocain.

"I don't have anything to defend myself for," Oates said. "I feel great myself, but the way I'm being portrayed is that I'm some mongrel sitting on the bench getting ready to explode because I'm not laughing and joking."

He denied a portion of the Sports Illustrated quote that said he considered quitting after the season because of the strain.

Unnamed sources supposedly know how I'm feeling?" Oates said. "A close friend says I was going to quit? He must not be too close a friend because I have never said I'm going to quit."

Oates also took umbrage at the notion he creates tension in the dugout.

"If the players are nervous with the way I'm standing in the dugout, how are they going to feel at the plate?" Oates said. "I feel for them if I'm making them nervous."

The self-made millionaire and the country boy baseball manager can co-exist, both men insist.

"Peter and I have the same goal," Oates said. "That's to win a championship for the ballclub and the fans who come out in extraordinary numbers. That's all we want."

ANGELOS' LETTER TO OATES

Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos sent a written apology to Johnny Oates for remarks he made about the manager in yesterday's editions of the Washington Post, remarks he did not deny making.

"This guy's a problem," Angelos was quoted in the Post as saying, after the owner disagreed with Oates' decision to have a player bunt. "He's obstinate. An insecure man. Not a very good manager. I don't think he's a good leader."

Angelos also expressed dissatisfaction with Oates relaxing the team dress code.

"This has been an Orioles tradition -- jacket and collar -- that kind of discipline and appearance carries onto the field," he said. "He had no business doing that. He didn't check with the front office."

After reading his remarks in print, Angelos felt compelled to write the following letter to Oates, which he hand-delivered:

TEXT OF THE LETTER

Dear Johnnie (sic):

By now you will have read the Post article, in which a number of statements critical of you and your management of the Orioles are attributed to me.

First let me assure you that none of these statements were made with the intention or expectation that they would be made public and certainly not in the context in which they appear.

Most of them if not all were made while watching the Orioles

getting shellacked by the opposition and clearly were generated by the frustration and disappointment of losing.

The above notwithstanding I believe I owe you an apology and accordingly I offer you my sincere apologies and urge you to accept them.

As I was quoted in yesterday's Sports Illustrated article you have my full support and confidence as manager of the Orioles and I stand ready to assist you in every way to achieve our mutual goal of giving Oriole fans a winner and a team worthy of their extraordinary support.

In closing I propose that Johnny Oates promise to stop agonizing and being so terribly tough on himself and in return Peter Angelos promise to stop fulminating and complaining and most importantly refrain from indulging in that all consuming American pastime of second guessing the manager.

Sincerely,

Peter Angelos

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