Angelos pens his own end to 'unacceptable' season The Orioles AN EMPTY FEELING BASEBALL 1994: THE END

September 15, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer Staff writer Jim Henneman contributed to this article.

He could have followed the crowd, signed the owners' resolution, kept his mouth shut and blamed the end of the 1994 baseball season on the players.

But he didn't. That's not Peter Angelos' style. The Orioles owner had an opinion and he let it be known.

Instead of following the pack, Angelos rewrote the first two paragraphs of the season-ending resolution that 26 of the 28 owners signed -- Marge Schott of the Cincinnati Reds was the only other owner who did not lend a signature -- and he called for a cease-fire to the name-calling and finger-pointing.

In rewriting the first two paragraphs, Angelos took out references to the players bargaining in bad faith and called for a reduction in the level of rhetoric.

Angelos spoke by phone with Milwaukee Brewers owner and acting commissioner Bud Selig afterward, said Selig found no fault with the revisions and made arrangements to meet with him next week in Washington.

"I don't know that any of the owners could legitimately quarrel with the revisions I've made," Angelos said. "When you have a difference with another organization, the approach that should be made is one of conciliation, one of compromise, and one that should be constructive, rather than full of criticisms and condemnation."

The labor lawyer in Angelos surfaced again, as it did leading up to and throughout a work stoppage in which he was not called upon for help from a controlling ownership group that at various times treated him as an outsider and a newcomer.

fTC "Those two paragraphs are condemning of the ballplayers themselves and their organization and as such served no constructive purpose," Angelos said. "They were absolutely inappropriate in light of what the announcement was dealing with. It was appropriate to let the public know that, to make

appropriate apologies and to pledge vigorous action so 1995 can begin with spring training and the season can proceed without interruption with assurances this won't happen again.

"Rather than deal with that subject alone, interwoven in the announcement was an effort to blame the entire situation on the players. Even if it was true -- which it isn't, there is enough blame to go around -- it would do nothing to improve relations between management and players."

Angelos, who headed a group that purchased the Orioles for $173 million last summer then spent $43.75 million on free agents last winter, felt more than financial losses as the season came to an official end yesterday.

"It's just an empty feeling that you get," he said of the World Series being canceled. "This is something that everyone looks forward to at the end of every summer. Even the non-baseball fan. I'm sure all of us, ardent fans or lukewarm, will miss the World Series."

Angelos, who reiterated he has no plans of laying off full-time employees, indicated he will get more involved in trying to broker labor peace.

"I'm optimistic things will begin to happen in the days and weeks ahead," Angelos said. "I intend to participate. I'm not on the Player Relations Committee or the Executive Council. My involvement has been very limited. That does not mean it will remain that way. Every owner has an obligation to get very much involved to find a solution to a situation that is unacceptable."

Orioles utility infielder Tim Hulett, for one, believes Angelos has the ability to find a solution.

"Based on some of the things he has said, I really believe someday you are going to see Peter Angelos as one of the front-runners in dealing with baseball situations," Hulett said. "He was one of the new kids on the block and I think that hurt him this time, but next time you will see Mr. Angelos have a much stronger influence.

"He has a background in labor, plus he bought the team with an interest in baseball. His love for baseball is the No. 1 reason he bought the team and I think that will draw a lot of the owners to him because I think most of the owners are in this because they love baseball."

Since purchasing the Orioles, Angelos has worn two caps, acting as both an owner and a fan. He has been criticized from time to time for acting too much as a fan and lacking patience with manager Johnny Oates.

Not long after signing a two-year contract extension after the 1993 season, Oates found himself answering questions about his job security. He also found himself reading unflattering remarks from Angelos about him.

Yesterday, Oates was more worried about the game of baseball than his place in it.

"The last thing that the game has to worry about is what happens to Johnny Oates," he said. "I'm not ashamed of anything we've done in the three years I've managed. We've been in the first division every year. I'm not really worried about it. My hope is that I'm back. That's my goal. But if I'm not, I'll be working somewhere."

And the fact that he is home with his family, rather than with his team, still feels a bit strange.

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