Orioles turn down offer from city of celebratory parade for players Ballclub says rally not earned this year

October 17, 1997|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

The city of Baltimore was willing to close streets and stop traffic, ready to throw the parade that would celebrate the Orioles as winners -- even though they came up short in the American League playoffs.

But the team turned down the offer. No championship, no parade, no thanks.

"If you look at the cities around baseball, the only time you do any parade or rally is if you win a league championship or a world championship, but we did neither," Orioles spokesman John Maroon said yesterday.

But it's not as though Orioles fans haven't been willing to show their love in the face of "almost."

In 1989, when the overachieving "Why not?" Orioles came within a game of going from last place to first in successive seasons, thousands of fans turned out for a parade and pep rally.

And in 1979, when the Orioles blew a three-games-to-one advantage and lost the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Orioles fans narrowed Charles Street to a single lane -- and the parade dwarfed the celebration in 1970, when the team won the World Series.

In 1983, when the team last won the World Series, a parade drew at least 100,000 fans -- and then-owner Edward Bennett Williams proclaimed the event "the greatest sports parade in the history of American sports."

Last year, Orioles fans staged an impromptu, late-night rally at Camden Yards when the team returned triumphant from a first-round playoff victory over the Cleveland Indians. But when the hated New York Yankees bounced the Orioles from the playoffs, no festivities could lighten the gloom.

Yesterday, on the morning after the Orioles' season ended in frustration and disappointment, city tourism officials contacted the team. Maroon said the city's offer of a parade or rally was turned down by team management without consulting the players.

Instead, the city and the team agreed to think about scheduling a rally next spring to kick off the season.

In other words, wait till next year.

Pub Date: 10/17/97

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