Honor McNally, BelangerAs a longtime Orioles fan, I've...

LETTERS

August 09, 1998

Honor McNally, Belanger

As a longtime Orioles fan, I've often wondered why the club has failed to retire the numbers of some of its greatest ballplayers. Certainly, when you consider the championship teams of the 1960s and '70s, several key players come to mind. Dave McNally won 181 games, including four consecutive 20-win seasons, and slick-fielding shortstop Mark Belanger won eight Gold Gloves and was the keystone to the Orioles' best defensive infield ever.

Having learned that both men are in poor health, it struck me that now would be a fitting time to correct the oversight and pay tribute to them. To this end, I contacted the club's front office and was told by a key member of public relations that the retirement of their numbers "wasn't going to happen." She remarked that while both are in the team's Hall of Fame, the Orioles plan to be extremely selective about this process. Furthermore, they have no intention of retroactively retiring numbers.

My question is: Why not? McNally ranks as one of the club's three best pitchers ever, and Belanger is its finest shortstop behind Cal Ripken. All of us, the fans and the Orioles, should be grateful for the many cherished memories these two men gave us over the years. It is now time for us to return the favor.

Marc Weinberg

Los Angeles What meat is this on which Ken Rosenthal feeds that he has grown so strong? (Apologies Mr. Shakespeare.) He does not own the Orioles; he's not a fan and he's certainly not a reporter. Reporters report. They do not speculate; they do not invent controversy. Please tell Rosenthal to go somewhere else and write a novel. Baseball does not need him and will survive without him.

Anita T. Cox

Baltimore

Rosenthal must go, Part II

Ken Rosenthal's gotta go! I try not to read his venomous tirades because I just get upset. But recently I exposed myself to his morning dose of whining and felt compelled to respond. The fans in Baltimore are educated and loyal. They recognize that a large payroll does not ensure success. That is the beauty of the game.

If players did not decide the outcome, then we could just have the owners bid for the world championship each year and save all the salaries that they now pay. Because we support our team, we/Angelos have the luxury of affording many of the best players in the league. Since only performance can guarantee wins, these players can suffer the same fate of all mere mortals. That doesn't make them deserving targets for personal attacks.

Rosenthal does not speak for the fans. He drove Randy Myers out of Baltimore because he kept to his pre-game preparation regimen instead of handing out flowers on Mother's Day. Maybe Rosenthal is better suited for this duty. At least the mothers could throw them back at him.

Steve Wheeler

Easton

Rosenthal must go, Part III

After careful consideration of all the facts, I have decided that VTC the Orioles should trade Pat Gillick to The Sun for Ken Rosenthal and two young obituary writers.

`Francis J. Townsend Jr.

Ocean City

O's gimmicks for the birds

I'm from another era. I've attended an average of 10 games a year since 1954. Like a minority of others, I do not enjoy -- dislike is a better word -- self-indulgent participatory activities during games such as background noise, music, dancing, electronic prompts and, most of all, enduring an obnoxious and disruptive bird mascot.

I understand that the majority of today's fans probably do. What I would like to see happen, at least occasionally if not permanently, is a wave-free day. Allow the public to determine when to cheer, boo, shout, sing, whatever. On these days there would be no electronic prompts, no background noise, a paid vacation for the bird, etc. Somehow, in the past, it worked and we had fun. It could be tried at least over several games in case one game is a blowout or a bore, in which case the crowd will not have reason to react spontaneously.

Paul Bridge

Ellicott City

Umps must be accountable

John Eisenberg missed the boat. The incompetence of the umpires should not be ignored or overlooked just because the Orioles are out of the pennant race. The umpires should be held accountable. I want to see the baseball game called correctly regardless of whether or not the team is in contention. Excusing the situation just because the game wasn't important doesn't do the game of baseball any favors. Nearly two years after the disastrous call in 1996, nothing has changed.

Kimberly Blanton

Churchville

New breed of fans

Numerous columns in various publications outline scenarios involving the Orioles and the total dismantling of the current team. The fans of the Orioles, it is said, are tired of this team and want prospects and draft choices to jump-start a weak farm system. The writers seem to forget whom Peter Angelos has sitting in the seats of Camden Yards.

These people cannot be told the Orioles are building for the future. This would require a basic understanding of the game of baseball. Between the cell-phone conversations and the mass middle-inning exodus, it is apparent that nine innings are too long to wait when one has clients to impress. It is not the Baltimore Orioles Baseball Club but Orioles Inc. Corporate policies are implemented in days, not years.

Rob McCracken

Linthicum

Pub Date: 8/09/98

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