Study on O's attendance proves to be misleading In the...


March 24, 2002

Study on O's attendance proves to be misleading

In the March 21 article on the Orioles' position regarding baseball in Washington ["Owner: D.C. is lose-lose situation"], the author failed to point out that the "independent" study cited by the Orioles was actually commissioned by the Orioles and not verified by anyone else.

That study claimed that 25 percent of the Orioles' fan base lives in the Washington area. For the sake of argument, let's accept that figure as accurate. That means that the Orioles are bringing in around 2.5 million people per season that are not from the Washington area (based on average annual attendance between 3 million and 3.6 million the past four years).

An annual attendance of 2.5 million still would have placed the Orioles in around fifth or sixth place in the American League the past few years (out of 14 teams), which would have to be considered a monumental feat for a team that hasn't had a winning record since 1997 and has virtually no star players.

It is rare indeed to maintain that kind of fan support while consistently turning out such lame performances on the field. For this reason, I find it hard to believe that the Orioles would be severely handicapped by a 25 percent loss in attendance, even if one were to accept the unverified results of the Orioles' so-called "independent" study that predicts such a loss.

Casey Coneway Baltimore

It's no wonder Orioles have low expectations

I can't help but be amazed (again) at the once proud organization called the Baltimore Orioles.

The owner talks excitedly of the team playing .500 ball in the 2002 season, the general manager is relegated to flunky status by knowledgeable baseball people, and the manager is so excited about the team that he is more interested in talking about retirement and his retirement home.

Gee, I wonder why attendance will be down?

Joe Michael Cierniak Glen Burnie

O's need to consider Viera, Fla., as spring site

As a lifelong Orioles fan and longtime resident of Melbourne, Fla., I have followed with great interest the team's apparently never-ending quest for a suitable spring training home.

Instead of starting at square one to come up with an estimated $30 million to $40 million in public-private financing to build a new facility in West Palm Beach, the club should take close look at the existing Florida Marlins facility in Viera, just outside of Melbourne.

The Viera complex, which opened in 1994, is a full-service facility that can accommodate all major- and minor-league operations in one location. The facilities are top-notch and exhibition game attendance was among the highest in the Grapefruit League until the recent Marlins ownership change debacle.

In addition to a strong local fan support base, Florida's Space Coast is home to the beaches closest to Orlando and hosts a large number of tourists, particularly during the six weeks of spring training.

Orioles management reportedly was offered the opportunity to take over Viera but was "not interested in moving to such a remote location." In terms of proximity to other spring-training facilities, there are seven teams that train within a 90-minute drive of Viera - far more than either West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale.

The Viera complex is adjacent to Interstate 95, making travel to and from the facility very convenient, without the traffic-clogged arteries of South Florida. The proximity of two international airports (Melbourne and Orlando) is a bonus.

The Orioles should give serious consideration to moving their spring training to Melbourne in 2002 - it would be the best move the team has made in years.

Randy Browne Indialantic, Fla.

Driesell was to blame for his UM dismissal

I am writing in response to a letter in the March 17 issue ["UM was wrong to leave Driesell out of ceremony"].

I have been a Maryland basketball fan for over 30 years. I have seen the highs and lows, the greats and near greats, good coaches and some not so good.

The letter writer speaks of a man with Christian virtue, but was it Christian of Driesell to go to a female student's dorm room and threaten her over an incident with a couple of players, saying, "I will show you who has the real power around here"?

Lefty was a great recruiter and a pretty decent coach, but his off-the-court antics are what got him fired. Lefty made his bed, and nobody was at fault but Lefty.

I don't know if it was right or wrong to leave him out of the Cole Field House ceremonies. I think the university was just trying to keep some things in the past.

J. Yealy Taneytown

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