September 29, 2002

Low talent level keeps Orioles down

While critics of the Orioles bemoan the lack of a respectable farm system, they need to look only at the makeup of the Orioles' current roster, which is littered with minor-league talent.

Congratulations go out to snake oil salesmen Peter Angelos and Syd Thrift, who continue to bilk the public by disguising this team as a major-league franchise.

Ah, fourth place! It took them awhile, but the Orioles have finally reached their normal comfort level, one step ahead of Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Detroit, and miles behind the rest of the league.

Morton D. Marcus Baltimore

Under Angelos, O's driven into the ground

I admire Peter Angelos for buying the Orioles and being such a homebody. (I'm from Dundalk, and he's helped people in my community.)

But he has driven a once-proud organization into the ground. For what reasons, I don't know. Is it because he doesn't know what he's doing? Or is his ego so big he can't see beyond the end of his nose?

Sun columnist Laura Vecsey had it right in the loss of the Rochester Red Wings ["Orioles' minor-league loss is a major embarrassment," Sept. 19].

I don't know if it's Angelos' fault, but I think his kids should find a new job along with Syd Thrift.

Troy Tingler Dundalk

O's need to reclaim `Baltimore' banner

The media was great recently in bringing out the man "who was larger than life," Johnny Unitas.

He excelled in football because we saw him every Sunday doing so. He also excelled in everyday life with his family as well as the countless number of citizens who came into his presence.

Perhaps more people have remembrances about him with a "Johnny Unitas story" more than any other person we know.

What was so great also was the "Baltimore" publicity that was given to Johnny Unitas. He represented the "Baltimore Colts" and he was a "Baltimore hero."

We don't hear that with the present-day Orioles. Nowhere do we see reference to the "Baltimore Orioles." We do hear about organization and Orioles players going to York, Pa., and to the many squares in Washington to sign autographs to try to increase attendance from a regional standing.

It is a shame, because the real reasons for the decline in attendance at Camden Yards are a poor product, poor management and a poor understanding of the Baltimore fans. It's no wonder that Baltimoreans are not filling Camden Yards because the "Baltimore name" does not exist at Camden Yards.

It is a shame because somehow or another, Baltimore connected to the Orioles name hits to the very heart of the citizens living in this region. When will the present owners realize this?

Raymond D. Bahr Ellicott City

Unitas family shows grace and eloquence

It's often been said during the past few weeks that John Unitas was NFL royalty. I was never fortunate enough to meet the man, but based on stories from my own family and the outpouring of affection from this city, I have no doubt it is true.

During the memorial service and funeral mass, as many of his children took to the microphone to eulogize their father, it occurred to me that I was indeed witnessing a royal family. Their grace and eloquence were inspirational, each clearly having learned from their parents the qualities of a life well lived.

At a time of such deep personal loss, when they rightfully might have said, "Please, finally leave us alone to mourn in private our husband, father, brother, grandfather, and friend," the Unitas family graciously allowed an entire city to mourn with them. They must have sensed the need.

Since his passing, Johnny U. has been honored as much for his demeanor off the field as for his accomplishments on it. While saddened at our loss, it is comforting to know that we still have royalty among us.

Ronald J. Topper II Columbia

It's not too soon to honor Unitas

Johnny Unitas chose to move to Baltimore, dedicate 14 years to a beloved home team, work in a local steel mill, operate a local restaurant and other businesses, raise his family, and remain here.

Baltimoreans young and old revere, respect, and idolize Johnny Unitas, and rightly so. Now with the passing of this Baltimore legend who helped define our city and remained an everyman, we have the opportunity to show that that kind of dedication and example should be rewarded.

Actually, we don't have that opportunity. The Ravens' ownership does.

Many have called for the now "nameless" Ravens stadium to be named after this great hometown hero. The ownership has responded that it is "too soon" to make such a pronouncement.

So what is it too soon for? Too soon to put sentiment before profits? Too soon for a corporate sponsor to pay 10s of millions of dollars to put its name where it should not go? Perhaps if the ownership waits, the fans will forget?

I, and many of my fellow Baltimoreans, will not forget. We haven't forgotten the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s or 1984. We won't forget John Unitas' contributions on and off the field for Baltimore. Baltimore should not forget him.

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