September 25, 2004

D.C. competition could help, not harm, Orioles

Can we rationally look at how having a team in Washington could actually benefit Orioles fans? First, I see the competition as being the stimulus the Orioles' front office needs to stop changing course every few years and finally adopt a philosophy that will breed consistently competitive teams.

Peter Angelos for years has been playing with house money because he has had a monopoly in which it really didn't matter whether the Orioles won consistently. The lure of Camden Yards worked for a decade, but now the Orioles are going to have to put a consistently competitive team on the field to draw. No one says Mr. Angelos has the right to draw 3 million fans annually by just opening the gates and saying, "Y'all come."

Secondly, just imagine how many more tickets will be available to Orioles fans in and around Baltimore without having to deal with the D.C. crowd storming the gates.

Or, is the Orioles' real fear of having a team in Washington that plucky, blue-collar Baltimore is the city that can't alone support a major league team?

You will have your team, we would have our team and those of us - including myself - who would choose to still come to Camden Yards would hopefully still be welcome.

LeRoy Tillman


Angelos' argument sounds like Cooke's

I have been reading and seeing on television the reasoning by the Peter Angelos camp about why the Expos should not be allowed to move to Washington, and these strike me as similar to the excuses used by Jack Kent Cooke to keep Baltimore from getting a football team to replace the Baltimore Colts.

Angelos talks about the lost revenue from television and radio broadcast money and diluting the team fan base. He fails to mention a few other things equally important to the economic success of a baseball team - the lack of affordable seats and high concession prices that keep a lot of Baltimore's working-class fans from attending the game, the very people that made the Orioles a success.

He also does not address the lack of a quality team that keeps people away from the stadium.

If D.C. gets the Expos, maybe the marketplace competition will force Angelos to make some changes for the better to put Baltimoreans in the seats that will be vacated by D.C.-area fans.

Mark Poe


Why can't Angelos be a hands-off owner?

Most of the Orioles' problems in recent years can be summed up by the headline in the Sept. 15 sports section ["Angelos reserves judgment on Mazzilli"].

When is Peter Angelos going to wake up and learn that successful sports franchises have front office management teams that are given the authority to make key decisions, such as the hiring of a manager?

A smart owner is a hands-off owner, who hires baseball people to make the baseball decisions. Angelos may be a top-notch asbestos lawyer, but he's certainly not a baseball expert. As the owner of a professional baseball franchise, he still has a thing or two learn.

Whether or not manager Lee Mazzilli stays or goes is irrelevant.

The Orioles will never revisit their glory days until Angelos takes a lesson from his competition across the street, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, and give the general managers full authority to make all baseball-related decisions.

Ira Levinson


More time is needed to judge O's Mazzilli

I could not agree more with last week's letter writer regarding the Orioles' managerial situation ["Last thing O's need is managerial change," Sept. 18].

Lee Mazzilli inherited a team last winter that desperately needed a couple of big hitters, but also a major upgrade to the starting pitching. The Orioles addressed some of the offensive needs by signing Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez.

As a team, the Orioles are batting over .280 with more than 150 home runs. The offense is obviously not the problem.

In the major leagues, strong pitching generally wins out over strong hitting. Mazzilli inherited a team with one experienced starting pitcher in the rotation on Opening Day.

He deserves a fair chance to prove he can win.

One year with fairly strong hitting and weak starting pitching is not a fair test of Mazzilli's ability to manage. Get him some experienced starting pitching this winter, and let's see what happens.

Ed Doheny

Bel Air

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