Host's radio sports chat may stop, but not his questions for Angelos

OTHER VOICES

February 08, 2005|By Nestor Aparicio

SO WHAT DO I do now? With the Super Bowl becoming another NFL Films footnote more than 24 hours ago, that's become as much a personal question for me as it could be a credo for anyone who is a sports fan in this city.

This is the cruelest of seasons: the annual February sports swoon.

I suppose last week's announcement that I'd decided to step down as a daily sports talk show host on WNST after 13 consecutive years of spending afternoons chatting comes with impeccable timing.

The truth is that there's not a whole lot that's going to happen around here anytime soon anyway.

Sure, the Randy Moss-to-the-Ravens story will play out, as will the remainder of free agency and the spring draft of hope in April. But by my count, Kyle Boller won't touch the pigskin in any significant fashion until Sept. 11. And these seven months of waiting sound like an eternity right now for me and the gang at Roost 50.

Which leads us again back to The Warehouse.

Once upon a time, baseball mattered here. Once upon a time, the transition from football to baseball was seamless with spring training just days away and a season of hope beckoning. And Opening Day was a quasi-religious holiday that made us feel good.

But as we roll toward the Orioles' eighth consecutive spring training and season of irrelevance, the mere thought of spending four hours every day discussing the state of the Orioles was enough to make me consider retirement communities in Jacksonville Beach over the weekend.

Does anyone really believe that this freak show of washed-up 500 homer guys, Triple-A pitching and a manager who was almost canned at the All-Star break last year can compete with the Yankees and Red Sox this season? Let's see: Those two will spend $350 million on payroll this year, the Orioles might spend $50 million if they can find anyone to take their money.

By my count, the Orioles have now played 1,133 consecutive meaningless games (that's 510-623 if you're a stats freak). Not even one measly weekend series in June when there's been any real hope of a race, let alone a World Series title. Until Peter G. Angelos can step forward and answer some of these questions (and he never seems to answer any legitimate questions from his customers or supporters), I reserve the right to not care.

So instead of presenting answers (I've been trying since 1993 to figure out why the Orioles do what they do), this time I'll simply present rhetorical questions.

Why did you trust your ownership brethren to not betray you by granting D.C. a team after you betrayed them during the strike of 1994?

Why didn't you push harder for contraction when you led the owners' negotiation team two years ago?

Why doesn't your manager spend any time in this community to at least superficially compete with what Brian Billick has done here?

Ditto your players, especially the ones who take millions of dollars from this community that never return?

Why is Sammy Sosa's head larger than it was 10 years ago?

And what makes you think that a guy who is a confirmed cheater, a reputed steroids user, a pariah in his own city and clubhouse is the answer to your attendance problems?

Why should I be excited about your team when your Opening Day starter was 11-15 with a 5.30 ERA last season and celebrated by spending two full holidays in jail during the offseason?

Why do the 30,000 people in your box score attendance in the morning always seem to look like 16,000 in the stands the night before?

Why don't most free agents ever consider actually playing for the Orioles as opposed to using you as a bargaining chip?

Why weren't the Ravens honored by your family after their championship in 2001 the way the Patriots will be at Fenway Park for the third time come April?

Why hasn't the Blast been honored at your stadium after back-to-back championship seasons?

Why, after years of spending more time courting D.C. customers than Baltimore customers (see your road jerseys), do you think we should bail you out now that those people have turned their backs on you?

Why did you allow your only star player to leave your only organized offseason fan experience early to fly back to the Caribbean to play baseball?

Why do you have two baseball operations leaders when every other franchise has one?

Why should I support your company when Cal Ripken and Brooks Robinson have no interest in supporting it?

Why have you taken something sacred that I loved so dearly and destroyed my passion for it?

Why don't you run the team in a customer-friendly fashion and give us back some pride or just sell the team and do something else enjoyable with your money?

Until announcing last week that he was leaving the air to devote his time to radio station business, Nestor Aparicio was a longtime sports talk host on WNST (1570 AM).

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