The lack of perspective about their short history in the big arena - coupled with the reluctance to acknowledge that every pro team they have moved from somewhere else - makes it hard to take their laments seriously. At the same time, though, there's a little more of a front-runner mindset there than in most places here. I covered the Warriors for most of my time there, and had a team been as bad as they were for as long as they have been here in this area, or anywhere on the Eastern seaboard, there would be rioting in the streets, or at least there would be a daily accounting of how horrendous they are.
Out there, when a team is bad, even for a short time, the locals move on to something else. The nice weather, the pleasant scenery, the vast diversity of cultures and experiences, the obscene mortgage payments, something. I get the sense that it's a badge of honor there to act as if getting bent out of shape over sports, especially over a bad team, is beneath them. Yet when the 49ers or Giants win, all bets are off.
There was a lot to love about living out there, but it was never a truly comfortable fit out there. All things considered, it's fun to just go nuts over your team, as long as you don't get all Auburn Hills about it and start throwing cups and chairs.
Patrick, Crownsville: Do you feel in the long run that Peter Angelos will remain the Orioles owner?
David Steele: Patrick, I think that the best answer lies in the efforts Angelos has made to secure his financial future in case of a team being put in D.C. I don't believe he would have done what he's done over the years to keep a team out of there if he didn't have long-term plans for keeping the Orioles and keeping them here and at Camden Yards. He would not have his sons be so prominent in team management and operations.
This is a great market with great fans, a great history and a great ballpark (and a columnist who isn't very creative in his adjectives right now). He knows it. He may threaten a little, try blackmail occasionally, but business is good enough for him that he has no reason to want to get out of it. Everything he's done appears to be a maneuver to stay in baseball, with the Orioles and in Baltimore, rather than an attempt to bring an end to any of that.
Greg, San Francisco: One question for you and all the media that misses the point of steroids and baseball: What brought baseball back from the abyss of 1994? What put fans back in the stands in love with the game? The McGwire-Sosa home run chase and Bonds later breaking it. These players sacrificed their body for the game. Who's getting cheated here? Not the fans...Not the owners...Just readers who have to suffer empty, psuedo-evangelical sportswriting attempting to masquerade as the ultimate virtue.
David Steele: Greg, I'd bet I could get such a lengthy list of fans together that would swear that they are, in fact, being cheated by what baseball has become that you'd think twice about your name-calling. A lot of those fans would be extremely upset that the career home run record that was set by Hank Aaron, who achieved that milestone under pressure and abuse and taunts and threats that would push any normal man to the brink of insanity, might be broken by someone who used performance-enhancing drugs to make the job easier.
They might also make the argument that if the only thing that could "save" baseball was a surrender to drugs that artificially enhance power and skew the statistics being compiled out of proportion, then the game wasn't worth saving. Hey, the NBA is having attendance and image problems, so why not lower the baskets to nine feet, make the ball smaller and revoke the rules about traveling and three-seconds? That might "save" the game, right? So what if Wilt and Dr. J and Michael Jordan did it one way, and the current group of players get to have it easier because fans want more points and more dunks? The only ones who won't like it are the empty, pseudo-evangelistic sportswriters. Oh, and people who have respect for the history of the game.
After the strike, baseball could have earned back the respect it once had by simply making sure it never again gutted the World Series and its own credibility over how to split a $2 billion pie. Instead, the owners and the players reduced their own credibility by being complicit in this steroid situation. I admit, I was fooled by the home-run chase, and I argued endlessly that today's players weren't getting credit for the possibility that they might just be better than the players in Babe Ruth's day, and Willie Mays' and Hank Aaron's. In fact, I was one of the ones defending Bonds, thinking that the media made him a scapegoat because he has been so uncooperative during his career (which still isn't out of the question as a factor in his being singled out).