An op-ed by former Oriole Brady Anderson in defense of club owner Peter G. Angelos published Tuesday on baltimoresun.com generated a tremendous response, with about half of the readers glad that someone is finally sticking up for the O's owner and the other half saying Mr. Anderson has it all wrong. Here are some highlights from Mr. Anderson's article:
"I find it laughable that someone who has achieved the type of success that enables one to purchase a Major League Baseball team can be casually dismissed by many as a 'meddler.' I have never understood this complaint of meddling; he owns the team. Indeed, this idea runs counter to the way that just about every other business in the world is run.
"... Two years ago, a valid argument could have been made against Mr. Angelos, and I am certain that he too would have acknowledged that the front office lacked stability. However, with the arrival of Andy MacPhail, one of the most respected men in baseball and the owner of two World Series rings, this criticism is off the mark as well. According to MacPhail, Angelos has given him full latitude to run the club.
"... I know Peter Angelos, and I have always considered the attacks on him unfair and malicious."
Here's some of what readers are saying:
People are too quick to blame
It seems in life that when the chips are down, people are quick to point fingers. Mr. Angelos makes an easy target, since he chooses to remain in the background and let his baseball management be in the forefront. I agree with Brady Anderson that Mr. Angelos has gotten a bad rap for the Orioles' troubles. That's not to say he hasn't made mistakes, but he has done a lot of right. Had he not bought the club when he did, do you think the Orioles would still be a Baltimore franchise?
People are always looking to blame someone for failures; yes, when you fail, you must seek the cause and correct it. In the case of the Orioles, it was more a case of not having the right baseball minds controlling the organization for a long period where we stopped developing our own players from the bottom up and sought to take a shortcut and bought someone else's seeming success. We have finally gone back to what Baltimore baseball was known for - developing sound players from the ground up who play baseball the right way - the "Oriole Way."
The buck stops at the top
As with any business in the United States, the owner is responsible for all things good and bad. Just ask President Obama. Thirteen years of losing seasons in baseball is laughable. Just imagine the outrage if Baltimore's largest employer reported 11 consecutive years of net losses. The CEO and the board of directors would be run out of town on a rail.
The only thing Mr. Angelos is interested in by owning the Orioles is making a profit. If he really cared about winning, he would have figured out how to do it by now. He is obviously an intelligent person. Do you think his law firm would have been as successful if he put the caliber of talent in it that he puts on the baseball field? The bottom line is profit. The Orioles reported the second highest profit in MLB in 2008 and we all know the final results of that season. Couldn't he have taken some that $98 million in profit and signed some big time free agents?
O's headed in the right direction
It's kind of hard to be mad at Angelos these days with the team looking like it's heading very much in the right direction. Brady makes a good case, and he didn't even mention that Angelos was the only owner who refused to field a team of replacement players during the baseball strike. I've always had a lot of respect for Angelos for doing that.
Baltimore deserves better
While I too thought that Sports Illustrated naming Mr. Angelos the worst owner was a bit much (considering there were plenty of names on that list who were much more deserving), I would never say he was one of the best owners. Not even close. Taking into account his body of work from the last 10 years, you have no choice but to put him in the bottom five of the worst owners in baseball.