"He's very interested in the team, and I believe he takes great pride in the younger players who have developed here," Duquette says. "I can't speak for him, but I know that he's enjoyed the team being in the pennant race. You know, his focus is on the fans and the community. To the extent that we can give back to the fans and connect with the fans, I think that's very gratifying to Mr. Angelos."
Duquette describes an owner who barely resembles the man once derided for overruling his baseball executives and rashly pursuing faded free agents.
"He's been very supportive in encouraging us to find solutions," Duquette says. "That kind of environment, where it's, 'OK, we tried this, it didn't work,' to have that kind of support, it's a good thing. It's good to have that support where if things don't work out, you go try something else."
Changes at Camden Yards
As well as the 2012 season has gone on the field, the franchise's off-field moves have drawn nearly as much praise.
Camden Yards opened for its 20th anniversary with a significant facelift, including a lowered wall in rightfield and an open-air bar in centerfield that was packed on Opening Day and has remained so for much of the season. The Orioles combined with the Maryland Stadium Authority to fund the updates.
They were just the appetizer for a main course of six statue unveilings that drew sellout crowds and reminded fans and players of the emotional connections running through the club's history. The honorees — Frank and Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. — all made a point of thanking Angelos for the celebrations. And associates say he took a personal hand in demanding that each statue evoke the spirit of the person depicted.
Louis Angelos says many fans have come up to him to offer thanks for the statues. One man from Atlanta approached him at Monday's game and said he had flown his father in to attend the Sept. 29 ceremony for Brooks Robinson.
"He said it was the most special memory he could have shared with his dad," Louis Angelos says. "But he also said, 'You know, it's been a struggle for us to remain as Orioles fans.' And I said, 'I hear you. It's even more pronounced for us, because we're fans first, but we also know it's on us.'"
Louis Angelos recalls how moved he was to see Robinson accepting the honor as Boog Powell looked on with a little kid's grin and as emotion overcame the usually gruff Weaver.
"That's one of the most special moments in the history of the organization," he says.
Despite all the fun of this season, the story of Peter Angelos remains a mixed one for many Orioles fans. There's little question they have dialed down their vitriol toward the owner, but many say they have not forgiven him for the club's long downturn.
"I think with the job Buck and Dan have done, it really has put the Angelos talk on hold," says Vernon Hallis, a Carroll County geometry teacher who has loved the Orioles since he was a boy in the 1960s. "I don't hear people talking better about him. I just don't hear anybody talking about him at all."
Questions still abound for Chad Ellis, a Baltimore tavern owner who has attended almost every game in recent weeks.
"Why did this process take so long?" Ellis wonders. "How can he go from a meddling micro-manager, with no aptitude for baseball success to turning everything to gold? Are all the new personalities in the warehouse strong enough to keep him at bay? Has he changed his personal philosophy in his 80s? I don't know. The jury is still out."
Few Orioles lovers have wrestled with Angelos' legacy more than Terry Cook, a Parkville native who attended more than 30 games this year but also led a movement of disgruntled fans known as "Occupy Eutaw Street."
He started the group after Toronto Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava turned down an offer to lead the Orioles' baseball operations last fall. Arizona Diamondbacks executive Jerry Dipoto had also resisted the club's interest, taking over the Los Angeles Angels instead.
"For me, it was just the culmination of a lot of years of frustration," says Cook. "The general manager search just showed how bad things were. There are only 30 of those jobs in the world and to have two people turn it down? We had to let him know how disappointed we were as fans."
The group's logo features a despondent cartoon bird with the word "No" on his cap. For most of the year, Cook wore a t-shirt to games that said "Stop lying to us, Peter" on the back.
Starting to believe?
As the team's fortunes improved, more and more fans confronted Cook and asked why he had to be so negative. One pelted him with peanuts.
He felt torn, loving the club's magical run but remaining unconvinced that anything had really changed. "We're catching lightning in a bottle," he says. "This isn't the culmination of what's happened over the last 10 years."