OK, so I had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with it on Monday afternoon, that noise emanating from the bowl of Camden Yards.
I was a thousand miles away, sitting in a holding tank for the media at The Breakers watching the Florida Marlins and New York Mets here in Palm Beach, Fla. when Aubrey Huff came trotting down the orange carpet to a cascade of well-deserved “boos.”
(For the record, I have not commented on Aubrey Huff or written about him, really, since November when I made a bet with Drew Forrester that he wouldn’t make it to Opening Day as an Oriole. Obviously, I think it’s a disgrace that the team “allowed” him to remain an Oriole. But I digress…)
And all of the subsequent “boos” with every at bat on Monday made my heart fill with that “where have you gone Reggie Jackson?” kinda feeling. That feeling that there might STILL be a heartbeat left and a modicum of pride left in being a “Baltimore” sports fan, even after Alan Wiggins and John Elway are long gone.
Good for you Baltimore!
Maybe we true Orioles fans – old and new — ALL DO have something in common, beyond the common sense that Huff obviously lacks in how the real world operates.
Because he lives in “Fantasyland” (otherwise known as “down here in Florida”) with his hefty salary and lively off seasons, Huff apparently got a severe and surprise dose of “Balmer” reality Monday at Camden Yards and I say to ALL of you who went to the game and let your voices be heard: “WAY TO GO!”
He deserved to be viciously booed and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings to see him get booed until he leaves Baltimore or until the time that he does what seems to be so hard for him to do: apologize.
And I mean REALLY apologize, and MEAN it, like a stand up guy who deserves to be lauded with “cheers” from a community that contributes daily and greatly to how he feeds his family.
I don’t mean that “love in” and dog and pony show from a few months ago with Roch Kubatko and Anita Marks on the “flagship” when he did everything BUT apologize for his words and their deeper meaning and his sheer lack of respect for his financial good fortune and our good community.
He went almost so far to say that he would go on Bubba The Love Sponge’s show again and do it all over again. It was quite a half-hearted apology and his lame “it was a joke, I was only kidding” statement makes a further fool of him, and obviously, no one bought into that malarkey anyway.
Not once Melissa Midwest showed up and the “snatch art” began.
Huff found out yesterday that we’re not as a stupid as we look. And we’re not as stupid as he sounded that afternoon on the “Bubba The Love Sponge” show.
But once again, I have to wonder what the owner’s commitment to the community here is in regard to the word “Baltimore,” when the franchise refuses to put the city’s name on the jersey or letterhead yet could put a guy’s name in their Opening Day starting lineup whose offseason words were probably the most hurtful thing a sports fan can hear from anybody, let alone a guy who allegedly represents the team and the community and wears the city’s hat:
YOUR (town, city, state, metropolis, school, team) SUCKS!
Other than a personal attack, there’s NOTHING worse than someone telling you that your (town, city, state, metropolis, school, team) sucks or is subpar. It’s almost a declaration of war, from a sports fan standpoint.
I know most fights in the upper deck of a Ravens game start when Fan A tells Fan B that Pittsburgh sucks. Or vice versa.
So, when he hit the field on Monday during the introductions, I wonder what in the world he was thinking he WOULD hear after all of the things he said and never truly apologized or backed down from?
And he’s had FIVE MONTHS to make it right, fix things, REALLY apologize and do something about it.
Or, he could take public relations lessons from his owner, Peter “Mr. Invisible” Angelos, who chooses to employ Huff’s tactics almost daily:
- Pretend it didn’t happen and that it wasn’t that bad.
- Go on a state-run radio or TV station and field questions from a sympathetic audience and be half-hearted (if not disingenuous) at best with his explanations.
- Then, go on with the offseason as though it never happened and never field any true questions about it because the media asking him questions happens to have the same essential boss as him
- Show up on Opening Day and think that it’s just going to “go away”
Unless Huff wants to be terrorized at home all season (and I’m personally planning on booing him at every at bat from the cheap seats when I go beginning on Thursday night), he should find a way to apologize and make amends or live with the consequences.
I still think the franchise should be the MOST embarrassed by this whole fiasco, which was never really brought into full light by the local media outside of WNST.
And I assure you that if he gets peppered with boos by the crowd at home in every game at every at bat, it WILL get old for him. (And I bet he hasn’t even heard any of the good stuff from the on deck circle yet about his afternoons on the road in hotel rooms!)
And Andy McPhail and the ownership of the team should take some responsibility for putting him back on a field in Baltimore in the same jersey that Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken once wore with pride and distinction. It’s their fault too, because Huff has never been formally reprimanded by the franchise, and that’s part of the problem with the organization: setting the bar far too low on what the community should accept.
The team got its just desserts on Monday with those swaths of empty seats upstairs for Opening Day.
But if Aubrey Huff is TRULY a “stand up” guy, he’d apologize and make things right.
He would donate some of that “extracurricular” money to a worthwhile charity here in the community that he insulted, which is literally biting the hand that feeds.
He might want to consider volunteering some of his “adult cinema time” to our community. He apparently has plenty of time (as well other things) on his hands. And he doesn’t watch a lot of baseball game film, from what he told us. Maybe he could do a charity country music concert and sing a few notes for us, since he clearly has a love for country music.
Maybe guys like Aubrey Huff should pitch in to make Baltimore NOT be such a “horseshit” baseball city. Maybe he should stop pointing and grinning at the problem, and offer to be part of the solution?
But when you go on a no-holds-barred radio show and order Red Bull and vodkas, and pop off about how much you hate the town you play baseball in, and then do an hour of sex talk with an internet porno queen, well, you get what you get when Opening Day rolls around.
Or in your case on Monday, Aubrey, what you deserve. And that’s the ONLY thing you said that’s made any sense to me. You DEFINITELY deserved it on Monday and will continue to get it until you do something about it!
You make $6 million a year.
You’re supposed to stand for something and you play and represent OUR hometown.
Until you apologize and talk about making the city a better place, I will be in the upper deck booing your ass with pride, conviction and full voice. And if you think “playing well” makes it right (another franchise credo…just win and they’ll love us) I’ll boo you even louder when you hit a home run.
And you said it best yourself: because you DESERVE it!
Meanwhile, while Huff was licking his wounds on Monday night I was sitting around a pool in Florida fielding all kinds of really cool questions about Baltimore and its history from John Harbaugh and his wife, Ingrid, who really want to KNOW Baltimore.
The Harbaughs want to know about the history of Baltimore and its sports and the legends and the stories of the Orioles, Colts and Ravens. Ingrid is actually a huge Detroit Tigers fan and spoke with great pride about their resurgence, how much she loves Curtis Granderson’s “old school” stirrups and her love for sitting at a baseball game and keeping score.
John Harbaugh “gets it.”
Aubrey Huff does not.
In general the Ravens “get it.” In general, the Orioles do not. (And those in The Warehouse HATE when we compare the franchises, but every fan and business owner in the city does so they shouldn’t be so surprised.)
And Huff is making three times the amount of money that Harbaugh will make this year.
And you wonder why baseball is a mess?
I’d love to hear Huff apologize and offer to make Baltimore a better place. I was always a big Aubrey Huff fan when he was a Tampa Bay Devil Ray. I even told him so when I went to his press conference last year before I was banned from The Warehouse and all related team media functions.
If he apologized, did some community service, became a good citizen here in our hometown, I’d really have a lot of respect for that and so would the people and the fans of the Orioles.
But I know, now I’M THE ONE living in “Fantasyland”…
See ya at the Wharf Rat tomorrow night. I’ll be there before 5. We’ll all go to a ballgame together and hang out in the upper deck and have fun!
It’s supposed to be in the upper 40s. Bring a coat and hat!