With the news of the bizarre suspension of MASN broadcaster Kevin Brown making national headlines, Nestor Aparicio inks a personal letter to Baltimore Orioles owner John Angelos in #ColumnNes.
This morning, as your franchise sits in the rarefied air of first place in the American League East with the best record in the league and a chance to win a World Series, you have once again reinforced what made the Angelos name famous around Major League Baseball and what it’s always stood for here in Baltimore: tyranny.
Despite years of 100-plus losses, last-place finishes and 1.1 draft picks and now having baseball genius Mike Elias fix the team on the field for the time being – at least until someone needs to be paid a real salary at market rate – the Angelos family tradition of arms and alarms continues in 2023: dysfunctional, incompetent, thin-skinned and always looking to punch down and punish someone or win a petty battle of words beyond the bank account that affords your family the ability to buy anything beyond your wildest dreams.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Your team is worth two billion dollars but the one thing your family fortune will never be able to buy is respect. On the streets of Baltimore, that’s still earned; not demanded.
And you can set up a trust – or buy your way into one – but you’ll never have the trust of your fellow citizens because your word is no good.
The Angelos baseball name signifies “bad faith” in every circle of this city I’ve ever traveled.
As a lifelong baseball fan who was born in this country because I had a cousin who could play a little shortstop, I love the Baltimore Orioles. As a media member who has spent every waking moment since 1984 watching baseball professionally – first with a newspaper notebook, then a radio voice and an FCC license to report truth on my airwaves the past 25 years, I have first-hand experience with your family trying to take away my professional right to do my job 17 years ago after I led “Free The Birds” in September 2006 because I was exhausted by your father’s awfulness, lies and civic losses.
Now, a generation later when the franchise lights have once again been turned on after years in the dark and in total decay by decades of 100-loss seasons and complete irrelevance in the sport, the whole baseball world (led by the New York media, of course, because there are no consequences or retaliation for outsiders) is suddenly screaming: Free Kevin Brown!
A very good baseball team on the field has suddenly awakened real national journalists who don’t kiss your ring for a press credential.
The Mad Dog is mad. Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen has invoked the name and memories and ugly departure of Jon Miller, your old man’s original sin that I fully chronicled in Chapter 5 of The Peter Principles. Buster Olney is (rightfully) telling sniveling Orioles fan boys “I told you so!” And Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay called it “minor league” and you “a small man” and wants MLB commissioner Rob Manfred involved in disciplining you.
Here’s a question I’ve been entertaining since the absurdity of your bluster became public on Monday night: Why in the world would Kevin Brown (or any of the other broadcasters who work for you at MASN) ever come back to your broadcast booth? Why would Brown ever put an orange cartoon bird back on his left chest and put his skills and words and reputation into your stilted microphone and continue to pretend to be a lifelong Orioles fan?
And how did you believe you were going to publicly flog your young, talented broadcaster in front of the whole world without every Orioles fan finding out the truth about why he hasn’t been in the booth for some of the most important games of this generation? It kind of reminds me of how your old man chased Jon Miller off in 1996 and nine months later Miller was sobbing in my studio in front of his daughter after Peter blamed Miller’s wife for his departure to San Francisco. Or how King Peter fired Frank Wren, then didn’t want to pay him and invoked Cal Ripken’s impeccable name for a missed flight to Anaheim as a reason for canning his general manager.
If I didn’t vividly know of the Angelos family tradition of being tone deaf to anything involving kindness or sanity or humanity, I would ask if you were this dense, this out of touch with reality, this obsession with your newfound power to attempt to mute truth and dupe your fans and customers. But I watched the Martin Luther King Day “press conference” where you made a fool of yourself in front of Mayor Scott and created your own “Big Lie” when you sought to intimidate and insult reporter Dan Connolly and promised the Baltimore media that you would invite all of us down to Camden Yards to have a look at your financial records.
You’re a bad faith son left over from a bad faith father. As many in my community have pointed out: the apple hasn’t fallen far from the orange tree.
And your words about not moving the team to Nashville? Worthless without a signed lease.
By the way, I didn’t accuse you of trying to move the Orioles to Tennessee; your brother did, in the court records where you were trying to cut him out of the family baseball business and power and the $2 billion you kids have coming to you when Daddy departs.
Meanwhile, everyone with their eyes open has witnessed all of this utter garbage but still can’t wait for the game to start tonight. Baltimore baseball fans love your baseball team and are running back downtown to give you money and get an Eddie Murray bobblehead now that the team on the field is finally worth our time and effort.
But how can Kevin Brown go back on your airwaves and root for your team, your franchise, your wealth from his soul after treating him this way? And then intimidating everyone else employed at MASN and the Orioles to never speak about what happened on a Chyron with benign graphics with facts and real baseball statistics?
I don’t know how anyone ever takes a job working for you but, thankfully for me, I don’t have to kiss your ass – and never will. Taking a job with you would cost me more than I could afford. My soul and integrity are not for sale, which is why your father always hated me so much and why you hate me even more now.
But Kevin Brown is a young man who needs a job – for now. But, any sane human would surmise that he’s gone the first chance he gets even if he ever comes back. And I’m guessing he’s heard from some real broadcast outlets or teams who don’t seek to intimidate and punish the people who broadcast baseball games and can find a more tenable employment situation where he is no longer treated like an idiot, rented mule.
Peter Schmuck once told me that your father hated everything he couldn’t control and abused everything that he could control. Of course he never wrote that because that would’ve been the end of his press credential. I remembered this on Sunday afternoon when I was listening to 98 Rock and the radio broadcast team never informed me that Jorge Mateo jaked his “triple” that would have easily been an inside-the-park home run if he had run at full speed and not carried the bat to first base gazing at the ball. The radio team lied to me and I only found out 15 minutes later when fans (who were watching the game with their eyes open) were ripping Mateo for watching the ball on social media.
Your institutional ethos has a lot more in common with Vladimir Putin than you realize. But you can rest assured that Melanie Newman and Geoff Arnold got that power threat memo with the Kevin Brown “time out” and they will never, ever tell Orioles fans the truth about any error made by the home team. That way the beer will always be cold, right?
And I’ve known this all along (because I was friends with Mike Flanagan): I’ve been far better off being on the outside than the inside over the years because having a media pass in your building is its own admission of compliance and silence that I could never withstand and stay true to myself, my integrity and my audience.
My mother listened to my show every day. Why would I lie to her? She was the biggest Orioles fan I ever knew. And she died five years ago still asking me why you took my press credentials away and why I stopped going to Camden Yards when I lived two blocks away for two decades.
John, I come to you today from the outside, still exterminated as a credentialed baseball reporter 17 years later. I used to think it was your evil father who held the grudge that exited me from being a “legitimate” reporter and media citizen after he called me a “very insignificant person,” which made me just like every other human with a pulse in his eyes.
But I’ve always known better. It’s you.
It was always you after the Oriole Bird assaulted me back in May 2004 and you refused to pay WNST the $30,000 media bill for the promotion where we sold 1,500 tickets for a Friday night game to give Vladimir Guerrero a hard time in right field for signing with the Anaheim Angels.
Today, the whole world is verifying and reliving the complete batshit civic malfeasance and pettiness that I’ve reported on since 1993 when your family began wrecking the Baltimore Orioles within our community.
You worked your whole life to earn your daddy’s unrequited love and trust and Lord knows he’d be extremely pleased with you this morning! Like father, like son! You gave Kevin Brown “The Angelos Treatment,” just like John Lowenstein, Jon Miller, Mike Bordick and so many others (including Brooks Robinson and Adam Jones) have gotten over the years.
“Lie for me or goodbye to you!”
Or what your father once said to me after his third drink at The Barn back in March 1997 about Hall of Fame broadcaster Jon Miller not bleeding enough black and orange: “Tell it like it is but keep your opinions to yourself!”
The Baltimore Orioles are the best team in the American League and in first place. Your franchise better be headed back to the playoffs for the first time after eight mostly horrific minor league seasons in baseball hell. And this is what the baseball world is discussing as the cheating Houston Astros come to Camden Yards to play meaningful games in August.
The awfulness of the family of Peter G. Angelos and what they’ve done for 30 years to desecrate the Baltimore Orioles – even when they’re winning every night!
This isn’t about how you treat employees or broadcasters or baseball personnel. This is about how you treat people – all people. We saw how you flogged your own brother and shielded yourself with your mother while your father lives out the rest of his life in a bubble and you spend his money. Or pocket it, based on what we’ve seen from the 2023 Baltimore Orioles payroll.
Everyone who works for you or around you have one real job: kissing your ass and making you feel taller and more significant. Like you’ve accomplished something. Like you didn’t wake up on third base believing in your soul and trying to convince us that you’ve hit a triple that we didn’t see – just like all of the beatdowns at Tropicana Field in Tampa that we haven’t seen the past decade that Kevin Brown is never allowed to discuss or you’ll threaten his career and livelihood.
Your family has been a disgrace to our community, to our baseball team, to our civic souls. The Jon Miller fiasco was 26 years ago and you were around for that and had your hands sticky in the rotisserie baseball part of it, too. Just like your fingerprints were on Sid Fernandez and Chris Sabo back when the old man thought you knew something about baseball that Frank Robinson, Doug Melvin and Pat Gillick didn’t know.
I’ve heard all about “Camden Crossing” and all of your bullshit about federal money and your high-paid lobbyists and trips to Atlanta with Wes Moore angling for more wealth off the pubic teat for your family – all after you told me that the team is never leaving as long as the flag of the United States of America is flying over Fort McHenry. Just like I know all about those Cuban (and Dominican) nights in the high flying 1990s and the Fort Lauderdale fun of spring training back in the salad days of three million fans flocking to Camden Yards before your family wrecked our city on summer nights and usurped all of the Washington Nationals money with that sham television network on two channels airing nonstop minor league programming.
Instead of packing Camden Yards to cheer for your baseball team the next eight weeks and into October, the truly astute baseball fans of the Baltimore Orioles should drag your ass down to Annapolis this afternoon before first pitch to sign that lease and take the $600 million of our free money we’re gifting you for your “private” enterprise so you can continue to treat your employees and everyone in your wake like the feces you seem think they represent.
The most prominent word I’ve heard this morning in regard to the Kevin Brown fiasco is “laughingstock.”
And I know you Angelos folks love to play the role of hero even though you never pay the price with any bravery or accountability. I’ve said this many times and it comes from the heart: Baltimore owes you nothing!
But the state of Maryland is offering you four times more than your father paid for the team 30 years ago to sign a sweetheart lease and keep the baseball team in the city that built it on the backs of our parents who funded it.
But maybe this is the embarrassment that forces you to sign the lease you’ve been promising? Or perhaps – and I’m no Kreskin here but there is a litigious trail – you’ll just dig in even further with your attorneys like you did against your only brother and fight Wes Moore and Annapolis and the federal government and Kevin Brown and anyone else that gets in the way of your vision of further enriching yourself while bullshitting everyone else who wears an orange bird on their heads about actually helping a city you abandoned and have no interest in truly being a part of resurrecting.
Hey, the Baltimore Orioles are in first place. You can get away with anything you want right now, right? You think that a World Series parade will make you a hero! Your father always believed that.
Your franchise can treat everyone and every business in its wake like trash but when the Orioles win, we’ll all coming running back waving our credit cards and you’ll treat us like the ATM you’ve used our cable television bills for since 1993.
John, you will never be a real hero here in Baltimore – but you can be at least for one day.
Go sign the lease. Go be a real man and tell the citizens that the Orioles are here for good and that your lousy brother was lying about you wanting to move the team to Nashville to maximize its profit potential.
You wanna be a civic hero? You wanna be the big man in the city of your baseball franchise and your former home: march your ass down to Annapolis and sign the lease.
And if you think you’re going to move the Orioles, just try it. I was here for Irsay. I was here for your deviously awful old man. I’ll be here for you, too!
Even though I’m the angriest and most bitter of all of our citizenry when it comes to your family’s despicable treatment toward me and my family (especially the part where you refused us entrance when we were doing an unprecedented #GiveASpit charity baseball tour in 30 parks in 30 days after my wife almost died in her first of two leukemia battles), the fans here won’t need me to do a “Free The Birds” campaign this time to get further activated to rebel and hate you more than they already do.
This Kevin Brown thing has put you right where you were always destined to be: Daddy’s little boy!
Sign the lease. Or endure the consequences.
The Baltimore Orioles fans aren’t going anywhere. And they aren’t gonna forget this Kevin Brown coming-out-party for your integrity.
P.S. And give me back my rightful press pass, you petty billionaire thug!