Orioles Magic and 666: The Number of The East


It’s been six years and six days since we launched the “Free The Birds” campaign to speak out about the awfulness that the Baltimore Orioles had become under the stewardship of Peter G. Angelos. Coincidentally, today the Orioles “magic number” to clinch a playoff berth in the American League is 6.

It’s absolutely astonishing that we’re going to the Ravens’ fourth game of the season tonight and the Baltimore Orioles are playing meaningful baseball games every night. It’s almost awkward and overwhelming, the energy we’re all feeling for sports in our community.

So as 70,000 gather downtown and bring the purple love for the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens on national television, has all been forgiven and “fixed” according to the customers of the Baltimore Orioles?

If you’re counting the tens of thousands of empty seats this “Orioles Magic” show has played for over the last month you’ll see that the franchise and the 2012 Orioles still have a long way to go to undo the untold damage to the psyche of its own fan base. Even worse, there are many potential baseball fans who are unaware – or uninterested – in coming back to the ballpark and soaking in the love of Birdland, which right now is just about the happiest place on earth.

Fill in any reason you’d like: price, distance, inconvenience, HDTV, love of Jim Hunter, blah, blah, blah.

Bottom line: it ain’t a tough ticket.

I’ve never stopped going to Orioles games. I’ve been to eight games a year every year since 2003 when they proved to be awful business partners and 2006 when they took away my press pass (I’m the only person in history of Baltimore media to be “banned” from Orioles games). People give me free tickets and I use them.

I’ve flown to Sarasota twice to see them play in spring training. I’ve seen the Orioles play in New York three times a year every year for 8 years. I’ve seen them play in Boston, New York, Cleveland, Tampa, Philadelphia.

I’ve been going back to the ballpark this month and I’ve reached into my wallet to do it.

I purchased two tickets for the Cal Ripken Statue Thursday night extravaganza. I bought four tickets for this Monday’s DH for $4 each. I checked the credit card receipts. I spent $18.80. Because of the scarcity of the Ripken tickets, it cost us $47.80 for a pair of standing rooms that we turned into sitting rooms in the back row of Sec. 380.

My total investment in the Orioles so far in 2012? That’s right: $66.60.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter or @WNST on Twitter, you know that I’m at the ballpark because I’m sending up pictures, observations, analysis and some dark humor.

I turned down offers for free tickets the past two nights because I had other obligations for work.

I woke up early on Saturday morning and chased down a pair of tickets to every postseason game the Orioles could play this October. And then I realized that I’ll be in Kansas City for the Ravens’ game next weekend.

And I have to ask myself the same question many Baltimore sports fans are asking themselves – am I a bigger fan of the Orioles or the Ravens? And if I had to pick just one…???? Hmmm…

I’m asking Baltimore sports fans these questions all month here in our GREAT BALTIMORE MEDIA SURVEY. Take it for a chance to win a trip to Cleveland in November!

For me choosing between the Orioles and the Ravens is like picking between whether you love your


  1. Disagree on the luck part. Bad run differential caused by Arrieta,Matusz and Hunter in rotation and injuries to Markakis and Hammel in July. Since Aug 1st run differential is plus 54 and that’s playing NY,TB,Det and Chi a combined 18 times

  2. I don’t think this team is lucky, but I agree with most of your article. Was looking at the Bromo Seltzer tower last night and I was wondering why not use Orange lighting since the O’s are playing?

    The O’s have 14+ yrs of making up to do with this city and one great season will not change people’s attitudes.

  3. I agree with mostly everything you’ve said, esp the tailgating! I am a die hard Orioles fan and do everything I can to see as many games as poss. from central pa. Normally that amounts to somewhere between 3-10 games a year which says a lot seeing as how they cost me between $200-$300 per game. But I live a lot close to Pittsburgh and I love Baseball so I see games in Pittsburgh as well. The pregame atsmophere in Pittsburgh is 1000 times better than Baltimore. It’s a great time drinking and partying before the games and there is suprisingly less crime than one would think! It’s about having a good time not causing trouble. It seems that its not only not promoted in Baltimore but its discouraged and even banned. My final statement is if you want the people to come out LET THEM HAVE FUN! LET THEM PARTY A LITTLE BEFORE THE GAME! They seem to know the concept for ravens games.

  4. With all due respect Nestor, I find this article to be hypocritical. I agree with your premise: The Orioles should be doing more, if nothing else based on the idea that you can always be doing more and better. I think the Orioles have been doing a pretty good job of being more involved in the community, which is saying something because they have always been very involved in the community.

    But you know who could be doing a lot more, mainly because this person has spent so little on the Orioles? You. I appreciate the fact that you’ve led bus trips to Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. However, consider this: each of the people who went on one of your bus trips spent more to go on that trip than you have spent on the Orioles all year. Your hatred and disdain for Peter Angelos has driven you to the point that you would rather give money to the Yankees and Red Sox than the Orioles. You have the power to do so much to help the Orioles, but you are doing virtually nothing when you consider how much you could be helping them and supporting them. Talking about them isn’t enough Nestor. It’s time for people like you to rally support for the Orioles.

    Put aside the past Nestor. The Orioles have proven repeatedly this season that they don’t care about the past, they care about now. Why can’t you do the same?

  5. The tailgaiting thing has something to do with the agreement with Maryland Stadium Authority doesn’t it? I don’t see why tailgating couldn’t be allowed at, say, 10 home games throughout the season, roughly the same amount as the football season. Why not allow tailgating at Opening Day, most Sundays, and other high profile games if the team is in a pennant chase?

  6. not until the o’s and the ravens play each other do i need to choose between them. until then, there’s no reason for a baltimore fan not to feel entitled to root for both teams.

    that said, it’ll take more than this season to erase the bitterness over lord peter angelos’ lousy behaviors. but winning is a great start. keeping lord peter locked up in the broom closet would also help.

  7. More Hypocrisy and Band Wagon Jumping. Boasting about bus trips is so shallow. They are part of the business model for the radio station. Unless they are done “at cost” and no profit is made, then Nestor can crow about being a supporter of the team. In an complete reversal of “The Godfather” it is “personal, not business”. With every appearance on radio and EVERY single blog entry highlighting “mistreatment” by the O’s management how can any rational person think otherwise? If I am listening to Drew’s show, I know that every time Nestor chimes in he will go to his talking points. They are stated the exact same way EVERY single time, is there a teleprompter in studio?

    I find it humorous to the delusion(in Nestor’s mind) that Peter Angelos has any thought about him at all. A grand conspiracy against a small station that in traditional measurables has little impact is ludicrous. That is your mountain to climb and not that all of your competition is spreading lies about your “ratings”. Always blaming others speaks to an inherent weakness of what you want to accomplish. Look in the mirror and think about all of the people you have fired(and brag about that fact as well) before casting stones about how the O’s have treated people. Intimating that Flanagan’s problems may lay at the feet of Angelos is bordering on some dangerous ground.

    Now laying claim that your heart is torn between two loves is nuts. Since the Ravens have come to town they also have been part of the equation(business, not personal) in promotion of the radio station. You cater to and pander to them because you need them. Baseball(due to it being an everyday thing) has never lent itself to “guys in the community” like football. Totally different animals. And to have access to players, again not really part of how baseball has ever been done. Baseball players are way different than other team sports, most are too cool for school types, the play of the game lends itself to that. it is generally not communal(hitting and pitching are solitary acts). Baseball may need to change, but to say that the Oriole Management is doing to you in particular is disingenuous.

    Get off the talking points, it is so tired and trite. Nobody cares if you go or not, but to beat on the same drum over and over and over again accomplishes nothing.

  8. With 6 games remaining DON’T count on the Red Sox rolling over. They would like nothing better to have PAY-BACK from what happened last year. Knocking the O’s out of the playoffs would make there pitiful year worth while.

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