- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2000

It is time for Peter Angelos to borrow a page from the Ray Kroc school of baseball ownership.

Kroc, who built the McDonald's fast food empire, was the Padres owner in the early 1970s who once grabbed a microphone in the stadium and apologized to all San Diego fans for the way his team was playing.

Angelos needs to do that. He needs to come out of his glass-enclosed luxury box and come down into the stands and apologize to Orioles fans but not for his team.

He needs to apologize for himself.

He needs to apologize to Orioles fans for taking a team that contended for a pennant and destroying it through his own petty jealousies. The team he spent $81 million on this year is 17-25 and has lost 15 of its last 17 games.

He needs to apologize to Orioles fans for taking so much of their money for the past three years and wasting it. If you have been paying high prices for tickets at Camden Yards for the past three years expecting to see a team worthy of those prices, you lose.

He needs to apologize to Orioles fans for driving away some of the most talented men in the game, like Pat Gillick and Davey Johnson.

Gillick is back in town today, as general manager of the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners are in first place in the American League West with a 23-18 record and open a three-game series at Camden Yards.

Angelos needs to apologize to Orioles fans for replacing Gillick and Johnson with the likes of Ray Miller and Syd Thrift.

Thrift, the Orioles' vice president of baseball operations, put together much of this bullpen Mike Trombley, Chuck McElroy, Al Reyes, Buddy Groom a bullpen that has blown 11 saves and lost 10 games.

Angelos needs to apologize to Orioles fans for replacing Rafael Palmeiro with Albert Belle.

Palmeiro spent five years in an Orioles uniform and put together the best five-year run of any player in franchise history 182 home runs and 553 RBI. He has 12 home runs and 34 RBI so far this year for the Rangers, including a homer against the Orioles in Sunday night's 6-5 loss to Texas. He likely will reach 500 home runs and 3,000 hits in a Rangers uniform and probably go into the Hall of Fame as a Ranger.

Belle has five home runs and 24 RBI. By the end of the year, he likely will have 40 of the most irrelevant home runs and 100 of the most useless RBI in baseball. And get this: The Orioles will have to honor Belle when he reaches 400 career home runs (he has 366 to date) in an Orioles uniform. What will they do? Let him curse out the fan of his choice? Line up photographers and give him a bucket of balls and say, "Here, Albert, have a party?"

Angelos needs to apologize for Albert Belle a lot.

He needs to apologize for making Orioles fans pawns in this ridiculous political game he has played with his club's refusal to sign Cuban defectors. Using the Orioles' pursuit of Orlando Hernandez as proof of their interest in Cuban players is a smokescreen and purposely overlooks the fact that Hernandez was available before the Orioles went to Cuba.

He needs to apologize for allowing Fidel Castro to influence the personnel decisions of this franchise.

Now, Peter Angelos will apologize the day that Albert Belle becomes a Dale Carnegie graduate. In order to apologize, first he would have to admit that he is the problem, and that's not going to happen.

Pat Gillick was the problem. Davey Johnson was the problem. Kevin Malone was the problem. Phil Regan was the problem. Ray Miller was the problem. Johnny Oates was the problem. Roland Hemond was the problem. Doug Melvin was the problem. Frank Wren was the problem. You can be sure that Syd Thrift is already a problem. Mike Hargrove is a problem-in-waiting.

Nearly all of these problems are gone. Yet the franchise is worse off than ever a sorry state.

An apology is in order.

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