- The Washington Times - Friday, September 22, 2006

Noble: The fed-up Orioles fans who exited Camden Yards en masse Thursday to protest the team’s ninth consecutive losing season under owner Peter Angelos.

There’s no disputing the hard times this storied franchise has fallen upon in the Angelos years. Time was when Baltimoreans basked in three World Series championships and six American League pennants over 1966 to 1983. They hoped Mr. Angelos would revive the team. It wasn’t to be. Instead, they get high-priced busts like Albert Belle and Sammy Sosa, while division rivals like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox soar to new heights.

Now enter Thursday’s 1,000 fans. Amid a two-run rally in the fourth inning of an eventual 4-3 triumph over the Detroit Tigers — admittedly an ironic game to spoil, since it nearly dropped the Central Division-leading Tigers from first place — the fans filed out of the left-field stands. Their chant: “Sell the team” and “Free the birds.” It happened at 5:08 P.M., in honor of Brooks Robinson (#5) and Cal Ripken (#8).

As Washingtonians, we have our own reasons for disliking Mr. Angelos, who has sought to strangle our nascent Washington Nationals from day one. And granted, it’s tough going in a division where top teams spend $150-200 million. But teams can compete with homegrown talent and careful free-agent signings — just look at Billy Beane’s Oakland Athletics, the Minnesota Twins or this year’s Florida Marlins. Mr. Angelos just hasn’t cut it.

For calling him out, the 1,000 fan-protesters in Baltimore are the Nobles of the Week.

Knave: Hugo Chavez, for unmitigated buffoonery at the United Nations.

Speaking before the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday, the Venezuelan strongman called President Bush “the devil,” saying it “still smells of sulfur” at the podium where Mr. Bush had spoken a day earlier. He called Mr. Bush “the genocide president”; later, “an alcoholic and a very sick man.” Even the ultraliberal Rep. Charles Rangel was outraged. “You don’t come into my country, you don’t come into my congressional district and criticize my president,” thundered one of the congressmen least known for defending President Bush.

At least Mr. Chavez has proven his own idiocy: No one expects that an American dignitary could travel to Venezuela, denounce this thug publicly and expect to get out alive. Things are otherwise in the land of the free.

For showing pomposity to make even Mr. Rangel cringe, Hugo Chavez is the Knave of the Week.

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