Peter Angelos, the owner of the Orioles, must have missed the memo. The one you hear often… the one that says, “It’s the little things.”
Angelos, the owner of the club in Baltimore that is called the Orioles, missed the chance to make a small, yet significant decision, which would have endeared him to what little fanbase he has yet to destroy.
All he had to do was approve of adding “Baltimore” to the Orioles' road jerseys.
This isn’t to say it wasn’t considered. The Orioles contacted MLB before the April 30th deadline, informing them that they were considering the change. But by MLB rules, uniform change requests had to be filed by May 31st.
Angelos missed the date.
To understand why the name “Baltimore” was removed in the first place, you have to look down the road to Washington, DC.
Jerry Hoffberger removed the name just after the Senators moved from DC for the second time to Arlington, TX, where they would become the Rangers. Hoffberger looked to capitalize on the vacuum of the Senators' departure by making the Orioles a regional team.
So, while Jerry Hoffberger gets the honor of removing the name from the jerseys, it is Peter Angelos that took it to another level.
The name Baltimore has been removed from every aspect of the organization in recent years… website… business cards… even how they are listed in the boxscores. No longer does one find “BAL” or “BLT” when leafing through the paper.
The plan has backfired.
The Nationals are here, and are locked in, if not forever, for at least 30 years. If there were ever any DC-area Orioles fans, most were put off by Angelos' non-stop rhetoric trying to stop the Expos from relocating to DC and his blunderous comment where he said, "There are no real baseball fans in DC."
On top of that, front office moves by Angelos have pushed attendance into a downward spiral with the fans in his own core constituency: Baltimore.
Why not embrace your roots?
Why not embrace your market, since Orioles appeal is not “regional” anymore?
Say, the words "Baltimore Orioles?"
Questions only Angelos can answer.
So, another blunder has occurred. Another “might have been."
Maybe next year. Maybe after another losing season. Maybe – just maybe – Angelos will understand that enough is enough. We can dream of the day when we hear, "Here’s to the Baltimore Orioles."
Got something to say about putting the name "Baltimore" back with the Orioles? Don't forget to add your comments. Maury Brown is the founder and president of The Business of Sports Network, of which The Biz of Baseball is a member. He is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and can be contacted here.