• Sep

    Protest Brings Life to the Yard

    An interesting evening at the yard, huh?


    Say what you want about the Nestor’s protest, but it certainly got more attention and play then most observers thought. Not only did ESPN, CNNSI, and Sportsline run pieces before the event, the AP had a piece out on the wire and leading the sports news on Yahoo just minutes after the last fan had left park.


    The debates have raged on our message board and of course on all the local radio shows over the merits of the protest. Some believed it was nothing more than a publicity stunt for WNST or even for Nestor himself. Knowing that the guy can barely get half a sentence out without name dropping a local sports celebrity he hung out with or without dropping a “me” into his thought, its easy to see why folks could think that. But let’s be clear here, the guy does care and he cared enough to do something about it.


    Will this change anything on how the O’s are run? Not as long as Angelos is running things it won’t, but the amount of coverage this thing got at least made Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Flanagan change tunes.


    Earlier in the day, Sean Welsh of The Examiner ran a piece in which Flanagan was quoted as saying ““If anything, I think it may have a negative effect on the players. That’s the thing that I’m most bothered by.” He then went on and said, “They may not say it publicly, but they’re (Oriole players) very upset by it,” Flanagan said of the players in the Orioles’ clubhouse. “I just think you don’t want your fan base turning against you.”


    Flanagan addressed the press outside of the locker room after the game and had a much different take. “They showed a lot of passion and exuberance,” Flanagan explained about the fans. “We share that passion. They want to win and we want to win. It reminded me of the 70s and 80s. Hopefully, we're headed in that direction in the off season,” he added.


    As for the players, Miguel Tejada reportedly gestured twice to the crowd in the left field upper deck and Chris Gomez’s comments in Welsh’s Friday morning article in The Examiner seems to contradict Flanagan’s earlier statement that it would affect the players.


    “I’d be frustrated too, if I was a fan,” Gomez told the Examiner. “We’re definitely trying in [this clubhouse], but I can definitely understand their frustration,” Gomez then added “As players, it’s not going to affect us at all,” Gomez said before the game. “They have their opinions and they’re entitled to them.”


    The one thing that is certain is that everyone is tired of losing. I don’t know if the protest will change anything, and in fact, it probably won’t, but it was nice to hear some life in the ballpark, even if it was for only four and half innings. The “protest” crowd broke into spontaneous cheers without the jumbotron telling them to and it was great to here the old O-R-I-O-L-E-S being yelled out without being led by a person in a bird costume.


    Most of the people I’ve talked with enjoyed their time during the protest. They talked about how it used to be like that back in Memorial Stadium where average Joe’s were making a racket and cheering on the Orioles.


    And you know what? The Orioles won, even if the Orioles magic came after the protesters had departed. A comeback win in September. Just like the old Memorial Stadium days. Too bad it didn’t mean anything.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.