After a few months’ hiatus, Talking Baseball is back in action. Bookmark the site, add the RSS feed to your favorite feed reader, check back often and comment. We’ll start with everyone’s favorite owner: Peter Angelos.
Today, over one thousand Orioles fans walked out of the Orioles-Tigers game at 5:08 p.m. to protest what they viewed as Peter Angelos’ inept management of the team. Angelos disagreed.
“Whoever joins that protest has no comprehension of what it costs to run a baseball team,” Angelos said in an interview with the AP. “When you get down to facts, putting together a team that can compete in the AL East means having a payroll between $100-$110 million. That money comes from the consumer, and I have chosen to keep ticket prices to a minimum.”
I that is, to mince words, a load of crap. Let’s look at some payroll numbers.
The Orioles have a payroll, according to ESPN, of $72,585,712. That is 15th among all 30 clubs and 7th highest in the American League.
Of the seven AL teams that pay their players less overall than the Orioles, five of them have better records. The other two are the Royals and the Devil Rays.
I don’t know what Angelos’ finances look like, but from this very rudimentary study, I can tell you that he is full of it. The Blue Jays, with a $71 million payroll, were fairly competitive in the AL East throughout most of the summer. The A’s, with a payroll of $62 million, are just three games worse than the Yankees.
As much as Angelos doesn’t want to admit it, it’s not about the costs of running a baseball team. It’s about putting good people in the front office who know how to use their limited resources to put a competitive product on the field, and it’s about putting your faith in those people and letting them do their jobs. As long as Angelos continues to spout of rhetoric about the costs of running an MLB team instead of addressing his team’s shortcomings, these Orioles’ protesters’ actions will be for naught.