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A tale of two teams: ‘Teletubby’ O’s players are having fun; autocratic ownership wants script approval | COMMENTARY

In less than one week’s time, two distinctly different images of the Baltimore Orioles have been presented to their fans. One is the widely shared photograph of four of the team’s young stars walking through a tunnel at Camden Yards dressed in brightly hued tracksuits that were color-coordinated to match their cyclops-style sunglasses, a look labeled “futuristic Teletubbies.” The other was news that MASN’s Kevin Brown had been suspended from his duties providing play-by-play during Orioles’ TV broadcasts for the past two weeks. Why? Apparently, for daring to acknowledge that the team has been losing quite a few games in recent years — specifically against the Tampa Bay Rays.

We leave to our readers to figure out which event is more temperamentally suited to nursery school.

Ordinarily, we would be inclined to ignore internal disputes within the local baseball franchise, particularly when it’s so unrelated to the product on the field. Brown isn’t a journalist; he’s paid by the Orioles to be an entertainer. But there’s something highly insulting to O’s fans to somehow expect them to have conveniently forgotten that the Birds have been losing games (including at Tropicana Field, where they recorded just two wins against seven losses last season). Does Orioles Chairman John Angelos think Baltimoreans are Balti-morons? One of the joys of the franchise’s turnaround has been the contrast to how they played before — from 47 wins in 2018 to 52 in 2021 to a possible 100-win pace this season. Wasn’t Brown serving that quite enjoyable narrative by pointing out the contrast?

Now compare that with first baseman Ryan Mountcastle and his futuristic Teletubbies. You think he was thinking WWJAS (What Would John Angelos Say)? We don’t recall Brooks Robinson ever dressing up as “Tinky-Winky” or “Laa-Laa” or any of the other plush creatures on the popular BBC children’s show. In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet that none of the veterans of the 1983 Orioles team, who were celebrated last weekend for their World Series victory 40 years ago, have ever plotted to show up in similar suits unless it was the team uniform. But we suspect those guys approved. It isn’t that big a leap from catcher Rick Dempsey (MVP in the 1983 World Series) famously stuffing a pillow in his uniform to do a Babe Ruth pantomime and slide around the infield tarp during a rain delay at Memorial Stadium. They get it.

Baltimore really needs this youthful fun brought to us by Mountcastle, Colton Cowser, Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson — as well as the players who aren’t into futuristic loungewear. It’s not just about the winning.

Although having a healthy lead in the extremely competitive American League East and one of the best records in all of Major League Baseball is nothing to sneeze at, there’s something to be said about how they’ve been doing it. This is not a team of prima donnas and salary disputes, not a franchise carried on the back by big stars. It’s a team of talented young men with veteran support who just seem to mesh well. Just look at MLB statistical leaders. Only Félix “The Mountain” Bautista cracks the top five (in the category of saves). Home runs, runs batted in, pitching victories, earned run average and on and on, those categories are dominated by players from Miami and Philadelphia, San Diego and Los Angeles. Home run king Shohei Ohtani might be the greatest of all time. Yet his Angels are spared the American League West cellar position only by the presence of the godawful Oakland Athletics.

What a joy and privilege for these fellows to be representing Baltimore right now. In a city beset by gun violence, by concentrated poverty, by inequities and a multitude of chronic problems associated with all of the above, isn’t it great to have some good, clean fun? That ownership doesn’t seem to understand this — particularly given its failure to sign a long-term stadium lease, surely a no-brainer considering the sweetheart deal the Maryland Stadium Authority (and taxpayers) have offered the team — remains the biggest drag on a season that many hope will end with a return trip to the Fall Classic.

Baltimore Sun editorial writers offer opinions and analysis on news and issues relevant to readers. They operate separately from the newsroom.


Source: Berkshire mont

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