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My letter to Andy MacPhail (re: Millar)


Boy Howdy

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Dear Mr. MacPhail,

I’m writing to express my disappointment with your decision to grant permission to the Boston Red Sox to invite Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar to participate in pre-game activities during the American League Championship Series.

Now, throwing out the first ball is innocuous enough, and perhaps that it all you expected Mr. Millar to do. However, as I’m sure you’re aware he also referred to the Red Sox as “we” on the FOX network and made a crack about “lending” the number 15 he wore in Boston to their second baseman Dustin Pedroia. I’m trying very hard not to overreact to this, but I hope you’re already exploring ways to send Mr. Millar back to Boston, or to Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay…anywhere but Baltimore.

The Orioles franchise brought you aboard to help rid itself of the “culture of losing” that hangs over the ball club like a cloud. Things like Millar’s behavior during the ALCS only reinforce the idea nationally that the Baltimore Orioles are a joke, not to be respected or taken seriously. The New York Mets were prescient enough to refuse permission to the Red Sox to even ask Pedro Martinez to participate. How I wish the Orioles had come to the same conclusion.

Even Terry Francona, the son of former Oriole Tito, seemed a bit perplexed by the chain of circumstances leading to Millar’s presence at Fenway Park. “He’s a member of the Baltimore Orioles. He’s going to be spurring on the Red Sox, and nobody’s going to say a word,” said Francona. Well, Mr. MacPhail, somebody –besides the Orioles most devoted fans- should have said something.

I will continue to root for the Orioles as I have all my life. I grew up in Baltimore, worked for the team as an usher at Memorial Stadium, and my baseball loyalties won’t ever shift. I feel strongly that it sends the wrong message to the fans and the younger players to have a member of the team actively cheering a division rival to a pennant, especially considering he’s paid very well by the Orioles to prevent that same rival from prevailing for six months out of the year.

Thank you for reading.

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Excellent letter. You hit all the major points and said it in a much more level-headed manner than I would've been able to. Millar's actions disgust me and the fact that MacPhail granted him permission speaks to the heart of what is wrong with this organization. They are completely disconnected from what remains of their fan base.

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Looks good to me... I think this is MacPhail's first faux pas. Hopefully he will see this was not a good way to help convince a city he's ready to change the current culture felt by the team, it's fan, and what many people around baseball now feel about the organization.

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Looks good to me... I think this is MacPhail's first faux pas. Hopefully he will see this was not a good way to help convince a city he's ready to change the current culture felt by the team, it's fan, and what many people around baseball now feel about the organization.

Has it gotten that bad?

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Very good letter. That's the kind of letter that encourages whoever's reading it to actually consider what you have to say. I imagine that there will be a few (very few) other letters that actually get mailed to him (you know, with a stamp and everything). The oh-so-angry ones will likely cause people to roll their eyes while they put them in the trash. The petitions where all you do is click on something and add your name, so you can vent? Those get a yawn (if they even know about them, which they probably don't). Your letter is different. You are talking like both a reasonable person and a loyal fan. Excellent job. Top notch.

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http://www.orioleshangout.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1076657&postcount=66

This is what I submitted to the Orioles.com team contact page:

"I would like to express my disappointment with the Orioles' decision to allow Kevin Millar to join in official promotions on behalf of our divisional rivals in Boston. I understand Kevin's enthusiasm for his old team, but it is embarassing to those of us who root for his current team. I hope that Kevin and the Orioles understand that this episode is hurtful to the small, but devoted ranks of Baltimore fans."

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http://www.orioleshangout.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1076657&postcount=66

This is what I submitted to the Orioles.com team contact page:

"I would like to express my disappointment with the Orioles' decision to allow Kevin Millar to join in official promotions on behalf of our divisional rivals in Boston. I understand Kevin's enthusiasm for his old team, but it is embarassing to those of us who root for his current team. I hope that Kevin and the Orioles understand that this episode is hurtful to the small, but devoted ranks of Baltimore fans."

Prolly more likely to be effective (i.e., actually read by somebody) if you go the trouble of sending it in an envelope with a stamp. Internet posts generally don't carry the same weight.

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http://www.orioleshangout.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1076657&postcount=66

This is what I submitted to the Orioles.com team contact page:

"I would like to express my disappointment with the Orioles' decision to allow Kevin Millar to join in official promotions on behalf of our divisional rivals in Boston. I understand Kevin's enthusiasm for his old team, but it is embarassing to those of us who root for his current team. I hope that Kevin and the Orioles understand that this episode is hurtful to the small, but devoted ranks of Baltimore fans."

Golly! The "Orioles" actually wrote back this afternoon. I'm impressed by the quick response (others must be doing the same thing), even if it doesn't exactly quiet all my concerns.

Here's the response:

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Orioles.

As a way of commemorating the Red Sox’ 2004 World Championship, Boston is acknowledging several "Heroes of '04" during first-pitch ceremonies. In addition to Kevin Millar, the Dodgers' special assistant/hitting coach Bill Mueller threw out the first pitch in Game 6 and Giants’ outfielder Dave Roberts is scheduled to throw out the first pitch during the World Series. Boston officials have called other clubs, including the Orioles, to ask permission to use those heroes now under contract with other teams for their special celebrations. The Red Sox asked for and received permission from the Orioles for Kevin to throw out the first pitch before Sunday's Game 7. In addition, Kevin personally checked with Orioles officials to ensure that he was allowed to partake in this special event.

We cannot forget that Kevin Millar was in a lot of ways the heart and soul of that World Series champion Red Sox team back in 2004. Kevin was in Boston as an Oriole, but also as a guest of the Red Sox and as a former Red Sox player. We all must understand his special history with Boston. He was asked to do this by the Red Sox and considered it an honor, and all appropriate requests were made to obtain club permission, which was granted. We would never question Kevin’s loyalty to Baltimore or to the Orioles, and we also would never begrudge Kevin, the Red Sox organization or their fans with this unique opportunity. If the shoe were on the other foot, we would certainly hope, and would expect, that the Red Sox would comply with a similar request made by the Orioles.

We appreciate your loyalty and support for the Orioles. We look forward to seeing you at Camden Yards in 2008.

Sincerely,

XXXXXXXXXX

Communications Assistant

Baltimore Orioles

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