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1000 angry Orioles fans walk out in protest against ownership

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Orioles protesters walk out on team

By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer

September 21, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Nearly a thousand disgruntled Orioles fans walked out of Baltimore's game against Detroit en masse on Thursday, culminating a demonstration aimed at team owner Peter Angelos.

A majority of the protesters wore black T-shirts that read "FREE THE BIRDS," and many carried signs that had "For Pete's Sake" on one side and "Free the Birds" on the other.

They filled parts of six sections in the upper deck, then walked out in the middle of the fourth inning at precisely 5:08 p.m. -- in honor of former Oriole stars Brooks Robinson (No. 5) and Cal Ripken (No. 8).

The group walked in line through the lower deck before departing.

Baltimore is in the midst of their club-record ninth consecutive losing season, all of them under the leadership of Angelos, who gained control of the franchise in 1993.

"We are here to show our dissatisfaction with his role, and some of the stupid decisions he has made," said 43-year-old fan Eric Hunter. "We want someone in there who will spend the money to do the things that will bring the fans back."

Angelos defended the fashion in which he runs the team, which last reached the playoffs in 1997.

"Whoever joins that protest has no comprehension of what it costs to run a baseball team," Angelos said in a telephone interview from his law office in Baltimore. "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.

"Our payroll is $75 million, and our ticket prices average $22. Some of the teams we compete against charge an average of $45," Angelos said. "We're going to have to match the competition. How to do that is a decision I will make in the future."

The rally was organized by Nestor Aparicio, owner of radio station WNST-AM and the nephew of former Oriole shortstop Luis Aparicio.

"We have a chance to make a memorable civic statement about how we, as fans, are fed up with the embarrassment that the Orioles have become," Aparicio said.

"He is a very unimportant person who has delusions of grandeur," Angelos said. "To begin with, to leave in the middle of the game is an abuse of the players who have worked hard and played their hearts out."

Aparicio spoke beforehand of bringing in between 3,000 fans and 10,000 fans, but the group fell far short of that amount. Still, they made their presence known by chanting and rooting for the Orioles from well before the game started.

Raymond Burke, 54, wore a dark suit over his black "FREE THE BIRDS" shirt.

"This is all part of my kids having the experience that I had as a kid coming to the games -- of experiencing the great teams and teams that meant something to the community," he said.

STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS

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Angelos killed a once proud franchise, with tried and true fans.

A ####### shame.

I grew up on Oriole games. I watched Eddie Murray win a game capping a huge comeback in the 9th. Watched Cal when he was one of the most talented SS ever - and it had nothing to do with a streak (cause the streak wasnt much of one, yet). Doug Desinces (sp?) and Al Bumbry, John Lowenstein for a bit even - those days at Memorial Stadium, and the blue collar fans that surrounded made Baltimore one great place to watch a ballgame.

Now, the new park is AMAZING. But sadly, that is the reason to go see the games, because what Angelos has done to this team is a disgrace.

Yeah, spend a ####### billion on Albert Belle and then give up altogether when that plan (predictably) fell on its face.

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They BOUGHT tickets to the game and then walked out? Thats really sticking it to the man!

That will show him :lmao:

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