Poor Record Sends Orioles To Worst-Ever Attendance At Camden Yards
The Orioles this season had their "lowest attendance" since opening Camden Yards in '92, hindered by a "miserable season of weather" and a franchise-record 115 games lost, according to Jon Meoli of the BALTIMORE SUN. The Orioles attendance mark of 1,564,192 did come over 78 home dates as "opposed to the traditional 81," as several rainouts "resulted in three split doubleheaders that helped depress the total attendance." The only sellout of the season "came with a crowd of 45,469 on Opening Day on March 29" against the Twins. The gross attendance was the Orioles’ lowest since 1,466,426 watched the '78 team at Memorial Stadium. The "per-game average of 20,054 was the lowest" since 19,792 in '82 (BALTIMORE SUN, 10/1). In Baltimore, Eduardo Encina notes yesterday marked "not only the end of the worst season in Orioles history, but potentially the end of an era," as the contracts of both manager Buck Showalter and CF Adam Jones are up. The atmosphere at Camden Yards was "one of mixed sorrow and celebration, a final opportunity to embrace a pair of key figures who helped bring winning baseball back to Baltimore in brighter days" (BALTIMORE SUN, 10/1). Also in Baltimore, Peter Schmuck wrote the Orioles after the '17 season "began to unravel" as the "reality of the looming free-agent exodus and resultant rebuild began to cast a shadow over the clubhouse" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 9/30).
BIG CHANGES AHEAD? In DC, Thom Loverro writes under the header, "MLB Needs An Orioles Franchise That Works." The direction the Orioles ultimately go "may not be decided by the Angelos family." With Chair & CEO Peter Angelos battling health issues, his two sons John and Lou have been running the team, but MLB officials "don’t see that duo as the future of this franchise moving forward." So the Orioles could "be put up for sale" sometime in the "near future." Baseball "doesn’t like business partners that take them to court -- it just isn’t done -- and they have clearly punished" the Orioles for "refusing to initially go along with the panel decision awarding new fees to the Nationals" in a dispute over revenues from MASN. The Orioles have "failed to get consideration in their bid to host another All-Star Game (they last hosted in 1993), their schedules have been burdensome and MLB bosses would like nothing better to have the franchise in other hands." The franchise is "perhaps at its lowest level." And they will "get no help from baseball climbing out of this grave that the Angelos ownership has dug for itself" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/1).