Over the last two days, the generally friendly Orioles fans have rained boos upon their native son. Mark Teixeira, current Yankee but a Marylander by birth, hasn’t received a very warm welcome in Charm City, and I have to wonder if perhaps the Orioles fans aren’t quite as knowledgeable about the game as I once thought them to be.
This story stretches back to this off-season. Orioles fans pretty much assumed Mark Teixeira would be theirs. Baltimore needed a big star to slot into the middle of their lineup. With an organization stocked with pitching, a stud catcher on the way and some solid pieces in place, Mark Teixeira could have drawn crowds like no Oriole had since the days of Cal, and he would have provided some veteran leadership and offensive pop for the team.
So the Orioles reportedly made a seven-year, $150-million offer to Teixeira. When the dust settled, he signed with the Yanks for one more year and a not-insignificant $30 million more. He also had higher offers on the table from at least the Red Sox and possibly the Nationals and Angels as well.
For his part, Teixeira says the boos don’t bother him. He, after all, as an Oriole fan was booed as a kid in Baltimore for wearing a Don Mattingly jersey to Yankee-Orioles games. I expect to get booed in every single visiting stadium,” Teixeira said. “The Yankees, you love ‘em or you hate ‘em. In Baltimore, you definitely don’t love ‘em.”
But that’s besides the point. The Orioles’ fans are just misdirecting their jeers. Who among them would have eschewed that extra $30 million? Who among them would have turned down another year? Who among them would have objectively picked the Orioles — with no .500 seasons since 1997 — as a winner over the Yankees?
If anything, Baltimoreans should be booing Peter Angelos. He could have had Teixeira for a few dollars more, and Teixeira — a perfect fit anywhere — would have been ideal for a franchise struggling to compete in the AL East while facing declining attendance numbers. So boo Teixeira, Baltimore. He’ll be hearing all over for years to come this year, but good luck with that whole winning thing as long as your team’s current ownership is in place.