John Angelos wasn’t playing the Big Shot, but the Orioles’ executive vice president was talking about a Matter of Trust when he announced that Billy Joel would play the first concert in Oriole Park’s 27-year history.
“This is the perfect marriage of baseball and live music,” Angelos said Thursday about the July 26th concert. “You want to try and touch people in different ways and give people additional reasons to come to the ballpark.”
In some ways, it’s about being an Entertainer, even when your team is in a massive rebuilding project after a 115-loss season.
“If you can get somebody coming here for Billy Joel … all different genres of music, a lot of those people are baseball fans,” Angelos said. “If you can introduce someone to music through baseball or baseball from music, why wouldn’t you do that? I think you do that in a down year, a middle year or an up year on the field. I think it’s something you do because we’re in the entertainment business.”
He acknowledges that, for some, feeling safe about coming downtown is like a River of Dreams, but for Angelos These Are the Times to Remember.
“It’s more important to fight for a perception than against one,” Angelos said. “It’s good to tell the good story about Baltimore. I know people have been concerned through the years about some of the storylines and some of the realities.
“…I think we should focus on telling all the good stories. Why are so many people coming to Baltimore for all these years? What does Baltimore have to offer?”
Baltimore now has the Piano Man to offer.
“Millions of people are coming to downtown Baltimore,” Angelos said. “The task is to tell the good points, get the story out there and then create events that bring people down, and I think you start to get some momentum the other way on safety as well.”
Angelos didn’t say, I Go to Extremes to explain the timing of the first concert at Oriole Park, but he did say: “In a lot of ways, I think we owe it to the city and the state to work it for all we can and get people down here,”
As Orioles reporter Rich Dubroff wrote in his Diner Question: Last season, Orioles attendance fell to a 40-year full-season low of 1,564,192. Just the Way You Are wasn’t an option.
Angelos recognized that you’ve Got to Begin Again and impressed observers with his hire of 35-year-old Mike Elias to run the club. There is Pressure to avoid taking the Longest Time to rebuild.
In the process, he wanted to illustrate there will be Surprises in remaking the image of the Orioles’ franchise. Sure, it’s a Storm Front now, but there’s an opportunity to build a foundation to last because Tomorrow Is Today.
It’s about Honesty and Keeping the Faith while Elias and manager Brandon Hyde demonstrate that This Is the Time.
The team on the field might be a Half a Mile Away from winning, but Angelos doesn’t want more fans Movin’ Out.
So It Goes that the Ballad of Billy the Kid will be heard on a summer night in Baltimore and maybe Summer, Highland Falls … They say that these are not the best of times but they’re the only times I’ve ever known.
If you happen to see the Uptown Girl downtown, Tell Her About It.
Angelos hopes this is the first of many concerts at Oriole Park. It’s All About Soul, but It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.
Jack Gibbons spent 46 years in sports journalism, including a chunk of that time as sports editor of The Baltimore Sun. Now retired from full-time work, Jack serves as the lead editor and writer for BaltimoreBaseball.com’s “Calling the Pen,” a periodic feature that highlights baseball essays written by the community. If you would like to contribute to ‘Calling the Pen,” send a 750-1,200-word, original piece via email to [email protected] for consideration.