February 25, 2017

Partisan Orioles Exec Wouldn’t Want Trump Throwing Opening Day First Pitch

Earlier this week, Baltimore Orioles executive vice president and chief operating officer John Angelos said that he wouldn’t want President Donald Trump to throw out the first pitch at his team’s Camden Yards home opener until Trump “retract(s) all these outrageous things that have been said and simply apologize(s).”

Most coverage of this story has failed to report that Angelos’s father Peter is a longtime, heavy-contributing Democratic Party operative, while no one has questioned John’s disingenuous claim of non-partisanship.

As far as I can tell, Trump has expressed no interest in being involved, which would indicate that John Angelos’s statement was a virtue-signaling, attention-seeking gambit.

Of five news outlets I found which covered this story, only two discussed Peter Angelos’s partisan history.

The Washington Post’s D.C Sports blog was one of them. It also carried John Angelos’s claim, in the Post’s words, to be “a supporter of neither major political party”:

Orioles executive wouldn’t want to host a first pitch from President Trump — without an apology

… when John Angelos, the Orioles executive vice president and chief operating officer, appeared on a local podcast this week, he was asked about the idea of inviting President Trump for a first pitch at Oriole Park.

“Ultimately that decision is with the ownership group as to what major politicians and political figures and societal figures they want to invite,” Angelos said on the B-More Opinionated podcast. “I know that the administration has taken a lot of criticism for its controversial positions; I think more so perhaps for statements made both during the campaign and since the administration came in concerning things that are considered to be problematic from a race, ethnicity, religious, gender, disability [standpoint]. People in those communities have been spoken about very negatively by a candidate and now president.

“You’re asking my personal opinion; I think it’s really incumbent upon any individual who leads the country to step away from those types of statements, to apologize for those statements and retract them,” Angelos said. “And then to turn the page, and then to move forward in embracing their community, all parts of that community. Until that happens, it wouldn’t be my preference to have the president come throw a pitch. …

While John Angelos may not be part of Orioles ownership, he’s certainly close to it, as the son of principal owner Peter Angelos. The elder Angelos has long been a major donor to Democratic Party causes; he was a major contributor to the effort to draft Biden in 2016, and gave financial support to a variety of other Democratic candidates and efforts over the last cycle.

Angelos went on say he is a supporter of neither major political party, which he called “irrelevant to all this …”

… the first step to doing extremely well is for this person, this individual who is in the office of the presidency to retract all the outrageous things that have been said and simply do one thing: apologize,” Angelos said.

Note that an apology would only be a “first step.” What else would it take for Donald Trump (whose actual name Angelos did not mention) to be deemed worthy of delivering a first pitch by our new King John?

USA Today also covered the story, mentioned Peter Angelos’s partisan background, and carried, but did not question, John’s non-partisanship claim:

A Baltimore Orioles executive says he’d prefer President Trump not throw out a first pitch at Camden Yards without first apologizing for statements that could be viewed as problematic “from a race, ethnicity, religious, gender, disability” standpoint.

John Angelos, son of owner Peter Angelos and the Orioles’ executive vice president and chief operating officer, said on a Baltimore-based podcast that divisive rhetoric and actions during Trump’s campaign and since his swearing-in require that the president re-double efforts to embrace all members of the community.

… Peter Angelos has been a longtime donor to the Democratic Party; his son says he is neither a Republican or a Democrat, but he has not strayed from the political arena when it intersects with the Orioles, offering his thoughts on the death of Freddie Gray while in custody of the Baltimore Police Department, and endorsing the playing of Woody Guthrie’s progressive anthem, This Land Is Your Land, at Friday night home games.

John may be “neither a Republican or Democrat,” but from 1997 to 2009, when he was an active political contributor, 100 percent of his directly identifiable contributions, totaling just over $100,000, went to Democratic Party candidates and election committees.

USA Today should never have let John Angelos’s claim of neutrality go unchallenged, especially given the nature of his statements and accusations. Given his publicly available contributions information and his “progressive” rhetoric and actions as a team executive (including the team’s effective endorsement of a song written by a known communist), John Angelos’s actual voter registration, if it indeed isn’t Democrat or Republican, hardly matters.

Three other news outlets covering the story — CNNMoney.com, CBS Sports, and TV station WBAL — failed to mention the partisan history of Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos. CNN Money also carried John Angelos’s ”isn’t a Democrat or a Republican” claim without challenging it. CBS and WBAL didn’t relay John Angelos’s non-partisanship claim.

Searches on “Angelos” at the Associated Press and the New York Times indicate that the nation’s two primary establishment press gatekeepers have not covered the story.

From a baseball perspective, outlets covering the story batted 2-for-5 in reporting Peter Angelos’s partisan background, and 0-for-5 in reporting and investigating John Angelos’s claim to be non-partisan. Combined, that’s a “batting average” of .200, accompanied by two prominent no-shows.

That’s not a major-league performance.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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