A group of nearly 1000 Orioles fans, that have said that they disapprove with owner Peter Angelos, protested at last night's game against the Tigers by leaving en masse in the middle of the fourth inning at precisely 5:08 p.m.
As reported by the AP, 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.
Angelos reponded by saying, "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 Orioles are in their ninth consecutive losing season. The Orioles are currently 24.5 games out on the AL East. and 23.5 games out of the Wild Card. Their Opening Day payroll of $72,585,582, places them at 15 out of the 30 clubs. Minnesota, who leads the AL Wild Card, had an Opening Day payroll of $63,396,006, which ranks them 19 out of the 20 clubs. *
Team Marketing Report shows that the average price for an adult at Oriole Park Camden Yards at $22.53, ranking them 12th out of the 30 clubs and above the league average of $22.21. The Orioles kept the average price the same this year from the year prior.
* - Deferred payments, incentive and award clauses and depreciation were not included. Payments teams receive as compensation in some player trades are not reflected in the team salaries.