Longtime baseball PR man Rick Vaughn tells Nestor the real Orioles Way and how the franchise was built in the community in the 1980s as Camden Yards was opening for business.
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Rick Vaughn, Nestor Aparicio
Nestor Aparicio 00:01
W n s t Towson Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are on positively into the summertime and it feels so good to have like baseball back and you have Oracle park behind me because I get to reach some of my old baseball head some of them are going to be joining me on the Maryland crabcake tour this week word spirits Westover Wilkins Boulevard got some old Mount St Joe gales that want to come and Crow in their purple I’ll be giving the Maryland lottery 50th anniversary scratch off so it’s been a lucky batch had a lot of winners the last couple of weeks as well. Our friends winter nation 8669 the nation you buy to to get to free in two years 0% financing I’m enjoying my windows. And you know I brought this crab claw well because this guy can get a lot of things. You know, he’s he’s one of us. He’s sort of indigenous to the land up here in Atlanta pleasant living, but he’s been down to Florida a little while and they got those stone crabs down there. This is a Maryland crab claw with a proper beer opener on the other side courtesy my friend Rascon global Red Fawn has been my friend. Dare I say mentor in many ways in the PR space and the first guy foolish enough to sign his name on an oral press pass for me back in 1985. As I remember working at the Baltimore news American longtime Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the time now Tampa Reyes PR Director He’s now much like so Enstein and Animal House going independent. He has worked with Joe Maddon for many, many years, including a pretty cool golf tournament up in the Central PA area, but still makes it home down in Florida where all baseball initiatives are there. Rick Vaughn, the man the myth, the legend, I can’t believe it’s been like 31 years since the last thing at 33rd street and your orchestration of a great great sports memory. How are you man raising the Orioles get together for meaningful baseball. I’m like, I gotta find somebody to talk about it. Here you are.
Rick Vaughn 01:54
We’re doing we’re doing great. Yeah, they’re here of course they’re here tonight. So we’re excited to see that and you know, I was with the Orioles for 10 years and I was with the race for 20 Wow If you want to know something I have to say it and I’m not saying this because I’m on your show but my heart is in Ballmer man. It really is. I’m I’m Oriole all the way I worked at such a great time we didn’t win. But there was so many good things that happen there and bad things to learn from 21 game you know losing streak but closing Memorial Stadium, opening Camden Yards hosting the 93 All Star game. I can’t tell you how proud I was to have been the PR guy when we hosted that all star game and 93 because the city just was spectacular. And everybody that went to that all star game for the whole weekend. Whether it’s Fan Fest or the party the night before or the game even though it was like 100 degrees
Nestor Aparicio 02:47
to do to I had corn on the cob with Geddy Lee at the Science Center on at that gala on the night before the game and I literally looked over at the buffet and Geddy Lee was standing there amongst the harvest vegetables in the Eastern Shore and I went up to Geddy Lee and I said probably something stupid yeah like your dog barking yeah probably does something he doesn’t remember at all but three of them
Rick Vaughn 03:14
so there’s a good chance on the show.
Nestor Aparicio 03:17
That’s fine. What kind of dogs you got.
Rick Vaughn 03:19
We have two other all rescues. We have two palms and then we have a mutt and she’s she’s only a couple years old but she’s great so
Nestor Aparicio 03:26
man if I could get my cat to come in here and just sit here I could get sponsors for it and stuff because my god so beautiful, but she’s got stage fright or a except if I put like shrimp up on the table here. Sure. She’ll come in. Rick I you know, busting your chops but not busting your chops at all in all sincerity. I worked at the paper as a bit of a gopher in the 80s You gave me a press credential. I talk about the smell of those fried crab cakes up and they serve beer and ice cream. And they were nice ladies who smiled at us in our press notes and Helen and Hazel Hayes were beautiful ladies right? So you give me a press credential I ran around I’ll never forget being at the locker one the Avis when he threw the no hitter that night getting quotes and running quotes for Ken Rosenthal and Jim animun. So I start my radio show between 91 and 92 Kenny Albert and I started the show December 13 1991. So 31 and a half years ago I started and str 25th anniversary is coming up so I’m making you a little bit of a part of this because on August 3, we will have been here 25 years as a radio station paying all of our bills employee firstly the unbelievable thing that’s happened situations Thank you. That’s beautiful, but since and you’re such a part of it, I just want to like I want to bust your chops but give you a hard time and have some fun too. But in 91 to 92 You are the king of the castle culture gone. There’s you would have bet your life that we were never getting a football team here right i mean like You’re like the stars were heavily aligned, that football would never return here and I think that’s a really hard headspace and this beautiful stadium was opening. And Kenny Albert NIDA started this side of the Star Sports Radio Show. And 1992. Not only did you credential me, but you gave me parking in parking lot. B, which was way over here. And you’re like, No, no, no first year on the show, you have to earn parking lot a actually your you made me wait two seasons, I think you had to get through 93. And funny enough, when Angelo’s bought the team, you started flipping the eight parking passes somehow, because I was established or something. But But you made me pay my dues. And you’re laughing You said something really, like off handed to me like you’re young enough to walk? We’ll give you know, I mean, if Jackman needs to pass in a will give him an A when you wait your turn nasty Nestor you know, but But back then, and I want to really compliment you. And I said I want to talk to you about this because it’s really important for the Orioles. And I and and if I own the team, I’d hire you back. You know what I mean? And I’d hire Marty Conway. And I’d hire all of you to come back and shake people’s hands to be nice to people. Because like, you didn’t have to be nice to me. You didn’t have to let me and you guys were the king of everything. And BHEL had the right to Cal Ripken and candy. But there was a thing about all of you, and whether it was you or Charlie Steinberg or Bob, Bob or any of you, there was something about like you love baseball, you’re from Baltimore, you want to promote my team. I mean, you had Alan Wiggins bad things happen when you were there. But like, there was a part of the team that was so part of the community. And you always wanted that for Tampa. And then you went down there and you found out how hard it is to do. And they’re trying to do it again. Here. You right, and then you know, Baltimore better 30 years removed. But it’s unbelievable to see this new thing and see this empty canvas and have a chance to do it again. And I really want to reach out to you about that. Because I think you saw 92 Is that even though there was a built franchise, Camden Yards created an empty canvas that you took full advantage of
Rick Vaughn 07:07
it. Did you know it really did. I mean, I think the cool thing was, I mean, look, no one wanted to leave Memorial Stadium, we had so many great memories there. The O’s won the Colts one there, it wasn’t, let’s, you know, looking at it very matter of factly. It wasn’t a greatly constructed ballpark, but it had so many good memories. And when we left there, I one thing I really, I really have to tip my hat to Larry Lucchino because Larry realized how important that ballpark was to the community and that when we left, we need to do it very respectfully. We knew that everybody was going to warm to Camden Yards. I mean, we’ve seen the models, we’ve seen everything and it was like, they’re gonna love this. They are people are gonna love this thing. And that was, you know, that was Janet Marie Smith and Lucchino. I mean, I love the fact, you know, they were like, We’re gonna build a Baltimore building. And we’re going to put a baseball field in it. That’s kind of you
Nestor Aparicio 08:01
have to know Baltimore people to do right. That’s right, Larry came here. And all he heard was you’re moving the team to DC, right? Like all these years later, as a candidate the paper right, where I was there every night I was around all every Steadman, all these people, and we’re always her bell grab, we’re trying to get a football team. We’re trying to do all of these things. And the thought that the baseball team could leave was on Larry’s desk all day, every day, right? Like literally, and 30 years later, all of you speak of him. And all of you speak to me, all of you cope. Conway, January, all of your ERA lease everybody that worked there, you all come on my show and speak of him with such not reverence. He doesn’t write your paycheck anymore. He could might have been a jerk D or whatever. All of you speak of him as the leader of all leaders, in regard to all of how all of this was orchestrated the fact that the orals are still here. How do you go on into Edward Bennett? What you just said, it might be a better idea to just go to DC. That could happen. I mean, and I don’t think people here have any sense of the history of what the balance look like, from 84 until 96. When everything here changed.
Rick Vaughn 09:17
Yeah. Look, Larry was not easy to work for Larry was, you know, he was an emotional, you know, Italian, and he and I had our clashes, no question about it. But the one thing that was undeniable, was yes, he was Washington, but he grew up in Pittsburgh. He grew up in that same almost kind of town mentality that Baltimore has, and he understood that and his passion for wanting this to be done well, that that that trumps everything, you know, I mean, you couldn’t help but see, when he got upset about things just because he cared about it so much. And I think when we went to him, Charles and I went to him in January of 91, and we said, here’s what we want to do. Close the stadium, not going to be cheap. We’re going to bring in a bunch of players
Nestor Aparicio 10:05
from from Venezuela. We brought we brought,
Rick Vaughn 10:08
we put them up in the hotel for a couple of nights, we got the unit, we made the uniforms that they wore during their era. And to his credit, he didn’t really hesitate. You know, I thought it was going to be a really hard meeting to sell him on it. It wasn’t he wasn’t he knew exactly. He thought it was a great thing. It was respectful. So none of that happens without him. So was he easy to work for? No. But I would take him over anybody I’ve ever worked for as a club president because he cared so much. And so he had that common thing. With people like Bob Brown, they were on opposite sides most of the time, but they had one common thing. They loved the Baltimore they had passion for this project. And that’s where I learned, you know, before Camden Yards. I was so fortunate that to be there to grow up in the Orioles organization. Like I said, we didn’t win when I was there. But it was there was such a feeling between the team and the community. Of course, you would treat people the right way. That’s what that’s the Oriole way. That’s how you do things, I would never have done anything different than what I did. Because that’s what I learned everybody. It was still a mom and pop operation. When I started there. We all knew each other’s families. We all knew everything about every everybody, and not to knock what’s going on now. But when I worked with the raise, my bosses couldn’t tell me even if I had kids, you know what I mean? So it’s just it’s just become more impersonal. And back then I was so fortunate to be a part of a family and it was a family. It really was even when we were in spring training together. We did events as as employees, media players, we did these cookouts and stuff where everybody got me
Nestor Aparicio 11:49
a baseball game that you threw in 92 The day that Frank Robinson died, I like was looking for things of me and Frank or whatever. And Frank was always salty to me I think maybe he didn’t get along with Louis I mean I all these years later, there were guys that were nice to me guys that weren’t I dropped my cousin’s name or they’d see my last name. If they had a good vibe or so I don’t know. But like I didn’t. He didn’t do the show a lot. He was never He was always standoffish with me but the I have a picture he rung me up as the umpire in that game. Peter schmuck on a three two pitch was way outside and low. And but Frank Robinson, you that thing you did that day, Tim Kirkenes in that picture, like all of these Bros and thought we all played broadcast versus print out on the campaign your video is a videotape and it’s floating around them where
Rick Vaughn 12:41
I can’t find it. Come on Varner. I’m still trying to find
Nestor Aparicio 12:45
it. So anyway, but but there I just where we are at this point where there’s no pressure on the teams, there’s no tough questions. They’ve overtaken the media, there’s some antitrust issues and putting people like me out of business. But there’s more to all of it. Whether it’s I’m watching the NBA or watching the NHL or watching any of these things. They don’t feel like community concerns until they need to be a community concern. And he does sell local tickets, local sky boxes, and the Orioles have just skated for 30 years since you left that everybody there left. And now they have a really good product again. And that’s new prices, new prices for beer. downtown’s change, like all of these things to get people back. And the weirdest thing is the media this week and we’re like I couldn’t watch the game on peacock Sunday. I want the game can’t find it. I’m not given my home address and credit card number a way to watch a game on television on on Wi Fi. But, but then they do things like fix the timing of the game, the pitch clock thing on second base in the 10th inning. I mean, some of these things that were controversy when Theo knows better than anybody is your partner Joe Maddon would say, but there’s parts of the game that as a 55, year old Aparicio. I want to be involved and I want to come back, but the old feeling of like, it’s Baltimore’s team and they put a Nike swoosh in an Under Armour town on a Baltimore shirt, like all of it’s just so jumbled to me. But the game itself is better than it’s been in a long time. And I want to see this do well again I want to see this be the heartbeat of the city again the way that you know it to be and you came in here during some dark times. Rick, you came in here with a raise at the end of your run where you’re looking around and its friends and family and you’re like what happened here there’s no body here that they have a chance again and I I want it to blossom and talking to people like you about it. Who went down to Tampa and didn’t have it? You didn’t roll out with Earl Weaver boots BBQ and I mean, you really fought the fight down there. And they’ve built something we want now somehow, right? I mean, like what was left from Joe Maddon in that era, and Friedman and all those guys Books were written about that. And now we’re chasing that to say, how do we build it better the next time around? How can John Angelo’s if he’s so inclined, be Iraqi words and build this thing better?
Rick Vaughn 15:12
Yeah, I mean, the rays have got the secret sauce when it comes to you look at their lineup, and they have, you know, a few of homegrown people, but a lot of their guys are people they have stolen away from other clubs. People don’t want to trade with them. You know, they, they really don’t. Because if you look at that lineup, there’s about six guys in there, that they were kind of castoffs from other organizations, and they come in and they blossom. They they get the best out of their players. I don’t know how they do it. I don’t know what they do. But they do it. And, you know, they’re still haven’t figured out I don’t know what’s going to happen down here in terms of a stadium.
Nestor Aparicio 15:48
That used to be the lead story. I mean, it shouldn’t be. Hey, by the way, Rick, the lead story here, we’re 21 minutes into this segment. There’s no lease for the Orioles. Right. So I that that is the lead. I don’t want to bury the lead. But the lead is there’s no lease. So to your point waiting on this Oakland thing which I talked to Barry bloom last week and Mari Brown. I had Eric Fisher on talking about them waiting for this because baseball doesn’t move franchises. Right. Like and the Tampa thing. It just I know your hearts there. You live there. It could be better. It could be a lot better.
Rick Vaughn 16:25
Oh, there’s no question. They’d been there. 25 years, you know how many times they’ve gone 2 million in a season. Once? That’s right, the first year. So I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know that this works here. I don’t know that Florida baseball works in Major League Baseball. I mean, certainly.
Nestor Aparicio 16:40
That’s heartbreaking to hear you say that? Well, it
Rick Vaughn 16:42
is I don’t want to say it. i But I but it’s hard to argue. I mean, this team right now last week, they played to first place teams came in and played them on a homestand of seven game homestand. And you know what? They drew 20,001 time in seven games, that there’s something that’s not right. You know, you can’t find a better reason to go to the ballpark than what’s happening there. Right now. They’re fun to watch. You know, they hate that.
Nestor Aparicio 17:09
Oh, and by the way, I know everybody else does. I don’t hate that though. I really don’t. I don’t think it’s an awful place to go. I’ve been there many times with you. You spent half your life in there. I’ve never thought it’s awful. I don’t know why it’s perceived as awful. Or driving across the bridge are things I don’t want to don’t talk in Essex don’t get you know, Baltimore, Washington, they think we’re the same market. We’re not. And but I would say for that area. I’ve never hated the experience. And I know you guys busting your ass for many, many years to make it a good experience. And my wife threw out a first pitch. I mean, you you’ve tried to be near nice person. And all of the people there tried in so many ways to recruit fans, you know?
Rick Vaughn 17:51
Yeah, you know what, you’re right. The people that live here, they don’t really dislike the dome, because like right now, it’s 94 degrees out. And they know they’re going to go to a ballgame, a definitely going to get played, even though it’s rainy season and two, they’re going to get out of the or B, they’re going to get out of the hot weather, they know they’re going to be cool watching a game. A lot of people hear that live here don’t like they don’t mind it. But you know what, when you go on the road, and you go to these other ballparks like Baltimore and many others, and you and you kind of like you have this little envy, you know, it’s like, wow, look at what they’re able to do. And so that’s where that comes from, and the media picks up on it. And it’s really even from the media standpoint, they like covering games there. It’s all very convenient. You know, we made it pretty easy for them to get around in the ballpark. And but it you know, it just you look at it, and then you look at Dodger Stadium, you look at Camden Yards, you look at any of the other places, and you you know, you’re like, boy, look at what we are missing, you know, so it’s it’s kind of a tough situation. But here’s the other thing now they’re trying to get they’re trying to make a deal with St. Pete. They have a new mayor here. It looks like they’re making some progress, but they’re not ready to get married to St. Pete yet. They’re still talking to Tampa. This is all going on right now. And yet. So pretty
Nestor Aparicio 19:09
much the same thing happened in Atlanta with the city in the county. Right? That’s
Rick Vaughn 19:12
right. That’s right. That’s right. And then put your lease here is up after 2027. So we’re at 2023. Now, and they don’t have a deal yet. Your clock is starting to tick. Now. I would assume that if they stay in St. Pete, they could extend the lease somehow. But if they decide to go to Tampa, I don’t really don’t know how that would work at all. So there’s
Nestor Aparicio 19:33
no easy when you think about this, right? Because the Giants were coming to St. Pete at one point leaving Oakland Oakland wanted to go to San Jose and got block now Oakland, trying as desperately is Montreal going to San Juan right, like trying to get there. And you have these municipalities that already have a team and can’t get I mean, like it’s like your former team in Washington. I dare I say the R word. But you’re four We’re football team. I mean, Maryland and mana Virginia and Washington DC. Nobody wants them. And it’s, it’s just a shame. Right? And I guess part of that is 25 years of you trying to build community to have it matter to people in a way that it mattered so much here. Right. And the Ravens matter so much here. It’s a different mindset there. Right?
Rick Vaughn 20:21
There’s no question. I mean, part of it has to do with the fact that, you know, when we when I got there in 84, you know, the team had been there. 30 years, people were because of the way the Orioles had done business and one, you know, they they had that connection with everybody. Everybody couldn’t wait to help. When we did the all star game there. I had people, I got the Oriole advocates to help me as volunteers. Man, I had so many more people that wanted to work there than the jobs we had. Everybody wanted to help. They wanted to be a part of it. They wanted, you know, they, they it really mattered to them. And I don’t think we’ve ever been able to get to that point yet. You know, where we were they’ve been raised have been there 25 years. So, you know, their first fans are just now you know, in their mid 20s. And they’re
Nestor Aparicio 21:07
different than the Ravens no different than the Ravens fans here. Right? But there’s but there’s been a success and the winning and losing the Colts and like all that we PSL is you know, all that we went through here, your baseball team’s gone through a hockey team down there that’s come and taken the place by storm, I would never would have bet on it. I mean, I sat on the top with with Phil Esposito a couple of years ago, watching those caps games and seeing the what happens outside of that arena was down there for Springsteen a couple of months ago, like in that arena is nothing special. And then the Tom Brady effect of the Buccaneers in recent years. I mean, it Tampa is a pretty good sports town, as you know, the late Chris Thomas and the late the big dog would would tell you, right? Yeah, I
Rick Vaughn 21:53
think so. I mean, the one thing that I’ve learned, in all the years I’ve been doing this is ownership is everything. And Jeff vinik, the guy that owns the lightning, I don’t think there’s a better owner and all sports, talk about getting it, he gets it, there’s nothing he’s like, you know, when I moved down here, I thought George Steinbrenner just own the Yankees. And he was, you know, a miserable son of a gun. He was so involved in the community down here, it was crazy. You couldn’t go to blocks without seeing something he’d built, or he was behind. And then it has captured that same kind of a thing he is so involved. And the great thing about it is, he’s able to get the players to buy into it as well. You know, they have a thing where they give away at every game, pretty good. They give away $50,000 at every game, to a local charity, you have to apply as respect 90 local charity, we applied we won. It was during COVID. And they were so we couldn’t go out to the game to get the award, but they had one of their players do the video for us. And I gotta tell you, this player, when I got done watching that video, I felt like the player knew everything about us, you know, here’s a player, can you do the video for us of the charity that we’re gonna give the money to? He wasn’t like he just read it off a piece of paper. He did it with such compassion. And so it was so good. And it happened to be Stamkos, their best player. But it was like he knew what we were doing. I told Jonah when I saw it, I went have you do you know him? And he goes, No, I’ve never met him. But he the point of that was he really bought into what Vinick and the team wanted him to do this was not reading off a teleprompter. I mean, he probably did but he did it was such passion. That it was like you could see that the players get get into it they but ownership to me is everything and if you not only get the community to buy in, you get your players to buy and you get the front office to buy and he’s done that down here. He’s done that down here. There’s nothing you just get the sense that there’s nothing they wouldn’t do to help the community. It’s such a great feeling and you can’t help but root for them and everybody down here does they sell out every night and I’m very envious I would love to work with someone like him.
Nestor Aparicio 24:07
How many years in professional sports Public Relations and Marketing were you are 1010 Will oriels 20 with the raise how many with the Redskins,
Rick Vaughn 24:19
there’s two with the Redskins and I had two with the USFL
Nestor Aparicio 24:23
Oh, I forgot about that.
Rick Vaughn 24:27
Already four years there and then about another three or four years in college in college Sid,
Nestor Aparicio 24:33
Rick Vaughn is our guest the other wild thing longtime Baltimore Orioles, PR Director during the Camden Yards and dirt I mean, and opening the gates in Tampa and trying to start things there and now working with Joe Maddon all these years later, baseball itself and the leadership and they listen, I I’ve written books about the struggles right? I read books, like Lords of the Realm 30 years ago about how this how the sausage is made right? And then Angeles comes in here and you’re gone And Larry’s gone. And next thing you know, you’re in Tampa and I’m meeting Vince and the moily and his wife and sisters on planes and crew, you know, but seeing all of this ownership transition, I guess from Uber author Seelig to to man for it and the changes in the game, whether it was interleague play, whether it was steroids, I mean, all these things that have happened. Where are you on the baseball? Genesis of the beginning of the next thing with shorter games, understanding media, getting the games to actually come to me when I want them? Or do you have confidence in the leadership, that baseball that there’s a little part of this that feels like they’re moving in the right direction, at least acknowledging time of game bullpens? The things that they are at least acknowledging has brought me back and maybe it’s we got a winning team here again. But baseball’s leadership has been very, very hard over the last 30 years. I mean, they are much like horse racing and some other things. While football has just ascended and the NBA has ascended. It’s it’s sort of been stagnant, certainly in our market in Baltimore.
Rick Vaughn 26:13
Yeah, I think they’ve made a good number of mistakes along the way, missteps along the way. I do think this what they’ve done recently, you know, I was I, when I have some free time down here, I score some of the minor league games, Clearwater, threshers, and some of the other teams. And about they started the pitch clock, like three years ago, and the Florida State League, and I remember the first game I went to cover with it, I was like, this is I’m not a fan of this at all.
Nestor Aparicio 26:41
Hold on, hold on, hold on. You’re a pitcher, were you not? I just want to bring that up. You pitched the George Mason, if I’m not, I’m so you’re a pitcher. So every pitcher is going to hate it. Right? Well,
Rick Vaughn 26:52
and I did. I mean, I thought I will, I thought I would, you know, and I’m like, this is gonna really not be great. And I’m gonna tell you something after three innings, I forgot it was even there. And I and by the end of that first game, I went, you know what, I was wrong. I think this is going to be awesome. And it is. And I think it’s the best of all the changes. This is the one that, to me is what makes the most sense. And it’s had the biggest impact is that you just you don’t even realize the clocks there. After a while. It’s just a matter of a culture change, you know, and now these guys in the minor leagues are gonna get used to it. And they’re not even gonna remember four or five years from now that there wasn’t a pitch clock. You know what I mean? There’s still people
Nestor Aparicio 27:34
that don’t remember that the NBA had two points. And it was the three points. Right?
Rick Vaughn 27:39
They did. Yeah. They, but it changes the light. It just changes your thinking. And, and this is going to happen, and it’s going to and it’s I think it’s a terrific thing. I’m not as big a fan, I still wish that the hitters could learn how to hit against the shifts, and they didn’t have to you got a guy who’s hitting 400 Right now why do you think that is? You know, I mean that we haven’t anybody hit 400 million years. We got a guy now it’s almost halfway through the season. Is it 400 For the Marlins got five hits last night.
Nestor Aparicio 28:10
I knew Tony Gwynn shift on his ass. Go ahead. He’ll hit 440 on Yeah. Well, that’s
Rick Vaughn 28:15
right. That’s exactly right. I remember George Brett saying if that, you know, if they ever shifted against me, you know, how would you feel about the shift? He said, I’ve hit 400 against that, you know, because he learned how to go the other way. Now I get it. You got guys throwing 97 and 98. And they’re throwing in? How do you hit that ball the other way? You got to figure it out. But anyway, if people seem to be very happy with what’s going on with the game, and the game seems to be in really good spot right now. I don’t like all the rule things I don’t like the rule about only throwing over to first base a couple times. I don’t think that’s a good rule. But I don’t like rules that really are going to impact the statistical stuff. And you know, and I guess the shifting it looks like it is going to affect this the statistical stuff. This guy’s you know, I don’t think he’s going to hit 400 for the year raise, but he’s, he’s gonna get pretty good. And I think a lot of it has to do with that. But I think the game, I’ve always felt like the Commissioner’s Office seems to take two steps forward, and then two or three back, you know, it just they they do something that they don’t they don’t handle things always the right way. But I think this has given them four or five steps in the right direction. And hopefully they’ll keep the keep the momentum going that way.
Nestor Aparicio 29:30
Well, I mean, you worked in front office, something’s always on fire. Right. Like you know, there’s there’s always something to put out right now. This Oakland thing is a problem. Your franchise at Tampa is a perennial problem, right? I
Rick Vaughn 29:41
you know, and that’s a big thing. When I worked. I was only in the NFL for two years. But the mindset of the NFL office and mindset of MLB couldn’t be to me couldn’t be more different. And if you think the NFL would have allowed the Oakland A’s situation to go on like this or the race situation to go on like this. To me, the NFL totally understands that you’re only as good as your worst franchise. And so they’re not gonna, that would never happen in the NFL. They’ve let this, you know, just fester and fester and fester. And they can he said I had to be seven years ago. He’s the commissioner said, Well, as soon as we get those situations, fixed, we’re going to we’re going to expand I was seven years ago, at least seven years ago. And to me, so you’re allowing these these issues to keep the whole rest of the league from expanding, you know, from moving forward. And I don’t think the NFL would ever do anything like that. I mean, they just, you know, that whole NFL shield, it’s everything, man, the shield is everything. It’s all. And I’ve never felt like that in all the years I worked in baseball, it’s like working for a McDonald’s franchise, you know, 30 different franchises, but they’re not really very unified. And I think that still plagues the league. Today
Nestor Aparicio 30:55
was the number one chronicler of all things Peter angelos, and the Peter principles and the Masson move and the Nationals. And it’s still it’s been 18 years, and they haven’t paid the bill. anybody had ever met Peter would know he was never going to pay the bill. And he will die having never paid the bill, leaving it to his children in this state. And the Nationals now now can’t sell after being owned for 17 years, and a dead owner. And they can’t figure out how to liquidate the team, because they never got Montreal figured out to begin with. And they went into business with Peter angry with no finality. And they’re two decades into this. And it’s affected the Nationals and they’ve had a parade, it affects the Orioles kind of every day in every way. And to your point. And I think you said it all when you’re like the owner is everything and being present. And in Larry’s case many years ago or in the case of the Tampa lightning. There’s just something about that, that there’s no substitute for that. There’s no elixir for not being feet on the street.
Rick Vaughn 31:59
No, there’s no question that then and that’s that’s the that’s what the Orioles were when I was there. And hopefully they’ll get back to that. But you’re right. It was feet on the street. It was we kind of felt like, you know, any fan that walked up was it was important to that’s the feeling I got when I worked there no matter what it was. That’s one of our people. That’s one of our family, we got to take care of that guy he couldn’t park his car where he wanted to or his seat was obstruct. Well, the thing that’s
Nestor Aparicio 32:25
so obnoxious to me, that’s incredible to me. And this in this speaks to the chat steel thing with the Ravens is they don’t really in the modern era, understand that my basement is purple, and I’ve built my family. My Bar Mitzvah is my weddings, my life, my travel, my son’s name, my dog’s name, the name of my boat, the name of my street, the purple Flamingo on my lawn, like that should mean something to people, it means a lot to people. And when they come at any point, have a cold hot dog, a bad experience, dare I say something bad happens Park, in their car in the city, whatever the bad experience is, in the era social media, they’re probably much more likely to point that out than they would be to not point that out. Or to just be like, in Tampa, I’ll go to the beach today. Instead, you know, you have other options. I am not committed to having to be an Oracle and Raven fan for life and give you my money like an ATM. And that family feeling that the Cardinals have that the Steelers and the Packers have spent there forever that the Rams will never have in LA ever again, that the Chargers will never ever ever have no matter what I mean, they’re just these dead on arrival sort of franchises. And then there’s a Tampa lightning that went that they they showed up and you’re there you’re like Aki, Dasher, and, but then they take it to heart, right and in a way that only human connection can make that happen. It can’t it can’t happen on an ad on Facebook, it has to come from your heart. And when that fan comes up to you, that fan has a Christmas tree with an ornament on it that says oriels because they love the ORS in it meant something to their grandfather like it’s and the people that work there don’t really understand that they really don’t
Rick Vaughn 34:19
know they didn’t you know, I mean? Look, I don’t want to sound like you know, get off my lawn guy or anything. But it’s so hard now because everything is there’s no people don’t call you. You don’t talk to anybody on the phone. You know, there’s no interpersonal stuff. Never. You know, you either. If you want to connect with a friend with a franchise or a business, send us an email and you might hear back from them. But you might not. You know, there’s none of that.
Nestor Aparicio 34:44
There’s way too hard. You definitely won’t be heard back. Oh,
Rick Vaughn 34:47
no. You know, I mean, there’s just, it’s just our society now it isn’t, you know, it’s not just your main to sports teams or anything. It’s just the way it is. And I’m sad for that. Those connections were some of the best things, you know, that I ever had, you know, that was feeling that satisfaction. I know, it sounds like, really pollyannish, I guess. But I always felt like, I always felt great to be able to help one of our fans, that’s what our job was at the end of the day. You know, to me, if you work in a front office of a team, and probably most businesses, if you had to boil down your job responsibilities to the fewest words you could, to me when at least working where I was, it was all about two words, building relationships. That’s what it was all about. And I don’t think that and I guess maybe there’s the number
Nestor Aparicio 35:41
one thing in any walk of life in any business, with any school with any community with any politics with anything, it’s about building relationships, and I just find it fascinating that they’re too big to fail. I mean, like, literally, especially the NFL team here has gotten to britches as big as Peters britches were, when he was ushering good humans like you out the door and said, I’ll just replace Rick Vaughn. I’ll just replace Marty. I’ll just replace Larry Lucchino, I’ll just replace Baker compliment and Roy summer, just replace these people. They’re disposable humans. There’s a mindset about that in sports that I have seen in before my very eyes still being a half a foot involved in it, because they’ve shoved me three quarters of the way out the door, that I’m just marveled by it, but it is too big to fail. I mean, the Orioles have been awful for a generation in almost every measurable way, except financially. And that’s the only thing that really mattered in the end because television, the cable bills, the national television money that they never had to hold it together. They just lowered the payroll and it still worked.
Rick Vaughn 36:48
Yeah, I just you know, look, if you haven’t experienced it, then you don’t miss it. But see, I remember to me like some of the most important people that we hired when I was in Baltimore, were the guys that ran the press box. Fred and Dave and Vernon I still remember all three of them like they I saw him yesterday and I haven’t seen him in 30 years. I still
Nestor Aparicio 37:08
on my twitter once in a while.
Rick Vaughn 37:10
But those guys, they when you walked in that press box, that was like their living room. You know they wanted you to they wanted to make sure that you didn’t have anything you had everything that you needed there. And that mentality was what our organization was like back then you know, if you were in Memorial Stadium and you had an issue it needed to be addressed. Like you talk about Helen and Hazel in the media dining room. They were they wanted to make sure everybody that came through there got had a great meal
Nestor Aparicio 37:40
out of them and the mention of that makes me smell Fried crab cakes. And they listen if you want that crab cake they serve it at a place called Davis’s pub in Annapolis. Exact same crab cake fried in that I’ve had crab cakes with three other places rip I know units Okay, so but when I went there on that it was 98 degrees that day. And Tom Mar T bone Tom sent me down there saying you want to press box crabcake and I was I was gonna go to the boat yard and I saved the boat yard and the governor came and did it with me at the boat yard said but I want to this place. And I’m telling you if you want to, if you want to see her smile again, Hazel and Helen and smell that crabcake Davis’s puppet Annapolis and esport trust me it’s harder sauce is better there than what they gave you in the press box. Rick Vaughn is our guest I gotta let him go. I love him. I can hold that before we go. I spent some we’ve been old white guys get off my lawn old black guy. In my case. Still the minority even I’m in majority minority. Respect 90 Talk about Joe a little bit. And because we’re so much of what we talk about the things that are lost amongst us old Get off my lawn guys, but respect and community and these things that just get enough money, do whatever he wants to do. He comes back to Pennsylvania, and he’s boots feet on the street boots on the ground with you doing things in his hometown. And I know you’ve been a part of this for almost 20 years now with Joe.
Rick Vaughn 39:05
Yeah, I was I feel so lucky to have worked with Joe. And you know what everybody always says, Oh, you must have some great Joe stories. You know, and you know what, the story this is this, the stories that I have with Joe are basically being in situations that were difficult, and having him find a way out and keeping people positive, you know, like we would go into his office every night. I’d bring the radio guys in to do the pregame show. And we just lost our last 10 or 12 games and or we were in a foreign 20s thing. This was his first year. And by the time we walked out of that office, we feel pretty good about things. And it wasn’t that he was trying to sell us it was just how he was and he would say it was just the positive stuff. Like he would say you know what? This isn’t like, what 2006 is 2007 first two years there were terrible and he’d say we’re going to turn this place into the pit. Nobody’s gonna want to play us here. And we were like, Sure, Joe. Sure. Yeah, we got it. And it happened, you know, it happened. And it wasn’t he wasn’t just trying to put up a fraud. He believed it. He really believed it. And so I think my, you know, to me, my relationship with Joe is been, the best thing that’s happened to me is, you know, he’s taught me how to get through tough spots, you know, how, why, how important it is to remain positive, you know, and he’s just been incredible that way. There was so many days when I would come in there in the office, and I’d be upset about something, he go, what’s the matter? And I tell him, he goes, you know, something that involved the team. And I say, well, he goes, Well, we’ll fix it. What do you want us to do? I’ll fix it. We’ll move what we were gonna do,
Nestor Aparicio 40:51
how we’re supposed to do it. Right, right. I mean, literally, when you speak to power, power, supposed to say, I’m going to do everything in my power to fix it, because it needs to be fixed. And I acknowledge a problem, right? Yeah.
Rick Vaughn 41:01
And that’s that was those are my best stories with Joe is how many times I went went through things like that with him and how often that he was gonna be, you know, when you go up to Hazleton, and you spend some time with them, which I’ve done, I don’t know, 50 times. You see his routes. I mean, he’s, you know, he’ll be getting into his car on the street, and somebody will drive by honk, and I’ll say, who was that? Because that was my, that’s my third cousin, you know, or he’s, he it’s that whole city up there as his family, you know, and it’s because he didn’t forget them. And he still is close with all of them. And he also has this unbelievable ability when he talks to people when this happens so many times when we’d be on the road and I’d introduce him to somebody they would leave thinking they just met their best friend you know that I felt that way about Joe mad when you would have they’re gonna they’re gonna probably hear from Joe this week. You know what I mean? That’s just his way.
Nestor Aparicio 41:53
I feel like I know Joe Maddon and I’ve been with him five times. Every time I’ve been with him. He’s made me feel like and not with you or without you. I’ve been with him. I’ve run into him place has nothing to do with you. i i noticed him in the dugout in the cold and rain in San Francisco, wearing an Anaheim Angels Jersey during the World Series. I’m there early doing my show. The weather was terrible. Tony Bennett came out saying I left Mark San Francisco acapella to warm up here on the back of my neck still standing up from that. But this guy is in the corner, looking with these weird glasses. Everybody’s hanging out with him and he’s the pitching coach. So he’s kind of not pitching coach, he was the bench coach and he was a bench coach. So he was there sort of in the dugout. And you know, obviously the genius was the manager there Right? You know, the former Dodger and like all of that, and they’re in the World Series and there’s Barry Bonds and Kent and like all those guys, and it’s pacbell stadium and there’s the bay and all this and madness out there just sitting in the dugout talking to everybody and everybody came up to him all the reporters and I would I would have told you at that time, he’s like a Southern California dude. Like I would have never have known he’s made my father’s from Scranton, Pennsylvania, I would have never have heard any Pennsylvania or anything like that. And then he becomes your manager and like that’s the kind of wacky dude that I saw in the in the corner of the dugout during the World Series calm isn’t like playing the World Series and it’s everything’s calm, and he’s just hanging out with reporters and being like, a, like a Tuesday night spring training game or something. And then I met him with you and then I met him at a random trop event during the Super Bowl with Max Weinberg, me him Max Weinberg, the E Street Band are in a conversation about wine and Springsteen’s popularity in Europe. And whether we should see the show in Italy or Spain. So I’ve had wacky conversations with him, but I watching him from afar and watching the Cubs thing, you know, after he left and then watching the anime thing after that, there the game is humbling, right, the game spit you out, right? Even if you’re Joe Maddon, you’re going to the Hall of Fame. Eventually they throw you out, right?
Rick Vaughn 44:03
That’s true. Yeah, that’s true. But it’s just to have that type of, you know, I’ll never forget we were in Pittsburgh one time playing the pirates. And there was a kid on the field that was obviously very sick. You know, he was sick. And Joe saw him and Joe was like, what you haven’t come over? Got him in the dugout, sat down with this kid Joe, talk to this kid for half an hour. Difficult Conversations not, you know, these were conversations about how his health was how his mental state was, this kid was probably about 13. And it got time to go and the big take the cage off the field for BP. And Joe said, I’m gonna sit here for a little while longer. And when it was when was finally when the kid left the field. He said, You know something, I just learned something from him that I’ve never heard before, but it’s a great way to go about your life. And Joe wrote this on his lineup card. I think still today if he was managing, he would write this on his lineup card every day. And it was it was a little thing this kid said to him 13 year old kid who’s dying with cancer, and he said courage plus belief equals life. And that was such a moment for Joe. I mean, it was like, this thing where he’s like that kid just that’s what he came up with while he’s been ill. And it was a really it was a really cool moment to be around. You know,
Nestor Aparicio 45:33
I did a crab cake with Joe Maddon dammit that’s it. Ritual on is here. He works respect 90 A longtime PR guy with the Orioles. The rays we will talk about the Washington football thing although I do appreciate the Super Bowl ticket that year that that you went and I listen every year Dave play tonight at the top of that Steelers, a Cowboys. The Switzer Super Bowl in Tempe. My thanks to you all these years later for making that happen. Hey, thanks for coming on. Certainly, I’d love to see at the golf tournament up in Hazleton that you do with Joe. Joe ever needs anything in Baltimore and he always is running he always needs a crab cake I’m sure so I appreciate the time with you with time well spent as always talking about baseball most of my life involved in baseball right?
Rick Vaughn 46:17
Hey, you know I still miss it. So this is like therapy to me. So thank you for
Nestor Aparicio 46:22
that bill Ripken thing behind us therapy to me so that was during the 21 game losing streak. Hey, listen man. I recently had a lunch with his nephew. His nephew is going to be the most successful ripping out all the RIP kids I’m because that’s right. Yeah. I’m ready to bet on Ryan Ripken How about that.
Rick Vaughn 46:41
I hope so good.
Nestor Aparicio 46:43
Appreciate you man. Rick Vaughn. He is checking in from St. Pete The birds are in Tampa for a short series, but we didn’t get a whole lot of baseball into that thing. Um, it’ll be time for Adley rutschman and Gunnar Henderson all these guys have figured it out. Luke’s gonna be at the ballpark all weekend as the Seattle Mariners make their way to town. I’m gonna be doing a Maryland crabcake tour like kind of everywhere. I am immersed in oysters and crab cakes all summer long. So what brought you by the Maryland lottery? I’ll be giving away these very, very lucky 50th anniversary scratch offs, as well as our friends at window nation. 866 90 nation. That’s it spirits west on Wilkins Avenue. Like dude, Chad Weasley is gonna be coming out talking about being an NFL agent for the top running back in the market who can’t get signed. He lives in Canton. He’s going to join me in West Baltimore. I’m Nestor we are wn St. am 1570, Towson Baltimore. And we never stop talking. Especially we have guys from out of town crabs and crab cakes with Rick Vaughn. We’re Baltimore positive stay with us.