In an October 2, 2012 article in the Baltimore Sun, it was brought to the attention of th general public that Towson University is having to consider the option of cutting the baseball and men’s soccer programs due to lack of funding among other reasons. Other than the fact that Towson’s a local Baltimore-area school and one of my cousins went there, I have no reason to support them per se. However let me say that I feel this is an issue worth fighting for and thus worth the time on Birds Watcher. Major League Baseball has a program called “RBI,” which stands for Reviving Baseball in Inner cities. It’s a youth outreach program designed to get inner city youths playing baseball, which will keep them off the streets and out of trouble. It will also help to get inner city kids into baseball again as opposed to some of the other sports.
Like all major league franchises, the Baltimore Orioles and Orioles Reach participate in this program. I suppose my point in bringing it up is what kind of message does it send if a local university is considering the expungement of their baseball program? That may be a bit of a reach, and I understand that. According to the Sun’s article, Athletic Director Mike Waddell feels that the long-term financial viability of the program (and that of the soccer program) is in question. Funding is a major issue for all college programs, so it’s easy for us to say that they should keep the programs “just because.” However again, what kind of message would this send while MLB is trying to re-invigorate baseball into cities?
This is all a very tough argument to make, because obviously if the funding is not there it would be tough for the program to continue. I’m not sure what type of fundraising is done on behalf of Towson baseball and soccer, however those efforts can always be stepped up. Here’s the other thing; this might be an opportunity for the Orioles to step in an help save a local baseball program. That’s very easy for me to say, especially given that it’s not my money. However I suspect that the Orioles and majority owner Peter Angelos would be viewed in a very positive light if they were to help out. I’m not suggesting that the franchise should kick in whatever revenue shortfall that exists, however a helping hand here and there wouldn’t hurt. Moving into next season they could also donate a portion of ticket sales for a game to the Towson baseball program, or something along those lines. (DC United of Major League Soccer might also benefit from the positive PR if they did the same for the men’s soccer program.)
I suppose what I’m saying is that there are ways that the Orioles and even MLB can help without physically bailing out the program financially (if that’s a concern). However before it even gets to that point I would call on AD Waddell as well as University President Maravene Loeschke to think twice about removing these two sports. I firmly believe that athletics serve us in various manners, many of which are intangible. Again I recognize that there are concerns (financial as well as others) in play here, and in no way am I suggesting that they should go unnoticed. However I would just call upon the university to find a better way to address their concerns rather than cutting two sports. Admittedly I don’t know the inner details of the situation, however again…there has to be a better way.