That sounds like I’m trying to be an asshole, right? It sounds like I woke up this morning and read that Mike Flanagan had committed suicide, and I’ve got no tact or personal connection to the man or his family so I came up with something jokey and tasteless for a headline. That’s what we do on the Internet, right? Joke about these things until they don’t matter?
Flanagan’s body was found outside his Baltimore County home yesterday afternoon. He was 59.
Police have not released an official cause of death … But WBAL-TV Sports Director Gerry Sandusky confirmed with sources that Flanagan committed suicide “despondent over what he considered a false perception from a community he loved of his role in the team’s prolonged failure.”
Flanagan, in many respects, was as “Baltimore” as the city itself. He lived in Baltimore County. From 1975 until 1992, he played all but four of his 18 seasons in the Major Leagues there. He won a Cy Young for the Orioles in 1979 and a World Series in ’83, and in his post-playing days stuck around in Baltimore as a pitching coach, broadcaster and executive vice president of baseball operations. That would’ve been a general manager in most places. The Baltimore Orioles haven’t had a winning season since 1997, but as weird as it is to hope there was some reasonable explanation for a man taking his own life, you’ve got to hope that there was more to it than that.
The Baltimore Sun has started posting reactions from various Orioles players and executives, including a statement from Peter Angelos and this from Cal Ripken, Jr. I don’t think I can handle a sad Cal Ripken.
“I am so sorry to hear about Mike’s passing. He was a good friend and teammate and our thoughts are with Alex and his family. Mike was an Oriole through and through and he will be sorely missed by family, friends and fans. This is a sad day.”
Even sadder is Jim Palmer, who had to react to the news in the middle of last night’s game.
Rest in peace, Mr. Flanagan, and thank you for trying.