If you were here at all last week, you'll recall endless postings on the FreeBirds, the disaffected O's fans who descended on Camden Yards for a Thursday afternoon game, sang and chanted for a solid hour and then walked out, en masse. I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but the media estimate for the number of protestors became fairly standard: "more than 1,000," "nearly 1,000," "about 1,000," "about 1,000" 1,000," etc. Maybe those numbers were prepared by some sort of expert in crowd counting, which I'm not, but I walked out with the FreeBirds and I was amazed by the estimates I later read. They seemed far low to me. I felt like one of those earnest protestors down on the Mall insisting there was some sort of media conspiracy against them, and maybe I'm completely crazy, but it certainly seemed like a lot more than 1,000 to me.
Anyhow, I just talked to the rally's organizer, Nestor Aparicio, whom Peter Angelos called "thoroughly irresponsible" in the New York Times. Nestor has been accused of doing this as a publicity stunt for his radio station, but he told me not to write about him, and not to promote his station's Web site. And he said this movement isn't going away.
"All I will tell you today," he said, "is that we're not through."
He said he's gotten dozens of media inquiries, and countless e-mails from people who couldn't make the rally but want to join in for whatever's next, which is still in the works. And, needless to say, he shared my sentiments about the crowd estimate.
"I would bet my entire portfolio that there were 2,000 people," he said. "It's very, very apparent that the media is covering up and lying about this story. They want to diminish the effect of the rally. It's clear to me there's a media cover-up going on as to how many people there really were at the rally, and every video, every picture, every person that was there will back it up....I'm not sour grapes about much, but when the AP and WBAL, respected news sources, are misrepresenting the facts, that's a problem. I have a problem with that. The media's job is not to misrepresent facts or protect Peter Angelos or protect the Orioles; they're there to report the truth, and they didn't do that on Thursday."
I have some shaky video of my own, which might not demonstrate much. You can watch this, but it doesn't have any of the exit shots that most impressed me. (Although it does have a shot of my elbow.)