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The Orioles fired General Manager Frank Wren on Thursday.
  Text of the Press Release Issued by the Orioles

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As a result of a meeting earlier this week with General Manager Frank Wren, the management of the Baltimore Orioles has decided to terminate Wren's contract.

The announcement was made today by Orioles Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Joseph Foss.

Foss, along with Orioles General Counsel Russell Smouse, met Tuesday with Wren "to come to agreement on how everyone involved could work together for the upcoming season. Among the matters discussed was a season-long series of incidents involving a variety of personnel matters, both with front office staff and players. As a result of failing to resolve these issues, it was determined that Mr. Wren's employment could not longer be continued," Foss said.

Also discussed at the meeting, Foss said, was "a recent episode of considerable concern." That episode occurred Sept. 17, when the Orioles were scheduled to fly to California for a three-game series with the Angels.

"Cal Ripken, traveling from his home to meet the team's privately chartered jet for an 8 a.m. flight to a game later that night in Anaheim, found himself delayed in congested traffic. He called the team's traveling secretary, Phil Itzoe, by car phone to assure him that he would be arriving at the airport within the next five to ten minutes. Itzoe relayed this information to Wren, who declared he would not wait beyond the scheduled departure time. At Wren's order, the plan[e] took off without Cal, who arrived at the gate a few minutes later. Cal was then forced to make his own cross-country travel arrangements. He had to hurry to the Washington, D.C., airport, where he found a flight to Las Vegas and then had to take another flight to California, arriving hours after the team," Foss said.

"In the opinion of management, there was no need for such an arbitrary and inflexible decision. In the meeting, Wren defiantly dismissed our concerns, characterized them as 'silly' and insisted he would invoke the same take-off order no matter what the extenuating circumstances," said Foss. "The Orioles management cannot and will not abide having a general manager operate in such an unreasonable, authoritarian manner and treat anyone in this way, especially someone such as Cal who has done so much for the Orioles and for baseball."

Foss noted that among other incidents pointed out to Wren were situations where he had made "extremely negative comments about various personnel. After first rejecting any need to apologize to these people, he agreed to apologize to three of those individuals, but refused to apologize to a fourth."

Foss concluded, "After careful consideration and prolonged deliberation, we have come to the conclusion that an on-going constructive working relationship is impossible and we have no alternative but to recommend that Frank Wren's contract as general manager be terminated."

In commenting on the situation, Orioles Chariman and CEO Peter Angelos said, "Regrettably, I must concur with the recommendation to terminate Mr. Wren's services and feel that the Orioles were left with no alternative."

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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