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John Angelos is Full of Shit
I’m sorry, but I cannot be Mr. Goodbar any longer when it comes to John Angelos.
Angelos gave a wide-ranging interview not to Baltimore media, certainly not to Dan Connolly, but to the New York Times about the future of the Orioles. And if you are at all an Orioles fan, you will want to vomit.
First off, Angelos stated that the suspension of Kevin Brown should never have happened:
Angelos said the team was reviewing the internal processes that resulted in discipline for the broadcaster, Kevin Brown, who merely pointed out on air that the Orioles used to struggle mightily in road games against the Tampa Bay Rays. Angelos said he hoped that Brown would remain with the team for a long time. “Nothing like that is going to happen again,” he added. “It shouldn’t have happened once.”
OK, but why did this go on for TWO WEEKS before it was even spoken of, and why, for the first time, is Angelos speaking about it to New York media? ESPECIALLY considering that he could have ended the suspension at any time since he is the controller of both the Orioles and MASN.
Angelos then goes into his wishcasting about Camden Yards redevelopment that we have previously discussed.
But this is the real part of the Angelos interview that desperately needs to be highlighted because of just how wrong it is.
While the Braves have nine players signed beyond 2024, the Orioles have none. They will not spend more without making more.
“I don’t think you should run losses,” Angelos said. “I think you should live within your means and within your market.”
The Orioles’ $70 million payroll this season ranks 28th of the 30 teams. It is largely a function of the players’ lack of service time, which limits their earning power in the peculiar economy of baseball. Angelos has a lot of qualms with that system: “The hardest thing to do in sports is be a small-market team in baseball and be competitive, because everything is stacked against you — everything,” he said. And he conceded that it might not be feasible for his popular young core to be career Orioles like Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer and Cal Ripken Jr.
Without major changes, he sees only one way the team could retain all of its young stars.
“We’re going to have to raise the prices here — dramatically,” he said.
That is a well-worn rationale, to be sure, but wouldn’t any business simply set its prices to whatever the market bears, regardless of expenses?
“Well, that’s a good question,” Angelos said. “But let’s say we sat down and showed you the financials for the Orioles. You will quickly see that when people talk about giving this player $200 million, that player $150 million, we would be so financially underwater that you’d have to raise the prices massively. Now, are people going to come and pay that? I don’t know if we’re at the limit, to your point. I don’t know if we’re in equilibrium elasticity, supply and demand. Maybe we are. But really that’s just one team. What I’m really trying to think about is macro.”
Angelos offered wide-ranging theories on baseball’s economics — talking points, perhaps, for future labor negotiations with the union. But the current collective bargaining agreement runs through 2026, and it’s reasonable to wonder whether these Orioles will be building a dynasty by then or breaking up.
I mean, for those of you who have been paying any attention to the Orioles, you know just how damn great it is to be a fan of the on-field product right now. With Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, and Grayson Rodriguez already here, plus Jackson Holliday and Samuel Basallo on the way, the Orioles are poised to be VERY good for a VERY long time.
But here we are, years before these guys even hit arbitration, and Angelos is already laying the groundwork for these to be shipped out of Baltimore or to leave via free agency by the end of the decade.
Also, if Angelos wants to talk about opening the books as he previously has done twice, he can get around to showing us the damn books.
The problem here is that Angelos is trying to portray Baltimore as a small-market team when that could not be anything further from the truth.
Baltimore is the 28th media-market in the country. However, the Orioles market ALSO encompasses the entire Washington media-market, (the #8 market). The MASN Broadcast area includes large chunks of Pennsylvania, parts of West Virginia, all of Virginia, and a huge chunk of North Carolina. The Orioles territory includes the numbers 21, 23, 43, 44, and 56. Combined, the Baltimore-Washington area media market passed Chicago as the third largest media market in the country.
John Angelos is full of shit when he tells people that Baltimore is a small market team WHEN IT EXISTS IN A TOP THREE MEDIA MARKET.
Look, I have defended the Orioles and Mike Elias for the way that they have spent money and for not spending money when it makes no sense. But for Angelos to come out and basically hold baseball operations hostage if he does not get his precious land deal is extremely negligent on his behalf and damaging to a team that looks poised to win its first Division Title in nine years.
The essential problem with this strategy is that John Angelos is still John Angelos, and based on his temper tantrum in January followed by his eventually broken spring training promises about showing financial information to reporters, nothing positive that he says can be trusted as being worth anything. Only his actions matter now, and here we are more than a month after his proposed All-Star gift of a new lease, and what we’ve got in the NYT is “Angelos does not like the word lease,” apparently preferring his own delusional idea of “a public-private partnership.”
If John Angelos thinks that his family cannot afford the team without a massive influx of state money and his precious redevelopment project, then he needs to find an owner who can actually afford to buy the team and invest in the product. We are reaching absurd levels of miserly behavior at this point
When the Orioles rebuild is reaching its conclusion, ownership is out here stepping on its own dick to draw attention to itself for all the wrong reasons. It’s mistreating fans and mistreating players who are doing their damndest to bring Baltimore a winner. If only the Angelos Family were as committed to that…