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Thursday, February 29, 2024

A New Era in Baltimore Is Dawning With Rubenstein’s Profile, Wallet

  • New MLB team owner quickly shows a different tenor than the Angelos family.
  • The presence of Ripken Jr. in the franchise purchase provides a further lift.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Could a Steve Cohen clone of sorts be manifesting further down Interstate 95?

As the David Rubenstein–led purchase of the Baltimore Orioles was officially announced, the private equity billionaire began to make it immediately clear that he is very different from current team chair and CEO John Angelos, and perhaps has more in common with Cohen, the outspoken, high-spending New York Mets owner. 

In heralding the deal, Rubenstein made a trio of tweets Wednesday afternoon. Even though MLB has temporarily restrained the substance of Rubenstein’s public comments while it reviews the deal, valuing the Orioles at $1.725 billion, those statements still quickly leaped past Angelos, who has kept a particularly low profile over the past year and has been highly measured in any of his statements, both public and private, to the point of frustrating Maryland state officials. 

“The impact of the Orioles extends far beyond the baseball diamond,” Rubenstein said. “The opportunity to catalyze development around Camden Yards and in downtown Baltimore will provide generations of fans with lifelong memories and create additional economic opportunities for our community.”

The executive further pledged to “communicate publicly when possible.”

Rubenstein is taking on a highly talented Orioles team that just had its best season in 40 years, but still ranked 29th in team payroll, due primarily to a fertile collection of young talent still ineligible for arbitration or free agency. The 2024 projection still has Baltimore in the same ranking. But as that player core reaches its peak-earning years, Rubenstein is expected to keep up financially, and perhaps then some. His estimated net worth of $3.7 billion easily surpasses the $2 billion figure for Angelos family patriarch Peter Angelos. 

The team purchase has been further burnished, both financially and emotionally, by the inclusion of franchise icon Cal Ripken Jr. as a minority owner. The Hall of Famer, now a successful businessperson in his own right, is beloved across the Orioles’ fan base, but he never took on a formal, post-playing role with the team during the Angelos era. 

“I am excited to once again be a part of the Orioles organization,” Ripken Jr. said. “The Orioles have been a part of my life since I was a child, and this is a special day. I look forward to this opportunity, and will do whatever I can to help the organization.”

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