Sure, two big issues have been settled for the Baltimore Orioles, but a real big one is still festering.
Ownership concerns are again surfacing in problematic fashion for the Orioles, just days after the team completed a lease deal with Maryland officials for Oriole Park at Camden Yards—an agreement containing an earlier-than-expected escape clause for the team—and after a local media rights term with MASN was settled with minimal legal drama.
The Angelos family, which has held the Orioles for 30 years, is at odds about what will happen to the franchise after patriarch Peter Angelos dies. The 94-year-old Angelos, who battled health issues in recent years, has made his wishes known: that after his death the team be sold, which would reduce capital gains taxes compared to a more immediate transaction. But John Angelos, Peter’s eldest son and the Orioles’ chair and CEO, is instead looking to maintain control of the team even after his father’s death, according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal.
“John Angelos has indicated privately that he intends to keep the club moving forward, potentially throwing the future of the franchise into turmoil,” Lindsey Adler and Jared Diamond reported for the Journal.
The family division is tied to a pair of prior competing lawsuits that pitted John Angelos and his mother, Georgia, against John’s younger brother, Louis Angelos. Those legal actions were dropped in February, but the issue of if and when to sell the Orioles remains essentially unresolved.
Suitor In Waiting
While John Angelos has reportedly told Maryland Gov. Wes Moore privately that the Orioles are not for sale, there have been no public statements to that effect, and more broadly, very few public comments at all from Angelos in recent years. That silence has helped give rise to a range of Orioles-related rumors (including talk of a potential team relocation) that have been quelled only slightly by the lease deal.
With that backdrop, Carlyle Group Inc. co-founder and Baltimore native David Rubenstein is reportedly in talks to acquire the team. A deal is not said to be imminent, but the billionaire’s interest speaks to the attraction the club has to prospective owners.
The entire Orioles drama is also playing out as the team completed a 101-win, AL East-championship season in October, marking the club’s best campaign since 1979.