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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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The Orioles’ Rubenstein Era at Last Begins, and With Ripken Back in Fold 

  • The billionaire private equity executive receives unanimous approval of his purchase of the MLB club.
  • The Baseball Hall of Famer is now back fully after maintaining a certain distance from the Orioles.
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

A new era for the Orioles is officially underway, and it will now include franchise icon and Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. (above) in a much larger way. 

MLB owners unanimously approved Wednesday the purchase of the team by billionaire private equity executive David Rubenstein, valuing the team and related assets at $1.725 billion. The formal assent arrived four days after the death of former team owner Peter Angelos, who leaves an impactful and complex legacy on both the franchise and Baltimore overall. 

Rubenstein arrives with big expectations, taking over a team in the midst of a large-scale renaissance on and off the field, and he has several large-scale goals for the Orioles, including potentially reaching a fundamental resolution of the long-running Mid-Atlantic Sports Network dispute with the Nationals. 

“John [Angelos, Peter’s son and former team chair] led a dramatic overhaul of the team’s management, roster, recruitment strategy, and farm system in recent years,” said Rubenstein, who continued Wednesday what has already been a more public profile than much of the Angelos era. “Our job is to build on these accomplishments to advance a world-class professional sports agenda—with eyes on returning a World Series trophy to Baltimore.”

Rubenstein and his partners are acquiring 40% of the team and operational control now, with a plan in place to purchase an additional 30% from the Angelos family over time.

Return of the Iron Man

The agreement also includes the formal return of Ripken to the franchise, as he is part of Rubenstein’s ownership group. Since the former star infielder’s retirement in 2001, he has been more tangentially tied to the Orioles, primarily through ownership of a minor league affiliate in Aberdeen, Md. Ripken showed interest at various points in a larger, renewed relationship with the team, but it never happened during the Angelos era, and in recent years he maintained a certain distance from the Orioles. 

Now, Ripken is set to participate in the first pitch ceremony at Thursday’s season opener at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, marking a very public start to his new tenure as team co-owner.

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