Good morning, Camden Chatters.
Even with baseball not yet in action, there was a lot going on at Oriole Park yesterday — perhaps more than O’s ownership would have preferred.
In a press conference with Orioles Chairman and CEO John Angelos and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, the O’s announced a $5 million commitment to CollegeBound, a foundation that helps Baltimore City students pursue a college degree or other post-secondary option. The Orioles’ commitment to CollegeBound, Angelos said, is part of the team’s overall pledge to revitalize the Baltimore community. It’s a noble pursuit, for sure, and kudos to the O’s for their charitable efforts.
However, the press conference turned awkward when Angelos bristled at a question from O’s beat writer Dan Connolly of The Athletic, who asked about the Angelos family’s future as owners of the team. The Sun’s Nathan Ruiz provided the transcript of the tense exchange between Angelos and Connolly, in which Angelos repeatedly called the question “highly inappropriate” to discuss on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
I understand why Angelos wanted to keep the press conference on the topic of CollegeBound and the Orioles’ presence in the community, and why he might not be willing to talk about his family’s finances. But surely he had to expect he’d be asked about the ownership situation, considering this was the first time he’s met publicly with the media in years. Connolly’s question was fair and relevant to the subject at hand, and certainly it’s something that many Orioles fans have been wondering about.
As a reminder, John’s brother, Louis, filed a lawsuit last June against John and their mother, Georgia Angelos, claiming that John had improperly taken control of the team. Additionally, the Orioles’ slashing of the payroll over the last several years — an issue that didn’t improve this offseason, even with the club now seemingly in a position to compete — and the fact that the O’s haven’t yet renewed their lease at Camden Yards have led to speculation about the club’s future under the Angelos family.
So, yes, good on Connolly for asking. Angelos had the right to respond with a “no comment,” but by seemingly chastising the reporter for a legitimate question, he probably didn’t endear himself to O’s fans who have long been wary of ownership’s true intentions. And if MLK Day isn’t the “appropriate” time to discuss questions about the team, then ownership needs to be willing to make itself available to the media more frequently.
For what it’s worth, Angelos promised to invite the media back to his office at a later date to go over the team’s financials and governance and “show you everything you want to know.” For the sake of Orioles fans who have plenty of uncertainty about the club’s future, let’s hope he keeps his promise.
Connolly: John Angelos says he’s ‘very transparent’ but actions show otherwise - The Athletic
Connolly gives his perspective about yesterday’s exchange. As you might imagine, he doesn’t have a lot of kind things to say about John Angelos.
John Angelos: ‘Fear not, the Orioles will be here’ - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Angelos did address the lease situation, saying “we’re going to get this done” and “the Orioles will be here.” That's great to hear. Now, would it be too much to ask to shell out for some notable free agents anytime soon?
More with O's top international signee Luis Almeyda and on Sunday's announcement - Blog
International signing Luis Almeyda has already spent most of his life in the United States, even if it was just New Jersey. Hey-o!
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Born on this day was left-hander Jay Heard (b. 1920, d. 1999), who in 1954 became the first African American player in Orioles franchise history. Other former Orioles with Jan. 17 birthdays include right-hander Rob Bell (46) and the late catcher and scout Dick Brown (b. 1935, d. 1970).
On this day in 1970, the Orioles drafted infielder Doug DeCinces in the third round of the now-defunct MLB January draft, a secondary draft for players who graduated in the winter. DeCinces proved to be an excellent pick, rising through the minors and capably taking over the third base spot from legendary Oriole Brooks Robinson in 1976. DeCinces played strong defense, hit 107 home runs — including a walkoff shot in 1979 that birthed “Orioles Magic” — and posted a .751 OPS in an O’s career that spanned nine seasons. He was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 2006.