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Friday Bird Droppings: A new lease might finally be happening

The Orioles have reportedly reached a deal with the state on a new lease for Camden Yards, which will be considered for approval on Monday.

Orioles chairman John Angelos and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore might finally have a deal.
Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Orioles might finally have an agreement on a new long-term lease for Camden Yards.

I know, I know, we’ve been burned before, from the Oriole Park scoreboard proudly announcing an agreement during the Birds’ clinching game (which turned out to be just a memorandum of understanding, not a lease) to a reportedly finished deal last week that was scuttled by the president of the state senate, Bill Ferguson.

Third time’s the charm, perhaps. As reported by The Baltimore Banner, both the Orioles and Maryland Governor Wes Moore have confirmed that they’ve come to an agreement on a reworked lease, though details of the deal are not yet publicly known. Both the Maryland State Authority and the Board of Public Works will hold special meetings on Monday to consider the lease for approval, which are crucial steps toward finalizing the deal.

As always, it’s not a done deal until the ink is dry. There’s always a chance that further complications could arise, such as the committees voting not to approve the lease (though the Banner notes that the Orioles have looped in Ferguson and other lawmakers on reworked details of the agreement, indicating that the state government is on board with the changes). We should know a lot more after Monday’s meetings.

Let’s hope it’s for real this time. I’m sure I’m not the only O’s fan who’s grown tired of the drawn-out lease drama, even if I’m not among the more extreme reactionaries who are convinced the Orioles will relocate to Nashville if they don’t sign a new lease. Assuming this gets done, it’ll be nice not to have to think about the lease again for decades and return our focus solely to the product on the field.

Oh, and sorry, Nashville. Better luck next time.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Ex-Orioles born on this day include outfielder Luis Montañez (42), right-handers Ryan Eades (32) and Rick Helling (53), and the late first baseman Eddie Robinson (b. 1920, d. 2021), who passed away at 100 years old. For a time he was the oldest living former MLB player.

It’s also the 24th birthday of former O’s prospect Drew Rom, who was on the Orioles’ roster for a couple of days this season but never got into a game, then was sent to St. Louis in the ill-advised Jack Flaherty trade and defeated the Birds in an interleague game in September.

Historically, the Orioles have made a bunch of transactions on this date, so maybe they’ll follow the tradition and do something noteworthy today. Among their Dec. 15 deals:

  • In 1962, they made a six-player swap with the Giants that brought pitchers Stu Miller and Mike McCormick and catcher John Orsino to Baltimore. Miller turned into an essential reliever for the Birds, racking up 99 saves with a 2.37 ERA in nearly 300 games over five years. He was elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1989.
  • In 1966, they traded away another Orioles Hall of Famer, reliever Dick Hall, to the Phillies after a sterling six seasons with the Birds. Hall would return to the O’s two years later for another three-season stint.
  • In 2003, the O’s selected 23-year-old infielder José Bautista from the Pirates in the Rule 5 draft. Bautista, who had never played above High-A ball, lasted just 16 games and 12 plate appearances with the O’s before he cycled through three other teams and back to the Pirates, but he did eventually emerge as one of the game’s best sluggers — and one of its biggest irritants — for the Blue Jays.
  • As far as free agent signings on this date, the O’s inked lefty Norm Charlton in 1997, shortstop Deivi Cruz in 2002, outfielder Chris Dickerson in 2016, and second baseman Adam Frazier just last year. Those signings ranged from somewhat useful (Frazier) to utterly terrible (Charlton).