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Friday Bird Droppings: The Orioles might be getting a new owner

Billionaire and Baltimore native David Rubenstein is reportedly in talks to buy the Orioles from the Angelos family.

David Rubenstein becomes chairman of the Kennedy Center board.
Meet the possible next owner of the Orioles, David Rubenstein.
Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

If you’re an Orioles fan who has never been particularly enthused about how the Angelos family has run the organization, well, you might not have to worry about them much longer.

According to a Bloomberg report yesterday, Baltimore native David Rubenstein — whose net worth is an estimated $4.6 billion — has been “in talks” to buy the Orioles. The 74-year-old Rubenstein is the co-founder and CEO of a global investment firm, the Carlyle Group. He was formerly a lawyer and worked for the Carter Administration, and he’s been involved in philanthropic efforts in the Washington, D.C. area in particular, donating millions to help restore the Washington Monument and to build the giant panda complex at the National Zoo, among other things. He even bought the last privately owned copy of the Magna Carta. So, yeah, this is a guy who’s in good financial position to purchase the Orioles.

The Bloomberg article cautions that this sale is by no means a sure thing. The negotiations are so fluid that “a deal could be announced in [the] first half next year,” or the talks could fall apart completely. Rubenstein might not even be the only person in discussions to buy the team, and the Angelos family could choose not to sell until after Peter Angelos’s death, if at all. So let’s not count our chickens before they’ve hatched.

Still, the news of a possible sale has certainly piqued the interest of Orioles fans. Considering that John Angelos has made numerous public comments implying that the O’s won’t be spending any significant money under his stewardship, fans are understandably intrigued by the idea of a potentially free-spending billionaire taking the reins of the organization. Rubenstein, if he eventually runs the club, could represent a clear upgrade in ownership if he’s willing to shell out the kind of money for roster upgrades that his predecessor apparently isn’t.

Links

In latest twist, Orioles may be considering sale – Baltimore Sun
The Sun offers more insight into a potential sale. It seems that Rubenstein has been toying with the idea for quite a few years now.

Kimbrel: “I want to win and the Orioles want to win” - School of Roch
Craig Kimbrel said all the right things on his video call with the media, once he figured out how to unmute himself. Well, the O’s aren’t paying him for his Zoom skills.

Craig Kimbrel will help the bullpen. But the Orioles need more. - The Baltimore Banner
Paul Mancano notes that, even with Kimbrel, the O’s bullpen still feels at least one pitcher shy. I have full confidence that Mike Elias and his crew will find some random jabroni on waivers and turn him into an All-Star, because that's just what they do.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And a very happy 55th birthday to Hall of Famer and the sixth greatest Oriole of all time, Mike Mussina. A first round pick by the Orioles in 1990, the right-hander’s incredible 10-year Baltimore career included 147 wins, a 3.53 ERA, five All-Star selections, and seven top-six AL Cy Young finishes, though some O’s fans still haven’t forgiven him for leaving the Orioles for the hated Yankees in free agency, where he had another eight strong seasons. It took way too long for the Hall of Fame to recognize Mussina’s greatness before they finally inducted him in 2019, 11 years after his retirement.

It’s also the 47th birthday of infielder José León, who was just a bit less prominent in O’s history than Mussina.

The O’s have made a few trades on this day in history. In 1983, they parted ways with one-time closer Tim Stoddard, who’d pitched in 229 games and had 57 saves in six years with the Birds, sending him to the Athletics for utility man Wayne Gross. And in 1988, they acquired speedy outfielder Phil Bradley from the Phillies, who performed well for a year and a half before the O’s foolishly traded him for Ron Kittle.