Recently the Orioles principal owner, John Angelos, met with the press for 37 minutes to discuss the team and the team’s future.
Mr. Angelos made a number of astounding admissions. The main goal for the team is to sustain profitability every year by becoming a team like the Tampa Bay Rays, a competitive team (with attendance problems) that makes money but does not build dynasties or win championships.
Mr. Angelos said the Orioles rebuild is finished. The team is not going to get much better. Liftoff is complete. The launch is over. Mission accomplished. We are as good as we are going to get. The O’s are predicted to be a sub-.500 team this year. And you thought they were good.
We are not signing any long-term contracts(get used to it). We are not building a dynasty or even a champion. The O’s are not going to spend $100 million. Their current payroll is almost covered by the TV money they get from the league($61 million). Six years ago the O’s spent $140 million per year on the payroll.
Mr. Angelos also stated that he does not control the payroll. That is simply not credible. Everyone expected the team to spend more yet the $65 million payroll is all for this year and the second-lowest payroll in MLB. Although Mr. Angelos said he didn’t control the payroll he said in years to come the payroll could possibly get to $100 million. It will get to $100 million when $100 million is worth $65 million.
Mr. Angelos is building a team that makes money every year regardless of wins or losses. The Tampa model is one of sustainable profits because the management field’s a competitive team but they never win the World Series. Why not?
The main reason is that, like Tampa, the Orioles will not sign players to long-term contracts so if our prospects become stars, the Orioles will not sign them long-term to keep them. Every rising star will be another Manny Machado, going to a team that builds winners and spends more. Meanwhile, the Orioles spend barely more on payroll than they get from the league in TV money($61 million). There will be no player to build a future on because any player that is truly good will want a long-term deal and they will not get one in Baltimore. Our success will be wholly predicated on the rookie deals we sign and how long we can hold on to them if they are really good. Just when we have the makings of a winner, our best player will be traded. Can’t be good for the fan base.
The future for fans is sketchy at best. They think they are getting a good team and they are not. But it is a great team for John Angelos because (with the Tampa model) he will make a fortune every single year as he has been doing for the past 4 years.
Dudley Thompson lives in Girdletree, MD., population 106. He was born, raised, and lived most of his life in Baltimore. He worked for the News-American on the advertising side until it closed in ‘86. His second career was teaching in juvenile jails for the Maryland State Department of Education. He holds a Masters in Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University, ‘77, and a B.A from the University of Maryland,’74.