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Orioles-McCartney deal doesn't 'pass smell test.

Paul McCartney performs in Las Vegas as part of his 'Driving USA' tour.
Paul McCartney performs in Las Vegas as part of his 'Driving USA' tour.

It appears no matter what the Orioles do on the field, they’re going to emerge from 2022 as a winner where it apparently counts for them, in the profit/loss column. With an estimated payroll of $63 million, a figure that may shrink if, as expected, the team deals Trey Mancini, the player with the biggest salary at $7.5 million, the Orioles are rolling in the dough, which seems more important to management than winning on the diamond.

Indeed, the club just scored its biggest win of the year a couple of weeks ago, when it got the Maryland Stadium Authority to opt out of financial participation in next month’s Paul McCartney concert at Oriole Park.

In this case, the Birds didn’t beat the Yankees or Red Sox, but Maryland taxpayers, who foot the bill for the ballpark they play in.

The Orioles convinced the MSA Board of Directors to pass up receiving 45 percent of the revenue from the McCartney show, as they are entitled to do, as the park’s owner.

The MSA won’t go away empty-handed from the concert, as it will get an eight percent cut of the amusement tax on the proceedings, which amounts to eight percent of all tickets sold.

In an attempt to put a smiley face on the affair, MSA Chairman Leonard Kelso noted to the Baltimore Sun that the authority will assume no risk and will get some money, roughly between 700-thousand and 800-thousand, which is probably more than the Orioles are paying most of their players.

Legally, the Orioles have every right to want to keep every penny from the McCartney concert, just as they did three years ago, when Billy Joel played at Oriole Park.

Under the terms of their lease with the MSA, the team is entitled to request that the stadium authority stand down from proceeds from non-baseball events held at the stadium. The club’s logic seems to be that in sharing revenue, there is less of an incentive to book Oriole Park for non-baseball events, since there’s less revenue.

The authority can say no, but likely doesn’t in the name of landlord-tenant harmony.

Again it’s all legal, but, just because something is legal doesn’t mean that it’s right.

State treasurer Dereck Davis opened last week’s Board of Public Works meeting by declaring that the arrangement didn’t quote pass the smell test unquote.

Davis, who represents the Maryland legislature on the board, said the MSA could have opted out of the revenue on its own without the Orioles asking, if it was such a great idea.

Davis further noted that the stadium authority quote has a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of the state of Maryland. They’re not a grant program for any of these entities end quote.

He’s right, of course, and let’s add one other element to mix: What of the Orioles’ spending patterns in recent years gives one reason to believe that the club will plow the McCartney money into improving the club?

The Orioles have taken their fans on a long and winding road to losing. It would be nice to see that they’re at least spending some of our money along the way to make it better.

And that’s how I see it for this week. You can reach us via email with your questions and comments at Sports at Large at gmail.com. And follow me on Twitter at Sports at Large.

Until next week, for all of us here, I’m Milton Kent. Thanks for listening and enjoy the games.

Milton Kent hosted the weekly commentary Sports at Large from its creation in 2002 to its finale in July 2013. He has written about sports locally and nationally since 1988, covering the Baltimore Orioles, University of Maryland men's basketball, women's basketball and football, the Washington Wizards, the NBA, men's and women's college basketball and sports media for the Baltimore Sun and AOL Fanhouse. He has covered the World Series, the American and National League Championship Series, the NFL playoffs, the NBA Finals and 17 NCAA men's and women's Final Fours. He currently teaches journalism at Morgan State University.