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Angelos' family feud casts doubt on Birds' future

Camden Yards

Let the record reflect that Cionel Perez picked up his first save of the baseball season in the Orioles’ 10-7 win over Kansas City Sunday.

Let the record also show that John Angelos got a far more significant and long lasting save hours later, without having to throw a pitch. With Baltimore buzzing with word of a lawsuit filed by Louis Angelos in Baltimore County Circuit Court aimed at his older brother, John, the fate of the Orioles, which is owned by their family, is the subject of speculation and concern. John Angelos, the team’s chairman and CEO, issued a statement on the team’s website, declaring that quote as long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor, the Orioles will remain in Baltimore unquote

That the future of the area’s baseball franchise – a staple of the community for nearly 70 years – may be a part of the squabble between Louis and John Angelos means that there is reason to wonder if their relationship can be saved. Or whether the Orioles can be extracted from their animus for the good of baseball-loving fans all over town.

Peter Angelos, John and Louis’ father, has held control of the Orioles since he led a consortium of investors who bought the team in 1993 from New York-based financier Eli Jacobs.

Peter Angelos has managed the Birds for the succeeding two decades until, because of failing health, he handed the reins to his sons, and particularly to John, who has been the club’s chairman and CEO since 2020.

There’s pretty good reason to think that if not for Peter Angelos and his group, the Orioles might well have followed the Colts out of town, under ownership that didn’t care about the city the way Angelos does. Baltimore baseball fans owe the Angeloses a debt of gratitude.

That said, I continue to believe that the Angelos family, from Peter to his sons, has mismanaged the Orioles, failing to let qualified baseball front office people do their jobs without interference.

Meanwhile, the club’s payroll has been slashed to the bone, allowing high quality talent to leave while failing to replenish the ballclub’s major league roster beyond the minor league talent level, all, apparently, to save some bucks.

I still believe that the Angelos family should sell the club to a wealthy investor or a group of backers, with the proviso that they be Baltimore-based.

The value of the team has likely increased nearly tenfold since the Orioles were sold in the 90s.

It won’t be easy to find someone who has $1.5 billion laying around. And the Angelos family will probably want to avoid having to pay capital gains taxes if it sold the club before Peter Angelos passes away. John Angelos’ statement was a nice first step toward calming civic anxiety. The next move is to sign a renewal of a lease with the Maryland Stadium Authority that would bring millions of dollars of upgrades to Oriole Park and keep the team in Baltimore for decades to come. That would be the biggest save in franchise history.

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.