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Gov, O’s: We want to revitalize Camden Yards

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Gov. Wes Moore and the Baltimore Orioles issued a joint statement today reemphasizing a partnership to revitalize the Camden Yards area, potentially paving the way for a new Oriole Park lease before the end of the season.

There are two issues at play here. First is a new lease for the Orioles; the current Oriole Park lease ends Dec. 31. The Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority have been discussing Oriole Park renovations for several years now, and the two sides share a vision of a renovated Oriole Park featuring new social spaces and new smaller group seating areas. And the two sides have had plenty of time to talk about the upgrades: the original Oriole Park lease was extended from 2021 to Dec. 31, 2023, and potentially long with the Orioles holding a potential five-year extension pushing the end date to February 1, 2028.

Any new lease and renovation plan will lend some clarity to the future of the Orioles: Peter Angelos is now in his early nineties and still leads the limited partnership controlling the team, with son John Angelos the MLB control person. The fear is that if the team is sold without a new lease worked out, a new owner could buy the team and move it to a new market. But the team has been quietly working to tie up loose ends: litigation between members of the Angelos family has quietly ended, and the Orioles settled in June a dispute with the Washington Nationals over unpaid rights fees on MASN. At the All-Star break MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says he fully expects the Orioles to sign a new Oriole Park lease and remain in Baltimore.

But there’s been a lot of ill-informed speculation deriving from the current Oriole Park lease. There’s no indication the team is considering a sale or move from Oriole Park, one of baseball’s most iconic venues, despite idle speculation to the contrary. Talks between the state, the Maryland Stadium Authority and the city have progressed accordingly, and this joint statement from Moore and the team reinforces the belief that talks are progressing:

The last four months have been exciting on and off the field. Baltimore City and the State of Maryland all have Orioles fever. We’ve laid the groundwork for success, and progress is also being made on our vision to expand and revitalize the Camden Yards campus. 

We are determined to make it happen, and soon. 

What comes next for the Camden Yards campus must serve our entire community and the city as a whole. From the ballpark and surrounding neighborhoods to Harborplace and the Inner Harbor, we are committed to making the downtown corridor a premier destination that benefits Baltimore and Maryland residents year-round. 

We have shared ideals to create a thriving and inclusive Baltimore, not just for the Orioles, but for all those who call it home.

(Just a point of clarification: the ballpark is Oriole Park at Camden Yards, not Camden Yards. The area around the ballpark and M&T Stadium is the general Camden Yards area.)

Second, there’s one more wild card to throw out here: the development of the Camden Yards area through a mixed-use development a la the Battery in Atlanta, something specifically referenced in the statement. We’re told this has been a center of discussions between the pro teams and the state; whether anything will happen this year when the focus is on a new Oriole Park lease remains to be seen.

RELATED STORIES: State funding approved for Oriole Park renovations, MiLB ballpark upgrades; Orioles, Maryland Stadium Authority still discussing Oriole Park renovationsOrioles, MSA extend Oriole Park lease through 2023Future of Orioles ownership in transitional timeOrioles, stadium authority negotiating new Oriole Park leaseBaltimore Orioles Planning Oriole Park Future

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