This wasn’t an automatic decision, but it was always the most likely outcome: the Baltimore Orioles and various government bodies reached a deal to keep the team at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for at least 30 more years.
The announcement of a new
lease nonbinding memorandum of understanding came at the Orioles game last night and is the cherry on top of the sundae for O’s fans, who are prepping for the team’s return to the playoffs in October. The Angelos family has been negotiating with the Baltimore Stadium Authority, the city and the state over a new lease that would see Oriole Park improvements and also create an entertainment district (The Battery as inspiration, of course) next to the ballpark and M&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. True, these negotiations did come down to the wire–the team’s Oriole Park lease ends on Dec. 31–it was more wishful thinking from fans in markets seeking MLB baseball that the team would likely walk away from Baltimore.
Indeed, the intent was pretty clearly telegraphed in July, when Angelos and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore issued a statement 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. The team has been laying the groundwork for a new lease all season by wrapping up some loose ends: litigation between members of the Angelos family 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 said he fully expected the Orioles to sign a new Oriole Park lease and remain in Baltimore. The state had already authorized $600 million for funding Oriole Park renovations, and a lease agreement allows a plan to spend that money to move forward.
As noted, the new
lease nonbinding memorandum of understanding was announced by the team at last night’s game, with a promise that more details would be forthcoming today. Involved in the discussions: the Maryland Stadium Authority, Moore and Mayor Brandon Scott.
“The Baltimore Orioles are an institution and an irreplaceable member of the collective family that makes up Charm City,” Scott said in a statement. “I am extremely pleased that under this agreement, they will continue to call Oriole Park at Camden Yards — the ballpark that forever changed baseball — home for another generation. I want to thank John Angelos and the entire Orioles organization for continuing to be a team not only in Baltimore, but of Baltimore. I also want to thank Governor Moore, Maryland Stadium Authority Chair Craig Thompson, and the entire team at the state for their great work ensuring our Orioles remain in Baltimore. I look forward to working with them and all of our partners as we embark on the next steps to modernize Oriole Park and the surrounding area into the best version of itself.”
UPDATED: Sigh. Not a final solution, but obviously a way to address the previous commitment to settle the team’s situation before the end of the year.
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