As All-Star break nears end without new Camden Yards lease, Orioles and Gov. Moore say they’re ‘determined to make it happen’ before year-end expiration

13 July 2023

Both baseball season and the calendar year have passed their respective midpoints. The Orioles remain without a long-term lease to keep them at Camden Yards.

In February, Orioles CEO and Chairman John Angelos said he would “love to have [a new lease] as an All-Star break gift for everybody, really, in the community.” The All-Star break ends Friday, when the Orioles begin the second half of their season against the Miami Marlins, but no new deal has been struck between the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority, which serves as its landlord at Oriole Park.

In a joint statement Thursday from Democrat Gov. Wes Moore and the Orioles, the two sides did not provide particulars on lease negotiations, but said progress is being made on their “vision to expand and revitalize the Camden Yards campus.”

“We are determined to make it happen, and soon,” the statement said.

Earlier in the week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said his “view of the future of the Orioles in Baltimore has not changed.”

“I have every confidence that there will be a resolution on these issues,” Manfred said before the All-Star Game in Seattle. “They’ll stay in Baltimore.”

On the other side of a lengthy rebuild, the Orioles (54-35) enjoyed the franchise’s best first half winning percentage since 1997. They sent four players to the All-Star Game and have the third-best record in baseball.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott does not have a direct role in negotiations between the club and the state, but he is in “frequent contact with both state leaders and with Chairman Angelos on a host of issues,” spokesperson Bryan Doherty said in a statement Wednesday.

“He’s confident that the O’s aren’t going anywhere anytime soon,” Doherty said.

The Orioles have played in Baltimore since 1954 and at Camden Yards since 1992, and Angelos has long been adamant that would be the case for decades to come. The current lease, originally a 30-year agreement made in 1992 that was extended two more years in 2021, has fewer than six months until it expires at the end of the calendar year.

“What comes next for the Camden Yards campus must serve our entire community and the city as a whole,” the statement from Moore and the Orioles said. “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.”

The team had the opportunity in February to exercise a one-time option in the lease to extend it by five years but declined, believing a set deadline would allow both sides to come together on a new agreement. Angelos’ hopes of a deal in mid-July were not as firm as the contract’s completion, but the end of the All-Star break represents another self-imposed timeframe that has come and gone.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January, Angelos volunteered to reporters that he would reveal “the financials of the Orioles” and again said in February he would meet with reporters “before spring training is over.”

“When I say something, like I’m gonna sit down with you guys explain the business from my perspective, I’m gonna do it,” Angelos said. “I’m not gonna say it and walk away from it.”

The meeting never took place. The lease is a much more integral matter, however, as it is what officially binds the club to the city.

In 2019, Angelos notably declared that the Orioles will play in Baltimore “as long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor” and has reiterated that point several time in the years since. Angelos is incentivized to agree to a new lease to keep the team in Baltimore not only because it would validate his past comments, but also because it would give the team access to $600 million in public money to upgrade Camden Yards. The neighboring Ravens extended their lease with the MSA in January, gaining access to the funds.

Only a few months are left on the Orioles’ current agreement, though the team and the MSA could also agree on another short extension. But the All-Star break and Angelos’ hopes of a gift along with it are nearly over.


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