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Boy, what a rough time to be a fan of the Baltimore Orioles.
The Orioles are having a resurgent, exciting season on the field, with young talent up and down the lineup. Catcher Adley Rutschman, shortstop Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg and pitcher Greyson Rodriguez have combined to lead Baltimore to the top of the AL East.
The future could be even brighter, with Jackson Holliday the consensus top prospect in Major League Baseball.
For Orioles fans, there’s growing optimism that the team could turn into perennial contenders after years of disappointment.
But that’s where team owner John Angelos comes in.
Angelos has already put himself in hot water this season after a very public suspension of television broadcaster Kevin Brown. A suspension he claimed to have no knowledge of.
Now he’s at it again, in even more frustrating fashion. Angelos told the New York Times that his position in baseball is simply too hard, and that he wouldn’t be able to sign players to long term deals without “dramatically” raising prices.
“The hardest thing to do in sports is be a small-market team in baseball and be competitive, because everything is stacked against you — everything,” said Angelos.
He continued, “We’re going to have to raise prices here — dramatically.”
Orioles Crying Poor Despite Increasing Attendance
Angelos expanded on his comment about raising prices, saying the team would quickly be “underwater” with big deals.
“Let’s say we sat down and showed you the financials for the Orioles,” he said. “You will quickly see that when people talk about giving this player $200 million, that player $150 million, we would be so financially underwater that you’d have to raise the prices massively. Now, are people going to come and pay that? I don’t know if we’re at the limit, to your point. I don’t know if we’re in equilibrium elasticity, supply and demand. Maybe we are. But really that’s just one team. What I’m really trying to think about is macro.”
The problem with Angelos’ complaints is that not long ago, the organization was able to run payroll figures up to $160 million and still turn a profit. This year, payroll is around $72 million.
While attendance isn’t quite at early-Camden Yards days, it’s the highest figure in Baltimore since 2017. And with the team in a pennant race, it’s sure to increase down the stretch. Not to mention additional playoff revenue.
The Orioles got lucky that their ranking was rewarded with exceptional young players. If Angelos is to be believed, they may have to go through another cycle of tanking and rebuilding once players like Adley Rutschman get close to free agency.
Fans like rooting for home grown talent, and understandably want teams to keep their good young players in town. But for John Angelos, who’s worth at least $2 billion, it’s just too difficult without substantially raising ticket prices.
Enjoy the talent and success while you can, Orioles fans!