John and Louis Angelos demonstrate their way of running the Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

John and Louis Angelos demonstrate their way of running the Orioles

Photo courtesy of Baltimore Orioles

Monday’s introduction of Mike Elias as the Orioles’ new executive vice president and general manager was an opportunity to learn how the team’s new head of baseball operations will construct an organization. Perhaps more fascinating, it was a chance to see how John and Louis Angelos will run that organization.

When their father, owner Peter Angelos, was able to attend important team events, he declined, preferring to work behind the scenes. In recent months, that’s been the brothers’ modus operandi, too.

But Monday was a rare opportunity to hear them present their vision and answer questions about the process that led them to Elias and how they’re dealing with key issues for the franchise.

No, they’re not selling the team. That message was clear. Last month marked the 25th anniversary of this ownership group.

“We have a lot of staying power for the long haul,” John Angelos said. “No major changes. I’m looking forward to the next 25 years.”

John Angelos, whose title is executive vice president, is more outgoing than Louis, who is the ownership representative, and when questions were addressed to the brothers, John deftly answered most of them.

“We’ve probably spent more of our time on getting the right approach and getting the right management philosophy and adding to what we’ve done in the past and getting the right folks in there,” he said.

At last week’s owners meetings in Atlanta, an arbitration panel of three owners heard arguments in the MASN case. The Nationals believe that they deserve more money in television rights, and the Orioles believe that the contract signed when the Montreal Expos moved to Washington for the 2005 season should remain in effect.

John Angelos said that if an adjustment in the deal is made, it won’t affect how the Orioles’ on-field business is conducted.

“I don’t imagine it will have any impact on any of the things we’re talking about today,” Angelos said.

“The focus of ownership’s resources in the recent past in an effort to win, and in this most recent five- or six-year period, was very much on investing, perhaps over-investing in the major league player payroll, relatively. Mike has all the same resources today that we’ve had for baseball ops in the past, and he’ll have in the future to do with them as he sees fit.

“It’ll be the same commitment irrespective of that particular matter. That matter will come and it will go and when it goes, all those things will still be in place at Mike’s disposal … All the resources will be there to allow the general manager to effectuate any strategy he puts together.”

After the dismissal of executive vice president Dan Duquette on Oct. 3, the Angelos brothers conducted a lengthy search that led them to Elias.

“We had the benefit of meeting with so many qualified candidates,” Louis Angelos said. “He made an amazing first impression.”

Initial fan reaction to Elias’ appointment has been positive as the Angelos brothers predicted it would be.

During the 40-minute introduction, John, who was the brainchild behind this past season’s “Kids Cheer Free” ticket giveaway, reiterated his mantra of community involvement.

“All the professional teams around the country are important,” he said. “It certainly is about raising trophies and winning divisions and winning games. It’s also about a bigger picture … We start with the idea that the Orioles are a public trust and the goal of this ownership group of local Marylanders is to do right by the franchise in all respects.”

Elias will be the man making the decisions. When controversial questions directed to John and Louis Angelos were raised about the future of Brady Anderson and Chris Davis’ sagging performance, they directed them to Elias.

It’s clearly a new age for the Orioles. Having the Angelos brothers lead the introduction in the center of the team’s clubhouse, sitting in armchairs instead of behind a podium, symbolized that they’re not going to run the ballclub as their father did.

Peter Angelos, whose health has been in decline, hadn’t publicly addressed the media since August 2014 when he commented on the selection of Rob Manfred as commissioner at the owners meetings at the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore.

John was clearly comfortable in handling questions, and he was asked if he and his brother would be more visible and accessible in the future than they were during this transitional year, a question that drew some laughter.

“I characterize this forum as transparent,” he said. “I look at this as a conversation that we’re all having. Obviously, it’s occasioned by the very exciting happening of bringing in Mike to be the new GM of the O’s. That’s a great reason to sit down and have a conversation, but does that mean we’ll be more available? We live here. We grew up here. We spent our whole lives here. We’re not going anywhere, so we’ll be available, yes.”

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. boss61

    November 20, 2018 at 7:34 am

    Good morning Rich. Good stuff.

    It will be interesting to see how ownership optimism and a shiny new general manager play into season ticket cancellations, renewals and new customer sales. I would think these numbers would lag until these changes manifest in a marked improvement in winning percentage. I guess time will tell.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 20, 2018 at 8:29 am

      Mark, I think it will be hard to sell tickets with a club coming off 115 losses. This is a good first step, though.

  2. LarryBS

    November 20, 2018 at 8:19 am

    They both seemed a bit nervous at public speaking, especially the Angelos on the left, but it was an effective and heartening presentation for Orioles fans. Elias exudes confidence, and the tie sealed the deal, even if it was a holdover from the Astros front office!
    Any hints or rumors yet regarding Sig Mejdal joining Mr. Elias in Baltimore? Much thanks for your writing and insights that I read daily but rarely comment on.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 20, 2018 at 8:32 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Larry. There have been rumors about Mejdal, but Elias didn’t comment about it.

      I thought it was important that the Angelos’ took the lead, and it was an effective performance.

      Please comment again.

  3. Orial

    November 20, 2018 at 8:19 am

    I repeat my comment from a prior article–as impressed as I was by Elias I was equally impressed with the Angelos Sons. They’re professional,well spoken and definitely seem to be on a par with with any owner(s) in MLB. I just hope they remain transparent because the Oriole fandom is going to need a lot of of encouragement as we go through this much needed process.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 20, 2018 at 8:33 am

      Right you are, Orial.

  4. bmorebirds

    November 20, 2018 at 9:05 am

    The Angelos sons have had a 25-year tutorial on how NOT to own a beloved Baltimore sports franchise. Looks like they were paying attention. Good.
    Let’s kick off the hunt for Orange October.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 20, 2018 at 9:45 am

      It was a most informative presentation, bmorebirds.

  5. twomooks

    November 20, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Thank you for your insightful and astute article, Rich. I was struck by the setting for the conversation even before the three men came to their arm chairs. It certainly does seem to me that it marked the dawn of a new era in Orioles baseball. I am encouraged by the transparent approach and by the repeated theme that the team is a public trust and that the goal is to do right by the franchise in all areas. Mike Elias seems like a great fit for Baltimore and ready to tackle the challenges head on with a positive, thorough, and analytical approach. I am feeling cautiously hopeful and for that I’m grateful.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 20, 2018 at 10:41 am

      It was a good start, I though, twomooks. Thanks for your kind words.

  6. Rjznj06

    November 20, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Hopefully this is the new way things get done, let Mike do his job, I am looking forward to this so we will get back to winning baseball again, I believe we’re on right track, Nothing like going to have fun in my favorite City specially when does O’s are winning

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 20, 2018 at 10:43 am

      I think things will turn around, though it will probably take a while, rjz.

  7. Bancells Moustache

    November 20, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    That was the clubhouse? It looks like they were in the VIP room at Scores.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 20, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      Bancells, I’ve not been to Scores, much less the VIP room. I’ll leave the comparison for you.

  8. Bhoffman1

    November 20, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    His first step is somehow get rid of Chris Davis contract and install Mancini at first base. I have no idea how, but he’s was hired for his brains so let him figure out how to do it.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 20, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      bhoffman, as I’ve told you before, the only way to be rid of Davis’ contract is to release him and pay the $110 million owed him.

    • Bhoffman1

      November 20, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      Possibly if we eat half his contract someone will take him. How did Boston get rid of Ramirez and the fat third baseman they gave all that money to.

      • Rich Dubroff

        November 20, 2018 at 10:52 pm

        They ate all the money on their contracts BHoffman. If they released him, he would get all the money.

    • Borg

      November 21, 2018 at 6:00 am

      Given the present state of the franchise, it is impossible to imagine them eating over $100 million. And it really doesn’t make much difference if Davis is taking up a roster spot on a team that is rebuilding. If they want to play Mancini at first, they can always make Davis and Trumbo the DH platoon (though I would rather see Trumbo dealt somewhere if possible). My bet is they’ll give him at least another year to try to get close to what he used to be, and if that fails maybe after next year they’d eat the remainder–though that would still be more than $80 million so the same arguments still apply against anything happening. Unless, of course, the O’s suddenly catch lightning in a bottle and are possible contenders in 2020. Davis taking up a roster spot then might warrant eating the money and getting a productive player in his place, but that seems unlikely right now.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 21, 2018 at 8:16 am

      Borg, it’s not $110 million that has to be paid in a lump sum. It’s money he will be paid through 2032, whether he’s productive or not.

      • Borg

        November 21, 2018 at 3:39 pm

        I understand that Davis is guaranteed the money regardless of whether he is on the roster or not. My point was that there is no reason to just eat the money at this point since they are rebuilding anyway and he gets paid anyway. I just meant that he isn’t taking up a useful roster spot until and unless the Orioles become contenders again and he isn’t hitting. Until that happens, they might as well give him at bats and hope he figures it out somehow. If sometime over the next few years there are prospects that need to be playing, then it might be an option to cut him loose and just eat whatever years are left at the $20+ million per year before he shifts to the long term $2 million for the remainder of the contract.

  9. BirdsCaps

    November 20, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    I’m (very) mildly optimistic, which is a substantial improvement over my view of the organization when Peter was in charge. Maybe we’ll luck out and the brothers will be largely hands off like Biscotti is in the ravens organization. However, I remember seeing one or more of the big name baseball insiders (it was either Rosenthal Nightengale or one of the other big names, wish I could remember a specific source) stating that the brothers would be little to no upgrade from their father. I guess we’ll all have to wait and see.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 20, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      I wouldn’t say Steve Bisciotti is hands off as an owner of the Ravens. I would say he’s more involved than most baseball owners from what i can tell, BirdsCaps.

      • BirdsCaps

        November 20, 2018 at 11:08 pm

        Thanks for the reply,
        Even though he is visible and may have some hands on control of football operations (especially with coaches) I just don’t see the level of hinderance that I do with a lot of the owners (e.g. Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder, Al Davis). So maybe he isn’t completely hands off, but I was always under the assumption that Ozzy was almost completely in charge of football ops. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Angelos’s tenure. Reports of needing ownership to sign off on any significant trade and the rumor that the birds just about outbid themselves on Davis (due to ownership), reminds me a lot of the aforementioned meddling NFL owners. I hope to God that the level of ownership meddling is greatly reduced under the younger Angelos’.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 21, 2018 at 8:20 am

      Football is different because you can easily attend every game as an owner. If you have a huge amount of money tied up in a team, you’ll want to be informed of significant moves.

      Mike Elias is certainly going to tell the Angelos’ his thinking and eventual choice of a manager.

      It’s a matter of trusting the people you hire.

  10. cedar

    November 20, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    Thanks for the follow up article on the Angelos Brothers. I wasn’t aware that John was the architect of the “kids cheer free” campaign, and I really liked reading about their commitment to the community. Between this article and the hiring of Elias, I’m eager to see what they do next.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 20, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      I’m eager to see as well, cedar.

  11. Hallbe62

    November 22, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Finally, an Orioles Baseball article that leaves me feeling happy, hopeful, optimistic, and even a little excited for the upcoming season. Not for winning games but for being able to witness first hand what a MLB rebuild should look like. I’m hoping to learn something along the way. Great article Rich

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