Major League Baseball encourages Cal Ripken Jr. to become part of royal group if Orioles are sold, sources say – Baltimore Sun

Major League Baseball has encouraged Orioles icon Cal Ripken Jr. to join an ownership group if the team is sold — and is now the subject of a bitter dispute between owner Peter Angelos’ family — people familiar with the league’s interests told The Baltimore Sun.

Ripken, 61, a Hall of Famer who holds the MLB record for consecutive games played, is arguably the most famous Oriole of all time. The league has previously approved groups with similar hometown champions, such as former Mariners star Ken Griffey Jr., who bought a stake in the Seattle team last year.

The MLB has previously indicated an interest in Ripken, a private consultant who works directly with Commissioner Rob Manfred on youth programs, to become part of the Orioles management or ownership group. If the club is put on the market.

But the MLB representative went further this time, saying on Thursday that Ripken was “encouraged to be part of a group.”

Timing is important because of a The lawsuit filed a week ago by Louis Angelos, One of my sick son Peter Angelos against his brother John and his mother Georgia. The lawsuit accuses John Angelos of trying to gain control of the team and other holdings, and says Georgia Angelos believes the team should be sold because her husband’s health has deteriorated and he “can no longer manage his affairs.”

A person outside the MLB with knowledge of the league’s interest in Ripken confirmed that he has reached out to the retired player, who maintains his foundation and personal offices in Baltimore and lives in Annapolis.

The two people who spoke with The Sun requested anonymity because the team was not offered for sale and said they did not want to undermine Peter Angelos as owner. These people said Ripken, who manufactures and oversees youth development programs and owns small league teams, would bring a strong local presence and baseball experience to any investor group.

His spokesman, John Maron, said Ripken declined to comment.

The MLB official said it was not unusual for the league to speak casually with people who could become part of future ownership groups.

It cannot be determined when the league was in contact with Ripken. As a special advisor to the MLB, he is in regular contact with the league.

Ripken played a short role with the Orioles, and his back-to-back games lasted from 1982 to 1998. But his roots with the team go deeper: his father and brother had roles with the organization, most notably Cal Sr., who was with the staff for 36 years as a minor league player, Then a scout, coach and manager.

Long before Louis Angelos filed his lawsuit in Baltimore County Circuit Court, The Sun reported in 2020 that potential bidders were lining up in the belief that the Orioles could be sold. The club, valued by Forbes at $1.37 billion, has not been on the market since Peter Angelos bought it in 1993.

Former Orioles president and CEO Larry Luchino told The Sun in 2020 that he was among those contacted by a potential buyer about forming an ownership group. Lucchino said Wednesday in an interview that the timing in that previous case It was not true due to Angelus the Elder’s illness.

He said it was still too early to discuss the matter for the same reason and because of the newly exposed family feud. He refused to talk about whether he would join such a group if the conditions were right.

“I’m still interested in the fate of the Oriole,” Luchino said. “Let’s let them try to sort this out before we talk about selling the Orioles.”

Lucchino is the main owner of the Worcester Red Sox minor league in Massachusetts. He was also president and CEO of the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox.

Another potential member of the proprietary group is David Rubinstein, a Baltimore native and Baltimore City College high school graduate who is CEO of The Carlyle Group, a Washington-based global investment firm. At a 2018 debate in Bethesda hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Republican Governor Larry Hogan sparked laughter from the audience when he suggested to Rubinstein: “One idea, David, might be for you to buy the Oriole.”

Well, if it were for sale, I would consider it, replied Rubinstein.

He has not responded to messages from The Sun this week.

MLB has strict protocols for team sales. If the Angelos put the Orioles on the market, bidders will need to undergo background checks and obtain pre-approval before they are allowed to receive financial information about the team.

What complicates the image of baseball team buyers somewhat, but may benefit them, is that the citizens of neighboring Washington are exploring selling a team.

Mark Janis, President and Founder of Sportscorp Ltd. , a Chicago-based sports consulting firm that has been involved in a number of team sales: “If this goes ahead and we have a competitive process, there can only be one winner.” That would mean that there would be other groups “that have the capital and are willing to buy a team in the Washington market,” Gunness said. So, the ongoing process with the Nationals could actually be very beneficial, if the Angelos choose to sell.”

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Gannes and others said that Orioles would also be of great interest in their own right.

“I am confident that there will be a number of local individuals and groups, and there will be any number of individuals and local groups ready, willing and able to provide financial support for the effort to keep the Orioles in the city, should the opportunity arise,” said Alan Rifkin, a former external advisor to the Orioles. . He said he would not comment any further out of respect for the Angelos family.

The club may not win on the pitch, but Gannes said it has a number of highly-rated young prospects in the minor league system and hundreds of millions of government funding available for stadium upgrades. Since the team has not signed a lease agreement with the Maryland Stadium Authority that extends beyond next year, the buyer can take advantage of the terms of a new lease, including the right to move the club.

The current lease contains a no-relocation clause and stadium upgrade funds are tied to the Baltimore-based team.

John Angelos said he was committed to preserving the Orioles family in Baltimore, but he did not address the sale. He did not respond to messages requesting comment for this article. In a statement on Monday, he said his leadership role with the team followed “his parents’ wishes.” His mother issued a statement Wednesday, saying she “has complete faith” in him. Moreover , The stadium authorities said they continue to negotiate the new lease agreement with John Angelos.

The Orioles own the majority of a television network – the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network – with the rights to the Orioles and Nationals games. This is a major asset, Gannis said, even though the two teams are embroiled in a protracted legal dispute over broadcast fees.

“If the Angelos choose to look at the options, there are a number of market conditions that are in their favour,” Gannis said.